The Peugeot 308 looks great, comes with loads of kit as standard and it’s pretty practical, too – just don’t expect passengers to enjoy sitting in its rather cramped back seats
The Peugeot 308 is a practical family car that sports a futuristic interior and comes with a selection of frugal engines. The model was updated in 2017 with stylish new bumpers, a range of upgraded infotainment features and new safety tech.
A colourful 9.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes as standard on all models. It features a built-in TomTom satellite navigation system but MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring functions are available, too, so you can always use your phone’s navigation apps instead.
A decent range of seat adjustment means you’ll be able to get comfortable behind the wheel, even if you’re more than six-foot tall. Lumbar support – to help reduce backache on long journeys – is fitted as standard to all models and all but entry-level Active versions come with a vast panoramic glass roof as standard. It looks great but you’ll lose out on about 5cm of headroom in the front.
Your passengers won’t be quite so comfortable in the back seats, however. Headroom is too tight for six-footers to get comfortable – even without the glass roof – and legroom leaves a lot to be desired, too. Carrying three abreast is a tighter squeeze than in an Astra or a Golf as a result of the Peugeot’s narrow cabin, its small footwells and a large lump in the rear floor.
Where all that space has gone is clear when you open the Peugeot’s boot. Its 470-litre capacity is 90-litres bigger than a Golf’s – so there’s plenty of space for a baby buggy and four soft bags but there’s a large load lip to contend with if you want to load heavy or bulky items.
Fold the rear seats down in a 60:40 split and the step in the rear floor means it’s hard to make full use of the 308’s impressive 1,309-litre load bay. A ski hatch is offered on Allure models and above so you’ll be able for carrying longer items.
Peugeot's 308 was designed to strip the VW Golf of its best-in-class crown and it gets achingly close to doing just that, only the poor rear legroom and unintuitive infotainment system let the side down
You can get the 308 with three petrol and three diesel engines. The 130hp 1.2-litre petrol is quiet, fairly perky and will return around 45mpg – making it ideal if you spend most time pootling around town. Spend more time on the motorway? Pick a 1.6-litre 120hp diesel – it’s quieter at speed than the petrol, fast enough to keep up with motorway traffic and returns around 50mpg.
The 308 deals with bumps well and is easy to drive thanks to its light steering and pedals but the Vauxhall Astra strikes a better balance between comfort and sporty handling. All models come with a manual gearbox but you can upgrade to a six-speed automatic for £1,200 – or pick a GT model with an eight-speed automatic as standard – to help make long journeys and traffic jams a little less tiresome.
Euro NCAP gave the 308 five-stars when it was tested in 2013.
The 308 isn’t just more practical than a VW Golf, it’s more stylish, impressively comfortable and comes well equipped – it’s just let down by its very cramped rear seats.
For a more in-depth review of the interior, practicality, driving, specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, if you want to see what kind of offers to expect on a 308, go straight to our deals page.