Peugeot 308 hatchback
Price £14,495 - £24,045
- Very efficient diesel engines
- Large boot
- Comfortable ride
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.