Fun to drive and economical, but composure suffers on UK roads

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

Add a comment…
jerry99 19 May 2008

Re: Peugeot 308 175 1.6 GT

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?

theoriginalshoe 13 May 2008

Re: Peugeot 308 175 1.6 GT

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...

Agitprop 13 May 2008

Re: Peugeot 308 175 1.6 GT

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.