The Peugeot 308 represents a massive improvement on the car it replaces – it handles well, feels well built and has a huge boot, only the limited rear legroom and annoying infotainment system spoil the party.
The Peugeot 308 is the French firm’s rival to small family hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and new Vauxhall Astra. Following the ethos of the larger 508, it has taken a big step up in quality compared to the model it replaces.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the interior, which emulates the car’s classy exterior styling. All expect the basic Access model get a 9.7-inch touchscreen that controls systems such as the car’s ventilation and stereo.
As in the smaller 208, the 308 gets a small steering wheel with high-set dials that sit above it, meaning your view of the speedometer can sometimes be obscured. In the back passenger space has been compromised in favour of offering a huge boot. If you need even more load-lugging capacity, read our review of the 308 SW estate.
There’s a strong range of engines to choose from – all offering impressive fuel economy, even in the fast GTi model that we have tested elsewhere. Most buyers are likely to go for the excellent 1.2-litre PureTech petrol or the super-frugal 1.6-litre BlueHDI diesel.
The range kicks off with Access trim – which includes a DAB radio, cruise control and air-conditioning but, as it lacks alloy wheels and the dashboard touchscreen, we would recommend the next-level-up Active model.
A facelifted model, with styling inspired by the China-only 308 Saloon, is set to be launched in the near future. Take a look at how this new Peugeot 308 could look and read our dedicated article for full details.
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
Peugeot set out to give the new 308 the quality feel to beat the Volkswagen Golf and it gets surprisingly close to doing just that thanks to its chunky exterior looks and well-built, simply styled interior.
The breadth of engines choices also get close to matching the VW – not least the super-efficient diesel – and the 308 is as good to drive as a Golf, even if it has been scuppered somewhat by the arrival of the sweet-handling new Vauxhall Astra. In fact, if you can live with the 308’s tricky-to-operate infotainment system and tight rear legroom, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, but the VW Golf remains the class-leader for now.