Peugeot 308 hatchback
Peugeot 308 hatchback
Price £14,895 - £24,445
- 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 Peugeot 308 has the same handsome looks as the larger Peugeot 508 as the company chases the same buyers that might choose the Volkswagen Golf. It is arguably classier than the Vauxhall Astra and a match in aesthetic terms for the new Ford Focus that goes on in late 2014. Family buyers will also be glad to hear the 308's boot is one of the biggest in the class.
Fuel economy is another concern for family buyers and the Peugeot delivers in this respect thanks to a range of petrol and diesels engines that are cheap to run. The e-THP 130 petrol is our pick because it's smooth, quiet and nippy, but if you want excellent fuel economy then the 1.6 BlueHDi diesel engine sips even less fuel than the Golf BlueMotion.
Trim levels include Access, Active, Allure, and Feline. The basic model comes fitted with useful equipment including air conditioning, cruise control, DAB radio, a USB plug, Bluetooth phone connection, plus front and rear LED lights.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Highly-efficient 308 BlueHDi qualify for free road tax
Peugeot has shed 140kg from the weight of the old Peugeot 307 to make the 308 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. Of the diesel engines, all but the 2.0-litre are exempt from road tax, while that engine will cost you just £20 a year in tax and return fuel economy of 72.4mpg.
When it comes to cheap running costs, the petrol engines don’t let the side down either, and the basic 1.2-litre can achieve fuel economy of 56.5mpg. The clever and more powerful 1.2-litre e-THP 130 engine gives a useful boost in performance, while being even cheaper to run - it is capable of 58.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 110g/km. Go for the automatic gearbox with this engine and economy does slip to 54.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 119g/km.
Peugeot’s three-year/60,000 warranty is bettered by the seven-year/100,000 mile warranty that you get with a Kia, but that shouldn’t stop the 308 being cheap to maintain. Peugeot offers fixed-price services and all-inclusive plans from £19.99 per month, so there will be no nasty surprises when paying for your car’s maintenance. Insurance runs from group eight in the basic petrol model to group 26 in the top-of-the-range 2.0-litre diesel.
Interior & comfort
Go for smaller wheels if you prefer a comfortable ride
Get inside the Peugeot 308 and you’ll find it has a smart interior that is dominated by a large centrally mounted touchscreen (in all but the basic model). It allows Peugeot to cut down on conventional 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 and all models come with an adjustable steering wheel and a height adjustable driver’s seat. Passengers will find that 308s fitted with electrically adjustable seats sit a bit higher than cars fitted with manually adjustable seats – annoying if you’re taller than average.
Out on the road it is clear that Peugeot has focussed 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
Peugeot 308 beats the VW Golf for boot space, but not rear legroom
The first thing to mention when it comes to practicality is the Peugeot 308’s huge boot. Its 470-litre capacity dwarfs the 380-litre boot you get in the Volkswagen Golf and makes the 316 litres offered by the Ford Focus seem pretty poor. It is not all good news, though, and while the boot is large, you do have to contend with a large load lip and rear seats that don’t fold completely flat. The boot’s 1,309-litre total capacity with the rear seats down is quite large and also offers hidden underfloor storage to hide valuables.
Sit in the front of the Peugeot and it is easy to get comfortable, but get in the back and it’s clear the king-sized boot came at the expense of rear-seat space. Adults will still be able to fit on the back seat, but space is more cramped than in a Volkswagen Golf. Storage spaces are also not as abundant as they are in the Golf and the glovebox in particular is quite small thanks to it also housing the car’s fuse box.
Reliability & safety
Peugeot 308's Interior quality doesn’t inspire confidence
The Peugeot 308 impressed on its debut in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey – coming 25th out of 150 cars. Owners scored it highly for running costs and it also did reasonably well for reliability, performance and road 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 fitted with a speed limiter and seatbelt reminder.
Engines, drive & performance
The 308 has been setup for comfort rather than performance
Go for the basic 1.2-litre petrol Peugeot 308 and you’ll get a car that doesn’t feel very quick. The 0-60mph sprint takes a lethargic 13.3 seconds – a figure that even some city cars can beat. A better bet is one of the two hi-tech 1.2 e-THP petrols, which feel much faster and can get from 0-60mph in less than 11 seconds.
Despite the possibility of returning more than 90mpg, the 1.6-litre 120 diesel can get from 0-60mph in just 10 seconds. Fastest model of all is the 1.6-litre THP petrol, which can get from 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds – but you’ll pay the price at the pumps.
Peugeot has focussed on making the 308 comfortable, and as a result the soft suspension means there is quite a lot of body lean in the corners and the car’s steering also feels unsettled on the motorway. The Peugeot’s gearbox lacks the precise feel of the Volkswagen Golf’s and it feels most at home in town driving, where the soft suspension is a virtue.
Price, value for money & options
Peugeot 308 comes with healthy levels of equipment
Even basic 308 Access models come well equipped with a DAB radio, rear LED lights, air conditioning, and cruise control. However, the Active trim boasts items such as the 9.7-inch touchscreen, sat-nav, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, dual zone climate control and rear parking sensors. Allure models add to that list with larger 17-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlamps, a reversing camera and front parking sensors, plus electric folding wing mirrors. Top spec Feline models come with 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic glass roof, half-leather seats, active cruise control and keyless entry and go. Options include a full leather interior, with massage and heated front seats (£1,500) and city park 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 keep up to 40 per cent of their value after three years/36,000 miles.
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.