From £14,494
Fun to drive and economical, but composure suffers on UK roads

Our Verdict

Peugeot 308 2007-2013
The Peugeot 308 needs to stand out to succeed in a crowded marketplace

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

  • First Drive

    Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

    If you’ve got a penchant for French metal and you’re after a spacious, frugal and generally inoffensive family hatchback, then the 308 makes a good case for it
  • First Drive

    Peugeot 308 e-HDi Active SW

    Refined, economical and pleasant enough small estate that’s also practical

What is it?

This is the 173bhp, turbocharged 1.6-litre 308 GT and it’s the first change we’ve had to drive it in the UK in three-door guise.

Peugeot’s idea was to create a happy medium between comfort, family hatch practicality and hot-hatch performance, but finding out whether it can handle British roads will be a key factor in its appeal.

What’s it like?

In many ways it does exactly what Peugeot wants it to do. The high-revving engine, which also produces a reasonable 190lb ft of torque from 1500rpm, offers enough power throughout the rev range to make any back-road antics enjoyable despite this car’s hefty 1389kg kerbweight.

Equally, the 308 GT’s interior is a comfortable and attractive place to be, even if the switchgear is fiddly and confusing.

Unfortunately the ride lets it down. At slow speeds it’s hard to fault. It’s well controlled and smooth over most surfaces, but at higher speeds the back end skips over severe surface disturbances and you get much more noise and disconcerting jarring from the suspension.

Still, the ride quality is equal to most cars in this class for town driving, so plenty of people will be willing to live with some high-speed discomfort in return for the 37.1mpg economy, decent practicality and a rewarding engine.

Should I buy one?

The Peugeot 308 GT comes at a high price that would leave you change from a Ford Focus ST; undeniably a whole other class of driver’s car. So you can get much more performance for your money should you wish, but the Blue Oval’s bona fide hot hatch is less than economical and if running costs are a priority then the 308 is a decent choice.

Join the debate

Comments
4

13 May 2008

I'm a Peugeot fan, but buying one is getting harder and harder to justify despite my historical bias. The highpoint for me was a 406 SRi (turbo petrol) which combined great refinement with a compliant suspension and real agility on a typical "B" road. That broad spread of abilities seems to have gone from the range now - with models like the 407 being needlessly firm and uncomunicative, and the 308 combining a soft suspension with a fundamental lack of suspension ability. At least the powertrains are getting better, with the BMW partnership. Hence despite the 308's advances (in particular on the interior), it looks poor value vs.cars with broader ability such as SEAT's Leon (not to mention Skoda and the Kia/Hyundai models..).

13 May 2008

I'm with you on that. The heyday of good-looking, verging on beautiful Peugeots seems to be gone and yes the quality is better but where is the fun? The 306 was the best looking hatchback of the nineties in my opinion and by the time it died looked absolutely stunning. Mine drives fantastically too and is a perfect size for a family hatch. Time to look back to move forward I feel.

13 May 2008

Agree wholeheartedly Agitprop. 306 still looks terrific in traffic - elegant, sporty, tight.

Buy one of these before a Focus ST? Vicky, anyone would think you'd lost your marbles...

www.eco-trainer.net

19 May 2008

What has happened to Peugeot's expertise in suspensions? It was not that long ago that they designed their own shock absorbers and whilst not always setting up the car for fine handling the company could be replied upon to produce excellent ride. The suspensions were also nearly unbreakable.

Now the ride is only average and the number of suspension related failures reported on fault reporting websites is climbing. I can only assume the suspension department has been cut back and the money has been spent in other areas. But if Peugeot loses its fashionable image what will they have left to sell their cars?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales