Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The Peugeot 308 engine range includes one petrol-only option, a 1.2-litre unit with 128bhp, and it’s a corker. It pulls strongly from low revs, and is as at home on the motorway as it is in town, even when you’ve loaded up the boot or filled every seat. For higher-mileage drivers, there’s a diesel engine available, a 1.5-litre unit which puts out 129bhp.
There are also two plug-in hybrid (PHEV) choices, starting with the Hybrid 180. It mates a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined 178bhp – enough for 0-62mph in 7.6sec. The 12.4kWh battery pack offers a WLTP-certified electric-only range of up to 37 miles. Performance feels brisk, and the motor’s instant acceleration makes driving in town fun, but even if you select electric-only running, anything other than a gentle prod on the accelerator will have the petrol engine piping up.
As ever, stick with smaller alloy wheels if comfort is a priority. Wheels of up to 18in are offered for the 308, but the 16in units will, we suspect, give you the most comfort. As you might expect, the ride in the PHEV versions is slightly firmer than the non-hybrids because of the extra weight of the battery packs.
Don’t fret, though, because no 308 is uncomfortable, and you certainly won’t find yourself wincing every time you go over a drain cover or pothole.
There’s a pleasing deliberateness about the way the 308 handles. Its steering is light and accurate around town, and although it doesn’t weight up much on faster roads, you always have a good idea of where the front wheels are heading and never have to make adjustments mid-corner.