Peugeot's improved 308 remains a very competitive family hatch. Jonathan Crouch looks at the revised version.
The Peugeot 308 continues to deliver a well executed family hatchback formula that offers a focus on refinement, interior quality and efficiency. That's enough to keep it reasonably competitive against the Ford and Volkswagen class leaders, helped by the fact that the French brand has kept its engine technology well up to date. There's a level of self-confidence and, yes, desirability here that just works.
This second generation 'T9'-series Peugeot 308 has been on sale since 2013, but the brand has continually improved it, most recently with the minor range of updates we look at here. So where does that leave this car? Well it depends what you look for in an Astra-sized family hatchback. If it's driving excitement, you'll find it in a Ford Focus. If it's sheer value, then you're more likely to be drawn towards cars like Hyundai's i30 or Kia's Ceed. But what if your priorities are a bit more relaxed? You want an expensive feel. An absorbent ride. A laid back demeanour. And a car that makes you feel you're in something much nicer. Perhaps, just perhaps, you want a 308. As before, the car runs on the PSA Group's hi-tech EMP2 ('Efficient Modular Platform 2'), underpinnings that support a smart, still classy-looking body. Should family hatch buyers still take this car seriously? Let's check it out.
Peugeot has refined the mainstream 308 engine line-up down into the two units that actually sell, namely the 1.2-litre three cylinder PureTech petrol unit (offered in 110 and 130hp guises). And the 1.5-litre four cylinder BlueHDi diesel (offered in 130hp form). Both units are offered with an optional EAT8 auto gearbox. The full-fat GTi hot hatch still continues too, with its older petrol 1.6-litre THP unit in 260hp guise, with 340Nm of torque. Dynamically, the 308 has never really been a car for the hard charger. Instead, it's a family hatchback that's more about refinement and a relaxed gait. The suspension carries no great surprises, with a standard front strut and rear torsion beam arrangement. Peugeot has fitted rear trailing arms that allow greater longitudinal arc in the wheel travel. It sounds esoteric but it makes for a smoother ride when the rear wheels hit ridges or bumps. The electrically-assisted power steering is geared towards ease of use rather than detailed feedback but perhaps that's just as well. It makes the 308 very comfortable around town in the sort of usage it will mostly see.
There are no visual changes to this revised 308, but there are revised wheel designs and you can make the car look quite a lot different with a new 'Black pack' option, which enables you to change the majority of the exterior chrome trim to black. Otherwise, the five-door hatch and SW estate body styles are much as before, featuring a sleek bonnet that flows into a vertical grille that has a central Lion badge and the 'Peugeot' name sculpted into the upper trim. The elliptical headlights come with integrated daytime running light LEDs to produce a distinctive front light signature. This car has a mature, confident look. It's not trying too hard. We like that. The interior retains the 'i-Cockpit' design that sees the driver looking the instruments over the top of the steering wheel. What's different though, is the installation of a 10-inch instrument binnacle screen. And as usual, there's also a 9.7-inch centre dash colour monitor incorporating 'Mirror Screen' technology which allows you to connect in your smartphone using the 'Android Auto'/'MirrorLink' or 'Apple CarPlay' systems. There's also a fast-acting navigation system with voice control that connects into the TomTom real time traffic monitoring service. Other features are as before. The over-sized manual gear knob feels a bit awward but space all round is more than adequate and the 470-litre boot is excellent. If you need more space, there's a 308 SW estate variant with a 660-litre boot extendable to 1,660-litres with the rear bench folded.
There are two body styles - five-door hatch and SW estate. And prices range in the £22,000 to £32,000 bracket and there's a choice between five main trim levels ('Active Premium', 'Allure', 'Allure Premium', 'GT' and 'GT Premium'), plus the Gti. Even the most basic models include a 9.7-inch centre-dash capacitive touchscreen with 3D navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition. Plus there's air conditioning, remote central door locking, cruise control with speed limiter, a DAB digital radio, LED daylight running lights and rear parking sensors. The driving assistance portfolio is worthy of a car from a larger segment, including Adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function. And Peugeot's 'Visiopark with 180-degree' rear view camera and Park Assist function, which measures the parking space available and automatically steers the car in and out. Camera safety kit includes a latest-generation automatic emergency braking and collision risk warning system. And Active lane departure warning (or roadside warning) with lane correction from 40mph onwards. There's also Driver Attention Alert, Automatic Smart Beam Assist, Speed sign recognition and recommendation and an Active blind spot monitoring system
The 308 has always been among the more efficient family hatches you could choose - and nothing's changed on that front. Let's get to the WLTP figures - which we'll quote for the hatch. The base petrol 1.2-litre PureTech 110hp versions manage up to 54.9mpg on the combined cycle and up to 132g/km of CO2. The 130hp 1.2-litre model manages up to 53.7mpg and the same CO2 reading. High-precision injection control on the PureTech Stop&Start unit enhances combustion efficiency: exhaust gases go through a catalytic converter then a passive-regeneration gasoline particle filter. And diesel? Well Peugeot's 1.5-litre BlueHDi four-cylinder unit implements at-source and at-exhaust emission control. Combustion efficiency is improved by a patented combustion chamber design, the efficacy of which was amply proven under competition conditions in the 24-hour Le Mans event. Further efficiency gains are afforded by the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) pollution control system, fitted as close as possible to the engine for the fastest possible post-treatment action. As a result of all this, the 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 diesel manages up to 65.6mpg and 122g/km of CO2.
The Peugeot 308 has developed in an interesting manner. In many respects, it has quietly morphed into something very slick, something quintessentially French, despite being benchmarked against a Golf. If you enjoy flinging your car along the twistiest road you can find, a Focus will doubtless deliver a bigger hit. Having said that, the 308's laid-back demeanour and long-legged loping gait, attributes that hark back to classic Peugeots of the distant past, are actually qualities more in tune with the way we use cars today. Prices are a little higher than we'd like but aside from that, there aren't too many caveats. The diesel engines are hugely economical and the three-cylinder petrol units characterful and fun. Peugeot's biggest challenge will come in delivering three-year residual values that will make this 308 as affordable to run as a Golf. That's not the work of a moment, but if this 308 is anything to go by, the French company is certainly moving in the right direction.
All offers are subject to change at any time, you must be 18 or over and finance is subject to status, vehicle availability and terms and conditions apply. We can introduce you to a limited number of finance companies, a commission may be received. Failure to maintain payments may result in termination of your agreement and the vehicle being returned, this could affect your credit rating and make it more difficult to obtain credit in the future. All prices correct at time of publication.
All vehicle images and car descriptions on this site are for illustration and reference purposes only and are not necessarily an accurate representation of the vehicle on offer.
VAT at 20% may be payable.
You should try and estimate the distance you will travel as accurately as possible to try and avoid excess mileage charges at the end of your contract.
Email : email@example.com
Telephone : 01670 339469
Company Address :
Northumberland Vehicle Leasing
Netherton Park Farm
Northumbria Vehicle Leasing Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Automotive Compliance, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA No 497010). Automotive Compliance Ltd’s permissions as a Principal Firm allows Northumbria Vehicle Leasing to act as a credit broker, not as a lender, for the introduction to a limited number of lenders. We are a credit broker and not a lender. We can introduce you to a limited number of lenders and their finance products. We are not an independent financial advisor and we act as their agent for this introduction. We may advise you on the products, subject to your personal circumstances, though you are not obliged to take our advice or recommendation. We do not charge you a fee for our services. Whichever lender we introduce you to, we will typically receive commission from them (either a fixed fee or a fixed percentage of the amount you borrow). For your reassurance, all of the lenders we work with could pay commission at different rates, but the commission we receive does not influence the interest rate you will pay. Our aim is to secure finance for you at the lowest interest rate you are eligible for from our panel of lenders. If you ask us what the amount of commission is, we will tell you in good time before the Finance agreement is executed. All finance applications are subject to status, terms and conditions apply, UK residents only, 18’s or over. Guarantees may be required.
Registered in England & Wales with company number : 12635053 | Data Protection No : ZA764753 | VAT No : 353 633 403
Registered Office : Netherton Park Farm, Stannington, Morpeth, NE616EF
Disclaimer: All vehicle images and descriptions are for illustration and reference purposes only, all vehicle leases are subject to credit approval and subject to change at any time. E&OE.
Copyright © 2021 Northumbria Vehicle Leasing, All rights reserved.
Powered by CALAS