A 97bhp 1.4 kicks off the range of petrol engines, followed by three 1.6s with 118-, 154- or 197bhp. There are two more 1.6-litre engines in the diesel range, giving either 91- or 110bhp. They’re joined by two 2.0-litre units with 148- and 161bhp, but the highlight is the 110bhp diesel – it's smooth, flexible and gives excellent economy.
The 308 has plenty of grip and good body control, but it's a heavy car, and feels a little cumbersome in the bends. The steering isn’t all that responsive, either, and it also rather unsettling on mid-corner bumps. The car's stiff suspension means that the ride is unsettled on anything other than the smoothest roads.
The 118bhp 1.6 petrol is audible when revved, but, as with the rest of the engines, the noise is never unpleasant or excessive; the diesels are particularly smooth. Tyre noise is only apparent on coarse surfaces, while wind noise is well controlled at UK speeds, too. However, the suspension can be clunky over even minor bumps.
Most models will be sold as company cars, so the 308 is priced to compete in this highly competitive sector. Running costs, especially for diesel models, are generally low, but because 308s sell in such high numbers, resale values are weak.
The dash has a soft-touch covering that looks and feels good, but the materials aren’t as plush lower down and one or two panels have a slightly flimsy feel. The assembly doesn’t feel all that substantial, either. Peugeots have been criticised for their reliability in the past, but this year's JD Power survey revealed something of an improvement; owners rated it as above average for mechanical reliability.
The 308 achieved the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, but it earned them under the old, less stringent testing regime. Every model has a minimum of six airbags, and stability control is standard across the range, too. So are deadlocks and remote locking.
Every model has two-way steering adjustment and front seats that adjust for height, but the steering wheel and pedals are offset too much to the left. Also, the rear pillars block your view at angled junctions, and some of the switches on the best-equipped models are too small for ease of use.
The 308 isn't one of the roomiest family hatchbacks, because rear kneeroom is tighter than in the best cars in the class. Headroom is sufficient for a six-footer, though, despite a sloping roofline. Boot space is average for the class, but the high sill makes loading heavy items awkward.
Access trim has air-conditioning, four powered windows and a CD player. Active models add cruise control, alloys, automatic lights and wipers and Bluetooth, while Allure models have part-leather seats, climate control, parking sensors and a panoramic roof. GT models have sporty styling. The equipment on efficient Oxygo and fleet-specific SR models is similar to that on Active-trimmed cars.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
This is our favourite engine in the 308, and given that Active trim brings all the most important bits of kit, this version is the pick of the range.