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.
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