2014 Peugeot 308 revealed
Despite the familiar name, this is an all-new car, and Peugeot says that it will come with CO2 emissions of less than 85g/km. This means average fuel economy should be in excess of 85mpg.
Engine details won't be confirmed until closer to the car's world debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September, but a Peugeot spokesman admitted the motors offered will be similar to those available for the 2008 SUV, albeit with minor tweaks for efficiency.
This means it will comprise a selection of small-capacity petrol engines, including the 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol. This engine is likely to be the cheapest on offer, with prices starting at around £16,000.
The engine with the 85g/km CO2 emissions figure is likely to be a 1.6-litre diesel. A 2.0-litre diesel is also expected to be offered.
As well as modifications to the engine, the cut in emissions has been brought about by a series of weight-saving measures – the new car is 140kg lighter than the previous 308. This has been achieved, in part, by reducing the size of the internal units. A spokesman said that making the satellite-navigation screen a built-in unit rather than a pop-up screen has helped with this.
The new 9.7-inch touch-screen controls many of the main systems in the cabin. As a result, there's a drastic reduction in the number of buttons on display. There is, however, a large volume control that Peugeot says has been inspired by those on high-end stereo systems.
The rest of the dashboard will be familiar to anyone who has been in the new Peugeot 208 or 2008. It also comes with the same small steering wheel as these cars – which will make reading the instrument cluster tricky.
Specifications will be confirmed closer to the car's Frankfurt debut, but it is expected to follow the same lines as the new 208 and 2008. This means it's likely to come in three trims. The Access, Active and Allure names used on the 208 are likely to be carried over.
Peugeot has not ruled out the prospect of a top-level luxury trim in the same manner as the XY on the 208. If it does happen, it would arrive several months after the car's launch.
Peugeot has confirmed it will offer LED headlights as standard on the higher trims. The latest 308 is also lower and shorter than the outgoing model, at 1.46m high and 4.25m long.
Despite this reduction in external dimensions, practicality looks set to be one of the new car's biggest selling points. It comes with 470 litres of storage space – making it more than 120 litres bigger than the previous car's boot.
The new 308 is based on a new platform that will also form the basis of the new Citroen C4 Picasso – and Peugeot says that its flexible nature means it will underpin several more models. One of the first examples of this is will be an estate version of the 308, which will go on sale around six months after the hatchback.
A three-door model is unlikely to follow, given that the current 308 is sold in five-door form only. However, a Cabriolet is expected to follow on later.
The five-door hatchback should be available to order from September, and the first cars will head to dealerships in January 2014.
By Tom Webster