Review

Peugeot 308 hatchback

Price  £14,495 - £24,045

Peugeot 308 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Very efficient diesel engines
  • Large boot
  • Comfortable ride
Cons
  • Not the most fun to drive
  • Questionable reliability
  • Interior isn’t great quality

At a glance

“The Peugeot 308 is a practical and economical family hatchback with a comfortable and relaxed ride.”

The latest version of the Peugeot 308 has better performance, economy and handling than ever before thanks to a loss of around 140kg compared to the weight of the previous model. Another key improvement has been boot space, which has gone from 347 litres to 470 litres, putting the 308 ahead of rivals like the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus in terms of load capacity.

A new soft suspension setup means the car is comfortable to drive and a decent engine range with some seriously economical diesel engines means certain models are particularly cheap to run.

There are four trim levels to choose from when buying a 308 – entry-level Access, mid-range Active and Allure, and range-topping Feline. Our pick is the 1.6-litre diesel BlueHDi 120 Active model, which combines decent performance with impressive economy and good equipment levels.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.4 / 5

Highly-efficient diesels qualify for free road tax

Peugeot ordered its designers to put the latest 308 on a strict diet to make the car lighter and consequently more efficient. This, combined with super-economical diesel engines, means the 308 can beat all the competition when it comes to efficiency.

Out of the four diesel engines available, three have CO2 emissions under 100g/km so are road-tax exempt. The most frugal engine, the 1.6-litre BlueHDi, will return astonishing figures of 91.1mpg and 82g/km of CO2 in the Active model.

Unless you only use your car for short trips around town, we would recommend choosing a 308 with a diesel engine because of the superior economy – the 308 petrol engines are more average compared with rivals. The most efficient petrol engine is the 1.2-litre e-THP 110 engine, which will do 64.2mpg and 104g/km of CO2.

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

Go for smaller wheels if you prefer a comfortable ride

Peugeot has put much more focus on a soft and comfortable ride in the new 308 hatchback, and smaller wheels and tyres suit the car's relaxed character best. Bumps in the road are largely smoothed out and around town the 308 is good to drive, but sportier versions on bigger wheels can crash over bumps a bit more and are less comfortable. The diesel engines especially are quiet and don’t intrude too much, but on the motorway at higher speeds, wind noise is louder than you might expect. The driving position is better than in the 208 and it's fairly easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. In high-spec cars the electric seats are mounted too high, which makes you feel like you’re perched on top of the car – and the pedals are set to the side a little, which feels a bit odd.

In the back the large boot means rear legroom is not as generous as in its rivals like the VW Golf and Kia Cee’d, and the narrow rear bench feels more like a two than a three-seater. The middle seat is particularly small and is only suitable for kids and occasional use.

Practicality & boot space

4.2 / 5

Beats the VW Golf for boot space, but not rear legroom

The Peugeot 308 beats the Volkswagen Golf for boot space, with 470 litres with the rear seats up. However the Skoda Octavia trumps the Peugeot in this area by a long way, especially as 35 litres of the 308's load space is actually under the boot floor, so larger single items might not fit. Storage in the front of the car is good, with lots of cubbies, but the glovebox may disappoint. Space for passengers is the 308's weak point, however, as rear legroom is limited and the middle seat is particularly bad, especially for adults. On models with a panoramic windscreen headroom is bad too, so for buyers looking for a family car are best avoiding that option.

Reliability & safety

3.2 / 5

Interior quality doesn’t inspire confidence

Peugeot has never had a reputation for making the most reliable cars on the market, and although the company is working hard to remedy that the 308 still feels a bit lacking in this area. The interior is quite a nice place to be, but some of the plastics used feel a bit cheap – it's just not as well made as the Volkswagen Golf. The touchscreen interface could be an issue (as it has been in other models) but it is a much better unit than in previous Peugeots. You get a three-year warranty, and all the parts have been used in other cars in the range, so there shouldn’t be too much to worry about.

The Peugeot 308 scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring 92% for adult occupant protection and 79% for child occupant, so you can be sure it's a safe car.

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

Suited to a more relaxed driving style

There are four diesel and five petrol engines available in the Peugeot 308, offering buyers plenty of choice. There has been talk of a further option for those interested in performance called the Peugeot 308 R.

Our pick would be the 1.6-litre diesel engine with 120bhp, as it best suits the car's easy-to-drive nature and is very economical too. The gearbox isn’t as good to use as the one in the Volkswagen Golf, and the steering is a bit too unsettled to keep you relaxed when cruising on the motorway. Around town it's more comfortable and good to drive, but there's too much body roll in the corners and more expensive tyres will need to be fitted if you're after good grip in the corners. 

Price, value for money & options

3.8 / 5

Full LED headlights on all but entry-level models

Prices for the new 308 are competitive, undercutting the more premium VW Golf models by £1k-£2k. It's still slightly more than a Ford Focus and the basic entry-level cars are more expensive than those in the Hyundai i30 and Kia Cee’d ranges.

Go for a spec higher than the entry-level car and you’ll get alloy wheels, a big 9.7-inch touchscreen and satellite navigation all as standard. The top two specs also get full LED headlights as standard, when rivals cars only offer these as a pricy option. However the second hand values of Peugeots don’t match those of other manufacturers, and the short three-year warranty (compared to the Korean rivals) means the cost of ownership will be higher overall.

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 2 reviews
  • 3.7 / 5

    While the previous version of the Peugeot 308 rarely found itself contending for class hounours this all-new model – which keeps the same name – should stand a much better chance of boosting the Peugeot's appeal with customers.

  • 3.0 / 5

    Peugeot's new 308 should be competitively priced and cheap to run as a company car. However, its rear space and handling disappoint, and we find it hard to recommend the engine we drove given that it will be obsolete so soon after launch.

Last updated 
25 Mar 2014

Disqus - noscript

It's a VW Golf killer! It's design is pretty nice and about reliability... Peugeot improved a lot in the 208 and I think they'll be even better with the new 308.

yes but for example for reliability, CarBuyer uses one survey and the reputation to say that french cars are not reliable. Yet some other surveys show that Peugeot and Citroen have better reliability than VW. So the mark is based partly on some guess. And why CarBuyer is the only website where it is said that the interior quality is bad, while all other reviews in Europe and UK say it is as good as the VW Golf?
I don't think this review is totally fair.

Maybe you could separate the car owner reviews from this car, because the reviews are obviously about the previous version, and the new one is different enough to avoid any confusion.

A question of choise not prejudice..., I would go for Peugeot 308 of
course, instead of VW Golf..The 308 is classy, has excellent handling..,
it's curious but hier in Italy the 308 receives 5 stars for quality and
handling by the renowned Quattroruote review ..( quite better than Golf
,Focus etc..) Do you remember the old 403 and 504 they were so
comfortable & reliable (unstopabble) ..I own the 207 CC , with
170.000 km , seriously I've never had a problems..

Better than a Renault megane , nice

Their comments about the interior makes me think they never sat in one

Car of the Year 2014 (Geneva Motor Show March 2014) (European press)

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