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 itself

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

Back to top

Join the debate

Add a comment…
rislater 15 December 2012

Real Fuel Figures!

I have owned 3 Peugeot 308's now: two of the pre facelift model and now the model featured here. The pre facelift models were the 5 speed 1.6 hdi 90 while my current one is the 6 speed 1.6 e-hdi 110.

I've found all 3 excellent cars and personally quite like the styling on them: slighly moreso on the post facelift models.

Having moved from a standard hdi to the e-hdi engine I was expecting improved fuel efficiencey. Unfortunatly this has not been the case. The old cars generally averaged around 600 - 650 miles before having to fill up (on a 60 litre tank) while on the best ever run I managed 750 miles (Milan to Calais, average speed 70 - 75 mph). The current car comes nowhere close. General driving returns around 550 miles on a tank (if I'm lucky) while a similar run from Milan to Calais required a refill after around 650 miles. And it's still a 60 litre tank.

Overall I really like the car, and yes, I'd have another. The fuel efficiency in comparison to the pre facelift model would make me think twice though. Yes, I know, I've got 20 more horsepower and this may be contributing to the dent in fuel economy and the facelifted 5 speed 1.6 hdi 92 may provide better figures. I'd be interested to find out about this. But, if that's the case, what's the point of the e-hdi engine?!

Windy57 2 December 2011

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

ordinary bloke wrote:
a mileometer that added on extra miles that had not been driven

I had that problem on a company Qashqai - the miles started going almost twice as fast as they should have. It was sorted by dealer, but took a lot of explaining when filling in monthly mileage returns - I ended up taking a manager out in the car so that he could actually witness how fast the odometer was turning.

thebaldgit 2 December 2011

Re: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi

Alllure? hard to see what is alluring about this car especially as it is about to be superceded.