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Peugeot 308 review

The Peugeot 308 is arguably one of the most eye-catching hatchbacks on sale, but its plush interior, intuitive infotainment tech and comfortable cruising ability mean it’s not just a pretty face. Its tiny steering wheel might take some getting used to, though.

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wowscore
8/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Looks great outside
  • Feels truly classy inside
  • Quiet and comfortable to drive

What's not so good

  • Seating position won’t suit everyone
  • Slightly hesitant automatic gearbox
  • Entry-level cars are a bit pricey

Peugeot 308: what would you like to read next?

Is the Peugeot 308 a good car?

The Peugeot 308 could be right up your street if you want your next family hatchback to really stand out in a sea of restrained-looking alternatives such as the VW Golf and Ford Focus.

Just take a look at that front end. It looks like Peugeot’s taken the 308 and dipped it face-first in a bucket of leftover Christmas decorations. Shiny daytime chrome, bright running lights and LED lamps are everywhere, along with a brand-new shield-shaped Peugeot badge.

Somehow, though, these bits of car jewelry work together to make the 308 look more upmarket than most other small family hatches, such as the Skoda Octavia or SEAT Leon.

It’s a similar story at the back, where Peugeot has added some bright red brake-light slashes to the bootlid and a set of shiny chrome exhaust trims to the bumper. Although, peer closer and those square pipes are just plastic add-ons.

Thankfully, there’s little of this fakery inside the Peugeot’s cabin. If a surface looks nice (and most of them look terrific) it’ll almost certainly feel equally plush, too. This applies to everything from the soft dashboard trim and the solid centre console, and to the flashy metal-effect trim around the air vents.

These vents sit right at the top of the dashboard, beside a high-mounted driver’s display that replaces old-fashioned analogue dials.

This looks very similar to the setup you get in the smaller 208 and larger 3008 SUV, and means you peer over the steering wheel to read your speed rather than through it.

The steering wheel itself is much smaller than in most cars, and sits in your lap rather than at arm’s length. It’s an odd layout that might not suit particularly tall drivers.

Very lofty passengers might struggle slightly to get comfy in the Peugeot 308’s back seats, but there’s plenty of space for kids to get comfy and the boot can easily swallow a family’s luggage for a weekend away.

The Peugeot 308 is a comfortable family hatchback that, in typical French fashion, majors on chic style appeal. Its unconventional interior layout may take some getting used to, however

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

Speaking of which, the Peugeot 308 is comfortable to drive for long periods, and cruises along happily at motorway speeds quite happily.

If long drives are your thing, you’ll want to check out the 308’s 130hp 1.5-litre diesel engine. It’s not particularly pokey, but is mostly quiet and returns around 50mpg in normal driving conditions without any great effort.

If you aren’t planning any particularly long road-trips, you’ll be better off with one of the 308’s petrol or hybrid engines.

The 1.2-litre petrol has 130hp, which is more than enough for town driving and country roads, while the 180hp hybrid is nippier and more economical – so long as you have somewhere to charge its battery up regularly.

Both versions are easy to drive, quiet and comfortable. All Peugeot 308s are easy to see out of and the dinky steering wheel helps make light work of tight inner-city manoeuvres.

Speaking of which, every version comes with rear-parking sensors as standard and you can pay extra for higher-spec cars with adaptive cruise control to help take the sting out of long motorway trips.

That said, even entry-level cars come with plenty of equipment as standard, which helps justify their slightly steeper price tag than some less flashy family hatchbacks.

If you’re looking for something that’ll stand out but don’t fancy a high-riding SUV, then the new Peugeot 308 is well worth a look.

Prices for the new 308 start from £24,000, but it isn’t due to arrive in the UK until the start of 2022. Until then, you can check out our Peugeot deals page to see how much you could save on a new car with the help of carwow.

How practical is it?

The Peugeot 308’s cabin isn’t the best for very tall passengers in the back, but its roomy boot helps make it practical enough for families

Boot (seats up)
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Boot (seats down)
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The Peugeot 308’s slightly left-field steering wheel and dashboard design takes a little bit of getting used to. If you’re smaller and like to sit nice and high it’ll feel fairly natural, but if you prefer to hunker down and sit nice and low, it can be strange to hold the steering wheel in your lap.

In some cases – depending on how you position the standard-fit height-adjustable driver’s seat – it can obscure some of the digital dials.

That said, most drivers will be able to find a comfortable seating position, especially in Allure models and above thanks to their standard adjustable lumbar support.

Step up to a GT Premium model and you also get electric seat adjustment with massage and heating functions – perfect for those early-morning mid-winter starts.

With a six-foot-tall driver in the front, there’s just enough space in the back for an equally tall adult to fit – although not particularly comfortably.

Shorter passengers will have enough room to stretch out, and three kids can fit across the rear seats without any fighting over elbow room. The centre seat is a little higher than the outer two, however, and the hard plastic edges of the front seats don’t leave much space for three sets of knees, though.

The 308’s grey and black interior trim does make things feel a little dark in the back seats, but at least the rear windows are reasonably large and the optional sunroof lets in a healthy amount of light without its mechanism cutting into back-seat headroom.

There are a few handy storage areas in the Peugeot 308. The centre armrest splits in two to reveal a roomy cubby that’s big enough for a few phones or a can of drink, and the front door bins can hold a large one-litre bottle.

The rear door bins aren’t quite as large, but passengers in the back do get a couple of seat-back pockets to store a few odds and ends and a folding armrest with two built-in cupholders.

The Peugeot 308’s boot capacity is 412 litres for the standard petrol and diesel-powered cars, and 361 litres for hybrid versions (due to the space taken up by those cars’ batteries.)

This means that the new 308 has a larger boot than the 381-litre loadbay in a Volkswagen Golf or the 375-litre boot in a Ford Focus.

The outright king of carrying is still the Skoda Octavia with its vast 600-litre boot, however.

If you need to load more luggage in the Peugeot, you can flip the back seats down in a two-way split using neat levers by the boot lid. This boosts its carrying capacity to a healthy 1,323 litres in petrol and diesel cars, which is almost identical to the 1,320 litres of space in a Ford Focus.

The 308 hybrid can carry 1,271 litres, which is slightly more than you can squeeze in  Volkswagen Golf’s 1,237-litre boot.

The 308 comes with a handy flap between the back seats that’ll let you carry long items at the same time as two back-seat passengers.

However you arrange the back seats, there’s a slight step between the boot floor and the boot opening, which can make it a little tricky to unload very heavy items.

What's it like to drive?

The 308’s engines are fairly economical and quiet – especially the hybrids – and it’s comfortable on a variety of roads, if not all that fun

You can get the Peugeot 308 with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engines.

Entry-level cars come with a 130hp 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine that’s paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. This gearbox is mostly smooth, but can engage gears with a delayed jerk at slow speeds.

The 1.2-litre petrol engine is perky at low speeds, however, and quietens down to a gentle hum when you’re up to speed. It’ll return around 40mpg in normal driving conditions.

If you’re looking for something more suited to longer motorway journeys, there’s also a 130hp 1.5-litre turbo diesel. This engine feels more sluggish when you accelerate hard to join a motorway or overtake traffic, but delivers around 50mpg without any effort. It is a little noisy at slow speeds, however.

The quietest and most powerful engine options are the plug-in hybrids. These pair a petrol engine with an electric motor to deliver 180hp or 225hp, depending on which model you pick.

Both can drive for around 35 miles in electric-only mode and take around three and a half hours to charge using a 3.2kW wallbox at home.

The hybrid system switches between electric and petrol power smoothly, but the way these cars use their motors to recharge the batteries when you brake can make the brakes feel slightly jerky in stop-start traffic.

If you have somewhere to charge these hybrids at home, you could manage more than 100mpg without a great deal of effort. They are significantly more expensive than the standard petrol or diesel options, however, and so are best avoided if you don’t have easy access to a charger.

The Peugeot 308 is easy to drive thanks to its light controls and decent visibility.

The pillars beside the windscreen aren’t particularly large and the square rear windows give you a decent view over your shoulder when parking or pulling out of junctions.

However, the slim rear windscreen and thick boot-lid pillars can make parking a little tricky. Thankfully, every 308 comes with rear parking sensors to take some of the stress out of inner-city driving.

Speaking of which, the 308 does a decent job of ironing out the unpleasant thud of large potholes and bumps at low speed and gets even better when you head out of town onto faster roads.

On smooth motorways, you’ll hear very little noise from the 308’s tyres, and there’s very little wind noise either. Mid-range Allure Premium models and above come with adaptive cruise control as standard that’ll maintain a safe distance to cars in front as they accelerate and brake, which helps make long drives more relaxing.

Go for a top-spec GT Premium car and you also get lane-positioning assistance that helps steer to keep you in the centre of your lane on motorways. It isn’t the most effective system, but you can easily disable it using the central touchscreen.

Rather annoyingly, it re-engages itself every time you turn the car on.

If you prefer to drive yourself, don’t expect the Peugeot 308 to put a particularly big grin on your face on a twisty back road. It doesn’t lean much in tight bends but the rather hesitant automatic gearbox (you can’t get a manual in the UK) and light steering are more geared towards city driving than carving through country lanes.

What's it like inside?

The Peugeot 308’s interior looks like it belongs in something much more expensive, but the dinky steering wheel design takes some getting used to

Next Read full interior review