Peugeot 308 Hatchback full 9 point review
There are two 1.6-litre diesels. The 114bhp version is decently flexible, so you rarely have to rev it hard, but it’s far from fast. You have to work the 91bhp version pretty hard at times, but it doesn’t feel significantly slower than the higher-powered model when you do. The 154bhp 1.6 petrol turbo is swift, if not as gutsy as its power output would lead you to believe. We’re yet to try the other petrol models, which are an 80bhp 1.2 and a 123bhp version of the 1.6 turbo.
Ride & Handling
Aside from a bit of patter from the rear of the car, the 308 rides pretty well, although models with 18-inch wheels are less comfortable. Sadly you pay for this suppleness with sloppy body control. The steering is also a little vague, so doesn’t inspire enough confidence on back roads and motorways.
The 114bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine stays pretty quiet unless you rev it hard, but the 91bhp diesel sounds gruffer and transmits more vibration through the pedals. You also have to put up with some wind noise at motorway speeds, while the manual gearbox has a vague action.
Buying & Owning
The 308 is competitively priced, and you can get a decent discount to make it better value. The diesel models are impressively economical, while their low CO2 emissions make them cheap to run as company cars. Resale values are the only area where the 308 struggles to match the class leaders; they’re merely average, though, so are far from awful.
Quality & Reliability
Much of the cabin is smartly trimmed, but there are some signs of cost cutting, including a swathe of hard, scratchy plastic beneath the centrally mounted touch-screen. The 308 was too new to feature in the most recent JD Power customer satisfaction survey, but Peugeot as a manufacturer got average marks for reliability.
Safety & Security
Standard safety equipment is comparable with that in most rivals, plus Peugeot offers a Driver Assistance Pack on some models that brings several desirable extras. These include adaptive cruise control and a system that automatically applies the brakes if it detects an imminent collision. Security kit includes an immobiliser and deadlocks, and most versions also get an alarm.
Behind The Wheel
As in the 208, there’s an unusually small steering wheel that you look over (instead of through) to see the instruments. Fewer drivers will find the top of the wheel blocks their view of the speedo in the 308, however. A touch-screen is standard on all but the entry-level trim, and features large easy-to-hit icons. That said, some of the minor functions are fiddly to operate on the move, and it’s a pity Peugeot hasn’t fitted separate controls for the air-conditioning.
Space & Practicality
The boot can swallow 470 litres of luggage, which is 120 litres less than the Skoda Octavia’s can manage, but a lot more space than you get in a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf. Unfortunately, the 308’s large carrying capacity comes at the expense of rear legroom; six-footers will feel seriously cramped when sitting behind similar-sized people up front, while rear headroom is also quite tight if you specify the optional panoramic glass roof.
Every 308 comes with air-conditioning, Bluetooth, a digital radio and cruise control, but we’d go for Active trim, which gets alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and sat-nav. Allure models are expensive, but add full-LED headlights, a reversing camera and front parking sensors, while range-topping Feline versions get 18-inch alloys, the panoramic glass roof and keyless entry as standard.