The Peugeot 308 has recently been updated. The update brings with it dramatic new looks and, in every way, a brand new car. The old platform has disappeared in favour of a newer model and this car is no face lift – it shares none of the same body parts as its predecessor.
This is good news, of course – the Peugeot 308 of old was never the prettiest car in the car park, which is the price you paid for, well, the price you paid. Now the 308 is a true contender for best looking family hatchback your money can buy. So, what’s it like?
First of all, we need to get design out of the way. Peugeot is well known for producing affordable, reasonably spec’d cars, and the new 308 is no different to this respect… however, it differs from the outgoing 308 in that this has an exceptionally premium design and feel. The interior is minimalist, the steering wheel is ergonomically shaped, and cheap plastics aren’t where you’d expect them to be – in other words, everything feels fantastic from the drivers’ seat. Controls, switchgear and all buttons have a solid feel to them, and the leather wrapped steering wheel and gear gaiter give off a premium feel.
Start the ignition, and the 1.2-litre 3-cylinder engine (the lowest in the range) fires in to life with a respectable burble, and one which is hushed during town. It goes without saying, that to get the best driving experience from the new 308, you need to go for one of the other engines because the 3-cylinder engine in my test car was pretty gutless.
There are a number of tempting engines available, the most interesting of which are two 1.2-litre turbo-charged petrol engines that produce 108 and 128 bhp. This puts it in the firing line of Volkswagen’s 1.2 TSI and Ford’s 1.0 EcoBoost engines. Elsewhere, a more potent 1.6-litre turbo engine is available with 153 bhp. If fuel efficiency is what you’re after, the BlueHDi will suit your needs with a CO2 output of just 82g/km. With the Peugeot 308 – you can get the 308 in all configurations from here, including the interesting 1.2-litre versions.
The suspension on the new 308 is dramatically different to that which features in the old model. This set up uses a strut/torsion beam arrangement. The result? The 308 handles well, and around town or on the motorway, the car is exceptionally comfortable.
Competitor wise, the new 308 competes in an aggressive market full of good contenders. The 308 is about as well riding as a Volkswagen Golf, although wind noise and road noise is slightly worse on the motorway, but on par with a Ford Focus and Bristol Street Carlisle’s Vauxhall Astra.
All in all, the new Peugeot 308 is a splendid car, and a worthy update to the last generation. This model marks the start of something special for Peugeot – this car feels genuinely premium, and it’s looks are to die for. I see no reason not to recommend this as a family hatchback.