First DriveIf 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 DriveRefined, 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.