Review

Peugeot 308 hatchback

Price  £14,895 - £25,845

Peugeot 308 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Large boot
  • Comfortable ride
  • Very efficient diesel engines
Cons
  • 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."

The Peugeot 308 looks as handsome as the larger Peugeot 508 and has been designed to tempt buyers away from the hugely popular Volkswagen Golf. The 308 is arguably classier than the Vauxhall Astra and better looking than the new Ford Focus. Family buyers will also be glad to hear that the 308 has one of the biggest boots in the class.

Fuel economy is another concern for family buyers and the Peugeot delivers in this respect thanks to a range of cheap-to-run petrol and diesel engines. The e-THP 130 petrol is our pick, because it's smooth, quiet and nippy, but if you want excellent fuel economy, the 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel uses even less fuel than the VW Golf BlueMotion.

Trim levels include Access, Sportium, Active, Allure, GT Line and GT. The basic model has useful equipment, including air-conditioning, cruise control, a DAB digital radio, a USB port, a Bluetooth phone connection, plus front and rear LED lights.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.4 / 5

Highly efficient 308 BlueHDi qualifies for free road tax

The Peugeot 308 weights 140kg less than the old Peugeot 307, making it extremely economical when combined with the company’s latest engines. The 1.6-litre 120 BlueHDi diesel is particularly impressive. Peugeot claims it can return fuel economy of 91.1mpg and emit 82g/km of CO2, for free road tax. Every diesel except the 2.0-litre is exempt from road tax, while that engine costs just £20 a year and returns fuel economy of 72.4mpg.

Choosing a Peugeot 308 petrol doesn't mean high running costs, either – even the basic 1.2-litre can achieve fuel economy of 56.5mpg. The clever and more powerful 1.2-litre e-THP 130 is both more powerful and even cheaper to run: it's capable of 58.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 110g/km. An automatic gearbox reduces this engine's economy to 54.3mpg and increases CO2 emissions to 119g/km.

Peugeot’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty is bettered by the seven-year/100,000-mile cover you get with a Kia, but that doesn't mean the 308 will be costly to maintain. Peugeot offers fixed-price services and all-inclusive plans from £19.99 per month. Insurance runs from group eight for the basic petrol model up to group 26 for the top-of-the-range 2.0-litre diesel.

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

The 308 has been set up for comfort rather than performance

The basic 1.2-litre petrol Peugeot 308 doesn’t feel very quick. The 0-62mph sprint takes a lethargic 13.3 seconds, so it's slower than some city cars. The two hi-tech 1.2-litre e-THP petrols are a better bet, as they feel much faster, going from 0-62mph in less than 11 seconds.

Despite being capable of returning more than 90mpg, the 1.6-litre 120 diesel can get from 0-62mph in just 10 seconds. The fastest engine of all is the 202bhp 1.6-litre THP petrol in the 308 GT model, but you’ll pay a price at the pumps.

Peugeot focused on making the 308 comfortable. As a result, it has soft suspension that allows quite a lot of body lean in corners, while the car’s steering also feels unsettled on the motorway. The gearbox doesn't feel as precise as the Volkswagen Golf’s and the 308 feels most at home in town, where its soft suspension is a virtue. If you want sportier handling, the GT model is the one to go for, as its suspension has been lowered for better cornering ability.

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

Go for smaller wheels if you prefer a comfortable ride

The Peugeot 308 boasts a smart interior that's dominated by a large central touchscreen (in all but the most basic model). This allows Peugeot to cut down on conventional dashboard buttons, but the system is a bit clunky to use and tricky to navigate. You’ll also find some cheap-feeling plastics that you wouldn’t get in a Volkswagen Golf.

Getting comfortable is simple, as all models come with an adjustable steering wheel and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. Passengers will find that they sit a bit higher in 308s fitted with electrically adjustable seats than in cars fitted with manually adjustable seats, which is annoying if you’re taller than average.

On the road, it's clear that Peugeot has focused on offering a comfortable driving experience. The car’s suspension deals with most bumps in the road, but sportier models with big wheels tend to crash over bumps. Engine noise is kept to a minimum in the Peugeot 308, but there is a bit of wind noise at motorway speeds. 

Practicality & boot space

4.2 / 5

Peugeot 308 beats the VW Golf for boot space, but not rear legroom

The first thing to mention here is the Peugeot 308’s huge boot. Its 470-litre capacity dwarfs the 380 litres the Volkswagen Golf can carry, and makes the 316-litre capacity of the Ford Focus seem pretty poor. It's not all good news, though – while the boot is large, you have to contend with a large load lip and rear seats that don’t fold down completely flat. The boot’s 1,309-litre total capacity with the rear seats lowered is quite large and there's also some hidden underfloor storage for hiding valuables.

It's is easy to get comfortable in the front, but when you get in the back, it’s clear that the king-sized boot comes at the expense of rear-seat space. Adults are able to fit in the rear seats, but they'll be more cramped than they would be in a Volkswagen Golf. Storage spaces are also not as abundant as they are in the Golf, while the glovebox in particular is quite small, as it also housing the car’s fusebox.

Reliability & safety

3.2 / 5

Peugeot 308's interior quality doesn’t inspire confidence

The Peugeot 308 impressed on its debut in our Driver Power 2014 owner satisfaction survey, coming 25th out of 150 cars. Owners rated it highly for running costs and it also did reasonably well for reliability, performance and handling.

Safety features such as six airbags and seatbelt pretensioners mean the Peugeot should hold up well in the event of an accident, and the car was awarded the full five stars when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP. The 308 also comes with a speed limiter and seatbelt reminder.

Price, value for money & options

3.8 / 5

Peugeot 308 comes with plenty of equipment

Even basic 308 Access models are well equipped, with a DAB digital radio, rear LED lights, air-conditioning and cruise control. However, Sportium trim adds a 9.7-inch touchscreen, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, a leather steering wheel and automatic headlights and wipers.

Active trim boasts sat nav and different alloy wheels, while Allure models add 17-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlamps, a reversing camera and front parking sensors, plus electric folding wing mirrors. GT Line cars come with 18-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, half-suede seats and cruise control.

Top-spec GT cars have the most powerful engines in the range, plus the Driver Assistance Pack (which includes dynamic cruise control, emergency collision alert and an emergency collision braking system) and the Driver Sport Pack as standard.

Options include a full leather interior, panoramic sunroof, heated front seats with massage function (£1,500) and city parking with blind-spot monitoring (£400). 

The Peugeot 308 can’t match the resale values of a Volkswagen Golf, but you can expect the diesel models to retain up to 40% of their value after three years or 36,000 miles.

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 / 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 
8 Aug 2014

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