Peugeot 308 Review
This 2014 European Car of the Year has received its fair share of facelifts since its release just over a decade ago. And now the latest range of Peugeot 308 models are standout urban compact cars.
The five-door 308 Active trim is a step-up from the standard entry-level model. However, you will want to pay that bit extra, as it comes with its fair share of tech and safety features.
The 308 isn’t a standout performer in its class when it comes to cabin materials. There are some cheap plastics knocking about, which can be easily scratched. The Volkswagen Golf has the upper hand in terms of premium feel, but that’s to be expected of a car that’s been in and around the top of the hatch class for decades. The good news is that they’re pleasing enough to the eye.
Because of the large boot, Peugeot has sacrificed a considerable amount of legroom in the back. But there’s still plenty of room for three adults there. You may have some issues with knee room and legroom on the middle seat if you’re tall. Short journeys wouldn’t pose too many problems, but you may start to ache for sustained periods of time sat here.
Infotainment and tech
As standard, the 308 Active comes with all-round parking sensors, dual-climate control and a hefty 9.7-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Peugeot’s surprisingly crisp “i-Cockpit” – delivering driver information through a digital instrument panel.
The cockpit is even compatible with smartphone mirroring thanks to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink availability as standard. Save your data with the fully integrated satnav system on all models. No need to tax your mobile plan’s allowance by using Apple Maps or Google Maps.
Peugeot has ditched archaic buttons for its more futuristic touchscreen which controls air-con, satnav and other media. At first this can take some getting used to – being rather fiddly to navigate. But it does a lot to facelift the cabin to compete with some of its rivals.
In terms of safety features, the 308 Active comes with automatic hazard light activation upon heavy braking, as well as programmed cruise control with a speed limiter.
Unfortunately, practicality isn’t entirely a strong point of the 308. Especially when you compare it to a Golf or Citroen C4 Cactus – both of which are a lot roomier in the back.
People over six foot will struggle for both knee and headroom in the back of the 308. Also, the fixed-glass panoramic roof which comes as standard on Active models and above eats into headroom, too. However, it’s a nice addition which brings more natural light into an otherwise dull rear cabin.
Where Peugeot has made amends for this flaw is the boot space. Compared to the VW Golf, the 308 has 90 litres more volume (470 versus 380). Once you get over the rather large load lip on the 308, it’ll easily cater to the storage needs of a family. A silver lining for cutting down on space in the rear.
On the road
Driving the 308 is really easy. Like the Ford Focus, the experience isn’t over complicated. In fact, the brand’s daring move to “reinvent the wheel” with a smaller, sportier D-shaped steering wheel gives off the impression of being in control. In turn, the car feels both agile and responsive – perfect for city driving.
At speed, there’s a noticeable amount of cabin noise when you reach higher speeds. Overall though, the car has a comfy suspension which you wouldn’t always expect from a vehicle which is more of an entry-level hatchback compared to rivals.
There’s a host of engines to choose from for the 308. The basic 1.2 litre petrol has luckily been phased out and wouldn’t provide much in the sense of power. This has paved way for two higher 1.2-litre PureTech engines (110 and 130), which are notably punchier.
For diesel lovers, there’s a 1.5-litre BlueHDi range which is the best choice if you’re going to be doing a lot of miles. There are two six-speed manual options, producing 101bhp and 130bhp, respectively. For even better fuel economy, there’s an eight-speed efficient automatic transmission version of the 1.5-litre BlueHDi engine.
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