Peugeot 308 hatchback
Price £14,995 - £25,945
- Large boot
- Comfortable ride
- Very efficient diesel engines
- Not much fun to drive
- Questionable reliability
- Interior quality disappoints
At a glance
"The Peugeot 308 is a practical and economical family hatchback with a comfortable and relaxed ride."
Handsome looks are something that defines the latest Peugeot models, including the new Peugeot 508 and striking Peugeot RCZ coupe. The 308 receives the same treatment, as the company takes aim at the classy Volkswagen Golf. The upmarket looks outside point to a new look inside and owners of the old 308 will notice a huge improvement right from the off.
The 308's interior is nicer than what you get in the Vauxhall Astra and arguably also better than the new Ford Focus. It even gets close to matching the VW Golf, but search hard and you’ll find some plastics that let the side down. Family buyers will also be glad to hear that the 308 has one of the biggest boots in the class.
The 308 is much lighter than the car it replaces and feels more nimble to drive as a result. You can choose to fit the optional Driver Sport Pack (£370), which makes the car accelerate with added verve and adds weight to the steering. It also turns the dials a sporty shade of red and pumps engine noise through the car's stereo to give a racier sound.
Fuel economy is a top priority for family buyers and the Peugeot delivers in this respect thanks to its range of cheap-to-run petrol and diesel engines. The e-THP 130 is our favourite of the petrol engines, because it's smooth, quiet and nippy.
But if you want excellent economy, the 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel uses even less fuel than the VW Golf BlueMotion. It's our pick of the range, when combined with high-specification Allure trim. This comes with extras such as smart-looking 17-inch alloy wheels, powerful full-LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and electric folding door mirrors.
There's a performance model, too. But until the full-fat 308 GTI arrives later in 2015, the Peugeot 308 GT (below) is the nearest you'll get to it. It's reasonably good fun to drive, and with a choice of 202bhp petrol or 178bhp diesel power, there's decent performance on offer. It's a shame, then, that it's not as much fun to drive as a Ford Focus ST or SEAT Leon Cupra, despite costing a similar amount of money.
If that doesn’t appeal, you can always choose the GT-Line model. It offers the same striking design as the GT, but can be powered by the much more economical 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine. This still packs a modest punch, but the asking price drops by around £2,500 and fuel economy stands at a respectable 59mpg. CO2 emissions are 110g/km, so road tax is only £20 annually for this version. The GT-Line offers a solid alternative to the Honda Civic Sport, but the Seat Leon FR is both quicker and cheaper.
Trim levels include Access, Sportium, Active, Allure, GT Line and GT. The basic model has plenty of equipment, including air-conditioning, cruise control, a DAB digital radio, a USB port and Bluetooth phone connectivity, plus front and rear LED lights.
Significant weight savings make the Peugeot 308 cheaper to run than the 307
The Peugeot 308 is fun to drive, but the company’s main focus was comfort
Interior is a huge improvement on the old model, but some of the Peugeot 308’s controls are tricky to use
Peugeot 308 has a massive boot, but it comes at the expense of rear legroom
The Peugeot 308 feels well built and scored well in our Driver Power survey