What's the used Peugeot 308 hatchback like?
It might seem like the SUV has had it all its own way over the last few years, especially for those seeking a practical and good-value family car, but the hatchback still has a lot of life left in it.
It wasn’t so long ago that we used to associate Peugeot with the production of innovative small hatchbacks designed to appeal to just that audience, with cars such as the 205 and the 306 leading the way, but the French firm seemed to lose the thread for a while. However, when this new version of the 308 came along in 2014, it once again had a serious contender on its hands, and it scooped up the European Car of the Year Award that year.
On the road, we like the later 1.5 diesel. The 1.5 is flexible, so you rarely have to rev it hard, and it makes the 308 feel reasonably brisk. It's also more efficient and economical than the previous unit, despite having more grunt. You have to work the entry-level 99bhp 1.6 diesel pretty hard at times, but it doesn’t feel significantly slower than the higher-powered version when you do. The 2.0-litre diesels are the quickest but, given the 1.5 isn’t far behind them.
The 109bhp 1.2 petrol unit is decently punchy at low revs. The 129bhp version of the 1.2 feels more urgent and is usefully brisk. The 1.6 petrols bring plenty of performance, but are rather thirsty.
The GTi hot hatch not only gets more power, but also 19in alloy wheels, a Torsen limited-slip differential on its front axle, red brake calipers, bigger front brake discs and bucket seats to keep you in place under hard cornering.
The 308 is good to drive and comfortable inside, although some won’t be enamoured by Peugeot's i-cockpit design, with its unusually small steering wheel and high-set instruments. Space up front is fine, but one of the 308’s worst features is its rear space. It’s poor next to almost all of its rivals, including the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, but especially huge rivals such as the Skoda Octavia. Essentially, adults will have a hard time staying comfortable on a long journey. Head room isn’t too bad, but there’s precious leg room, so their knees will be forced against the front seatbacks. It’s a smart interior, though, and there’s a large boot, too.