In road test terms, this is the toughest test of all for the 308. We want it all: a comfortable ride and entertaining handling from suspension that doesn’t impact excessively on packaging or push the price out of reach. It's a tough task for the Peugeot, or indeed any manufacturer.
In truth, we’re now spoilt for choice as multi-link rear axles have become the norm, not just in the like of the VW Golf, but also in the Kia Cee’d and Hyundai i30. So what for the hope for the 308, which perseveres with a torsion beam rear axle? Not much, as it turns out.
At first the ride appears pretty competent. The problem, as is often the case with torsion beam arrangements, comes when the suspension needs to multi-task. Hit a transverse ridge mid-corner and the resulting thud is more noticeable than it would be in a Golf or i30.
Similarly, if the obstacle is more extreme the 308 is more likely to be thrown off line than its independently suspended rivals.
In handling terms, the 308 is peculiar mix of attributes. There’s a reasonable amount of body roll, which in isolation isn’t an issue. But over an undulating B-road the 308 struggles to keep its body movement in check, so it adds to the problem.
The steering is accurate enough but no match for the best in class for feedback.
Ultimately though, we found the 308 difficult to gel with, not providing the level of control and information that allows its driver to gain any real satisfaction.
It’s slightly better news in the SW estate version. Peugeot estates tend to ride better than their hatchback counterparts, and the 308 SW doesn’t buck the trend. Where the hatch feels controlled but crashy over broken surfaces, the extra length and weight of the SW makes it feel both more composed and fluid.