Driven: updated Peugeot 308

* Updated looks and lower emissions * Prices start at £15,245 * On sale May...

Driven: updated Peugeot 308

What is it?

Face-lifted version of Peugeots rival for the Ford Focus and VW Golf

Whats new?

Theres refreshed styling, with new headlights, grille and bumper at the front, an extra chrome strip on the bootlid and a sporty rear bumper for all models. Upgraded materials are aimed at giving a classier look inside.

All versions use less fuel and emit less CO2, thanks to engine tweaks and a weight reduction of around 25kg, due the use of lighter, high-strength steel components. The big news is the new e-HDI model, which has an engine stop-start system and CO2 emissions from just 98 g/km, depending on which trim level you choose.

Whats it like to drive?

Much the same as before. The mechanical tweaks have been made to improve efficiency, rather than the 308s ride and handling. As before, then, its a pleasant enough car to drive and isnt unduly fazed by bumpy roads or corners. A Golf is more composed and a Focus is more fun, however.

Peugeot labels the stop-start technology on the e-HDI model we drove micro-hybrid, referring to the fact that in some conditions - the engine stops before youve come to a standstill and stays shuts down longer than less sophisticated systems. In practice, it works well.

Whats it like inside?

Again, not a lot has changed. There are new materials and steering wheels, which give a slightly classier look, although the difference isn't particularly noticeable. Everything looks good enough, but rear seat space falls short of the most practical cars in this class.

Will it break the bank?

There are new trim levels but, like for like, prices for the new car are around £850 lower than the outgoing models. Standard equipment has improved, too, making the 308 look good value, especially compared with the likes of a VW Golf.