Head to Head

Mazda3 with GVC vs Peugeot 308

In the past, C-Segment hatchbacks were hard to come by in the Philippines. Nowadays, manufacturers are offering these models as a stylish alternative to their sedans. Two compact hatchbacks, one from Europe and one from Japan, are this week's matchup for our Head to Head; the Mazda 3 and Peugeot 308.

Let's see how the two award winners fare in this spec check.

Under the hood of the 308 is a 1.6-liter turbocharged gas engine Peugeot simply calls THP. It puts out 150 PS and a healthy 240 Nm of torque. It then shifts via a six-speed automatic transmission. Also available is a 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine Peugeot simply calls HDi. Power is rated at 120 PS along with 300 Nm of torque. Like the gas model, it too shifts with a six-speed automatic.

Like the Peugeot 308, the Mazda 3 also has two engine options, starting with the 1.5 liter, four cylinder engine with SkyActiv-G technology that puts out 112 PS and 144 Nm of torque. The top spec engine is a 2.0 liter, four cylinder also boasting SkyActiv-G technology. Power for the 2.0 liter engine is rated at 155 PS and 200 Nm of torque.

Moving on to their interiors, the two take different directions when it comes to design. The Mazda 3 gets cues from the company's roadster, the MX-5. Like the roadster, it gets swooping, wraparound dashboard with a sporty theme. In the base models, the seats are trimmed in fabric while the mid-level model gets black leather. The top-spec Mazda 3 gets while leather with contrast stitching. Other sporting elements include a thick, leather trimmed steering wheel and faux carbon-fiber trim on all variants. Automatic climate control and a push-button starter is also standard on all models.

In the 308, it adapts a dashboard layout Peugeot calls i-Cockpit. In theory, gives you a better view of the road ahead by setting the steering wheel low and the gauges a little higher. Gas-powered 308 models get Alcantara trimmed seats while diesel models get full leather. Both variants get brushed aluminum trim but the diesel 308 gets red accents for a sportier look. The 308 eliminates the need for buttons on the center stack by placing all controls in the touchscreen.

In this segment, it is expected that these cars have top-notch infotainment systems and the two do not disappoint. The screen in the Peugeot displays vehicle status, entertainment options, your mobile phonebook, and even the air-conditioning controls. Also part of the 308's entertainment system are USB ports, Aux-in, Bluetooth and mobile applications. A six-speaker audio system is used in the 308 gas model while the diesel gets upgraded to a JBL Hi-Fi system.

All Mazda 3 variants come with a 7-inch monitor. Taking a page from European cars, it can be accessed via touch or through the scroll wheel on the center console. Mazda's infotainment system accomodates MP3, Aux-in, USB, CD and Bluetooth. Apart from entertainment functions, the screen also displays information such as fuel economy, average speed and more. In the 2.0 liter models, it also comes with a heads-up display to show speed and other related info. Sound is then channeled through six speakers but go for the 2.0 liter models and you get the nine speaker BOSE sound system.

Moving to their exteriors, the Peugeot 308 follows the marque's corporate face, with the floating front grill and its swept back headlights. The side profile of the 308 is defined by three character lines. The first one connects the headlights and the tail lights and the second follows the crease found in its 'C' shaped tailights. The third character line runs just above the door sills. The 308 rides on either 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels, depending on the variant selected.

The Mazda 3's exterior follows the automaker's Kodo design language. At the front, it features large headlights plus Mazda's current signature grill. The lower half of the bumper is given an aggressive look with sharp lines and defined angles. On to the side, the window line creases upwards all the way to the tail end of the car. At the back, it gets wraparound tail lights that resemble those from the larger Mazda 6. Base models ride on 16-inch wheels while the mid to top of the line models get 18-inch wheels.

Moving on to safety, both come with advanced systems to aid the driver in case of an emergency. Both are equipped with Anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control. For passive safety, both cars are equipped with front, side and curtain airbags.

Mazda however have added a new system to their cars. Dubbed G-Vector Control or GVC, it effectively shifts power from one front wheel to the other while cornering. When steering into a turn, it sends more power to the outer wheel, then into the inner wheel as it exits the corner. According to Mazda, all this happens within 50 milliseconds.

As previously mentioned, the Peugeot 308 comes in two models. It is kicked off by the 1.6 THP Allure model and it topped off by the 1.6 HDI GT Line. The GT Line gets lowered suspension as part of the package. Prices range from Php 1,590,000 to Php 1,890,000.

Meanwhile, in the Mazda, there are five variants to choose from in the Mazda 3. It starts with the SkyActiv V sedan, SkyActiv V hatch, SkyActiv R sedan, SkyActiv R hatch and Speed hatch.

See video below:

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