Peugeot 308 hatchback - Engines, drive & performance
The Peugeot 308 is fun to drive, but the company’s main focus was comfort
Although the Peugeot 308 is quite good fun to drive, Peugeot was more focused on making it comfortable. As a result, it has supple suspension, but body control is on par with the best models in its class. The car’s steering can feel unsettled on the motorway, though.
The gearbox doesn't feel as precise as the Volkswagen Golf’s and the 308 seems 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. It’s actually more compliant than you might expect, as it strikes a finer balance between comfort and handling.
Peugeot 308 petrol engines
The basic and underpowered 1.2-litre petrol has been phased out, which is good news because the two hi-tech 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engines are a better bet if the car is regularly going to be used for long journeys. They feel much faster, going from 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds (PureTech 110) and 9.6 seconds (PureTech 130).
The 221bhp 1.6-litre THP petrol in the 308 GT model achieves a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds. However, you’ll pay a price for its performance at the pumps, with economy of around 40mpg. With 268bhp, the 308 GTI goes from 0-62mph in six seconds, and returns 37mpg.
A 120bhp 1.6-litre diesel has been replaced by a smaller 1.5-litre BlueHDI engine with 128bhp. It feels similar to the 1.6-litre, with impressive mid-range power and flexibility, but refinement has improved slightly, with fewer vibrations. As one of the most economical engines in the range, it offers up to 62.7mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 92g/km. It's ever so slightly quicker from 0-62mph than the old 1.6-litre engine, taking 10 seconds.
If impressive performance with strong efficiency is what you’re looking for, then the 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel engine is worth considering. It costs more than the 1.6-litre diesel, but the payoff is that it’s quiet around town and has added performance, with 0-62mph taking just 8.2 seconds. Its mid-range surge makes it perfect for fast, safe overtakes on A-roads. The only downside is that it's only available on the top GT model, and doesn't come with the option of a manual gearbox.