Peugeot 308 hatchback
Price £15,495 - £28,455
- Low running costs
- Comfortable ride
- Big boot
- Lack of rear seat space
- Some controls tricky to use
- Rivals more fun to drive
At a glance
“The Peugeot 308 is a tempting alternative to other small hatchbacks – it’s stylish, comfortable, practical and has a quality interior.”
The Peugeot is a small hatchback, and it's up against some stiff competition in the form of the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus and SEAT Leon. Not to mention the Kia Cee’d, Hyundai i30, Honda Civic and new Renault Megane – so it's got to be good to stand out among some seriously impressive rivals.
What the 308 does have going for it is style. It's a very handsome car with smart chrome details and sharp LED daytime running lights and headlights on higher-spec models.
It's the same story inside, too, with a high-quality dashboard and lots of equipment. Not everyone will like the slightly unusual driving position of a small, low-set steering wheel and dials placed high on the dashboard.
Peugeot claims this layout, called i-Cockpit, makes the 308 feel more involving to drive but, in reality, the 308 is best thought of as a comfortable cruiser. It's still pretty nimble and enjoyable to drive, but it's not quite as fun as the SEAT Leon or Ford Focus. If you want something sportier, though, you can go for the Peugeot 308 GTi.
You won’t be stuck for choice in terms of engines, either. Including the 308 GTi, there are 11 to choose from, including some very efficient diesels. Our choice is the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 diesel. Peugeot claims it’ll do well over 80mpg, plus it's free to tax.
If you prefer petrol power, the 1.2-litre PureTech 130 petrol engine is a three-cylinder turbocharged engine that will return almost 60mpg and costs just £20 a year to tax.
As with the engine range, there should be a trim level for everyone, too. The range kicks off with Access, moving up through Active, Allure, GT Line, GT and GTi. They’re all well equipped, though, with entry-level Access models coming with DAB radio, air-con, Bluetooth phone connectivity and cruise control.
We’d opt for mid-spec Active, which gets dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and a touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav. As you move further up the range, the 308 can become quite expensive, but top-spec models do come with very generous levels of equipment.
Safety won’t be a concern in the 308, either. Plenty of airbags, mandatory traction control, anti-lock brakes and stability control mean it achieved a five-star rating from Euro NCAP.
It performed well in our Driver Power customer satisfaction rankings when it debuted a couple of years ago, too, although reliability scores have contributed to its slip down to 60th place in the 2016 survey from 17th in 2015.
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