Peugeot offers a decent spread of engines in the 308. Petrols include 97bhp 1.4 VTi, a 118bhp 1.6 VTi, and the more potent 1.6 THP with either 154bhp or 197bhp in the GT.
The performance of the 1.4 is no more than adequate, a trait that’s shared by the more powerful 1.6. The problem is that with either engine, the 308 never really shows any true determination to make progress, even towards the thick end of 6000rpm, and despite also owning some of most respectable performance figures in its class.
The more powerful 1.6 THP unit also has the tendency to feel a bit lethargic thanks to the 308’s hefty kerb weight, a problem that isn’t helped by the long-throw gearbox.
A smile isn’t really raised driving a 308 unless you put you foot down in the 197bhp 1.6 THP. Its 7.7sec 0-62mph performance is the perfect tonic to the rest of the range, but the engine also has the kind of mid-range urgency lacking in other petrol-powered 308s.
A 1.6 HDi with 91bhp is the base diesel in an oil-burning line-up that also includes 110bhp 1.6 e-HDi (the ‘e’ referring to its stop-start system) and a 148bhp 2.0 HDi.
The lower powered 97bhp diesel doesn’t feel lacking in power thanks to the readily available torque, and although it is noisier than the 110bhp version on a motorway run, the engine note is never really intrusive. In truth the 1.6-litre unit gives away very little the more powerful 110bhp version in everyday use.
The 2.0-litre HDi isn’t worth the extra outlay; it isn’t especially brisk either, its weight dulling the effects of a pretty solid slug of torque.