What is it?
A better quality small family hatchback reckons Peugeot, along the same lines as the 307 that it replaces. That means it’s a little taller than the norm, rides on the same MacPherson strut, torsion beam axle platform as before, but carries a collection of engines that include Peugeot’s competitive diesels and the new 1.6-litre petrol engine range it shares with BMW’s Mini.
The 308 is a little longer and wider than before, and disappointingly, somewhat heavier too, but it’s also slightly lower. The body is 10 per cent stiffer, while an extra energy path for the crash structure, a lower drag coefficient and a higher airbag count are all useful improvements. It has just scored five NCAP stars for adult protection, four for children and three for pedestrians.
Richer detailing of the exterior design, from slivers of chrome to a pair of headlamps that are claimed to be the lengthiest in the business, and its extra bulk, are suggestive of a better quality car.
And that impression is confirmed when you step inside, to take up station in a cabin finished to a far higher standard than the 307 has previously provided. Extensive soft-touch mouldings, an attractive bank of air vents and some neat switchgear and faintly retro instruments provide a more upmarket look, as do some of the ambiences created with trim and interior mouldings that are available in an attractive tan, a faintly luminous light grey and the usual black.