What is it?

This is the refreshed and impressively frugal Peugeot 308, a car we’ve already tested on the Continent. Now we’ve got the 308 in the UK to see how it copes with Britain’s battered black top.

First, some details; the 1.6-litre e-HDi-engined 308 achieves upwards of 62mpg and emits 118g/km, which means the car sits in tax bracket C. More interesting is the 308’s clever e-HDi micro hybrid system, which uses a 5V super capacitor to store electricity and helps the car’s regular battery restart the engine during stop-start periods.

What’s it like?

The subtle changes to the 308’s styling (including a revised grille and flourishes of chrome), do little to improve the car’s aesthetics. Luckily, it’s a different story in the cabin thanks to black gloss finishes to the dashboard and the use of high-grade materials for the switchgear.

The half leather seats are also attractive and nicely sculpted, but soft side bolsters offer little support around tighter bends. That said, they are comfortable and the seating position is very good.

Like its predecessor, the 308’s interior is light and airy (accentuated by a full-length panoramic roof) and front and rear passenger legroom is good. The boot is also a decent size and can swallow 348 litres; a Ford Focus, by comparison, offers 22 litres less luggage space.

On the move, the Peugeot 308’s suspension is generally composed and soaks up medium-sized divots competently, even on the attractive 18-inch alloys this car was sitting on. On rougher surfaces, however, NVH levels suffer and the ride becomes crashy and less absorbent than any of its German competitors – the Volkswagen Golf being the obvious rival.

The steering, although nicely weighted, doesn’t offer a great deal of driver-feedback and the steering rack itself could do with being a touch quicker. Bearing that in mind, aggressive changes in direction don’t bode well, for the 308’s slightly taller centre of gravity makes it a car that doesn’t like to be rushed.

In traffic, the stop-start system works well and allows the engine to switch off sooner than any other car I’ve tested. And when the power’s off, a handy display in the centre console tells you, to the second, how long you’ve gone without power. I managed to rack up over 17 minutes during my 50-minute, 11-mile commute.

Anyone driving the 308 with the hope of harnessing diesel’s punchy low-down torque curve will be disappointed. Despite 199lb ft of twist, tall gearing from the slick six-speed manual gearbox means you have to work the revs hard to get the most out of the engine; frugal motorway cruising is what the 308 is better suited to and it covers large distances relatively quietly and economically.

Should I buy one?

If you’ve got a penchant for French metal and you’re after a spacious, frugal, well-equipped and generally inoffensive family hatchback, then absolutely.

Whilst the 308 won’t excite the keener driver, the impressive 62mpg and 118g/km C02 figures can’t be ignored. But remember, at this price, you’re also knocking on Golf Bluemotion territory.

Alex Kersten

Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi Allure

Price: £19,565; Top speed: 118mph; 0-62mph: 12.5sec; Economy: 62.7 (combined); CO2 emissions: 118g/km; Kerb weight: 1493kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1560cc, turbodiesel; Installation: Front, transverse, FWD; Power: 112bhp at 3600rpm; Torque: 199lb ft 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
14

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Your 50 minute 11 mile commute? Good God thank goodness I do not live anywhere near a big city. If I drive for 50 minutes I would be at least 40 miles from home.

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Maxycat wrote:
Your 50 minute 11 mile commute? Good God thank goodness I do not live anywhere near a big city. If I drive for 50 minutes I would be at least 40 miles from home

My commute can be much more than double that, depending on the traffic.

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
Now we’ve got the 308 in the UK to see how it copes with Britain’s battered black top.
I would like to like this car, if only to think there was a sensible choice other than the Golf, but having had a 307 that was quite probably the worst car I have ever had (and that includes a Mini Metro) which rattled and crashed over the UK's bad roads from within a month of buying it new, the electrics played up (a problem that was never resolved), and a mileometer that added on extra miles that had not been driven, apparently a known problem for which the dealer claimed there was no known fix. I was so glad to get rid of it. and also sorely disappointed as memories of a lovely little 205 back in the late '80s had persuaded me to go for the 307 in the first place.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

ordinary bloke wrote:
memories of a lovely little 205 back in the late '80s had persuaded me to go for the 307 in the first place.
I consider the 205 was the best car of the 80's. I drove about 140k miles in my 1985 205 XD over 7 years, the French consider it as the car that saved Peugeot.

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

This is the seventh consecutive car that Autocar has tested that has been red.

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

ordinary bloke wrote:
having had a 307 that was quite probably the worst car I have ever had
I'm sorry to hear that. I had one as a company car (not my choice by the way), and liked it so much, we bought one for my (then) fiancée - nice cars (she took it with her when we split up!) - in fact I was thinking about it today - unremarkable to drive, but comfortable, roomy, reasonably well made, and in my case ('05 1.6 HDi) reliable and economical. If I needed a cheap car, I'd definitely have another.

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

this brings to mind the 1990 Ford Escort that was reviewed on the site in the last couple of days, A car that really isnt good enough to understand why anyone would buy one. Its not as if at £20,000 its a cheap way to travel. Forget fuel consumption, depreciation will cost a fortune. And its just not good enough to drive not to buy a Kia or Hyundai instead

And all this from the maker of the 309 and 306. so much for heritage!

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Rented one of these (pre face lift shown here) and confess it was the WORST DRIVE of the last 15 years for me. Noisey - terrible suspension (which they clearly havent fixed) not frugal at all, lousy performance, small luggage space etc etc etc. Was happy to throw it back at the rental company - amazingly still in one piece!

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

It's not going to be long before we see the 308's replacement the 301 (which bearing in mind recent products, I have slightly higher hopes for) so I am ignoring any of chassis criticism. Unfortunately, this car is getting long in the tooth and it wasn't great when it was launched.

The useful part of this report is regarding the drive train. It is a useful system that definitely enhances this small capacity engine.

However..... I was initially going to say this would be an ideal commuter car, for people that do city mileage and short stop start journeys - then a thought occurred. It's a diesel, complete with it's DPF's and other related issues. This car is anything but a short range commuter car.

Why can't Peugeot offer this sort of system on their petrol models as well? It would make more sense and give their vehicles a much wider audience.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

2 years 51 weeks ago

I have almost the same engine as this in my new Focus and it seems like a backward step from the previous generation 1.6 PSA diesel, in terms of driveability and economy. I just hope it improves with a few more miles under it's belt.

Please register or login to post a comment.

Our Verdict

The Peugeot 308 is refined and inexpensive, but it lacks dynamic excellence

Driven this week

  • 2015 Audi RS Q3 review

    2015 Audi RS Q3 review

    First drive
    18 November 2014

    More of an expensive oddity than a range-topping performance SUV, and an ultimately unsatisfying oddity at that

  • 2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed review

    2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed review

    First drive
    18 November 2014

    The fastest luxury saloon in the world is also one of the very best

  • 2015 Fiat 500X review

    2015 Fiat 500X review

    First drive
    17 November 2014

    Decent styling, a well-judged interior and good practicality means Fiat's 500X is a worthy entrant on your compact crossover shortlist

  • 2015 Hyundai i20 review

    2015 Hyundai i20 review

    First drive
    17 November 2014

    The new i20 is a very spacious, well-kitted and keenly priced addition to this competitive segment, but it’s let down by weak engines

  • 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS PDK review

    2014 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS PDK review

    First drive
    14 November 2014

    This sporty 911 Carrera plugs the gap between the standard Carrera S and the hardcore GT3 successfully