Peugeot 308 e-HDi review

15 Nov, 2013 4:00pm Jonathan Burn

Does this clean new diesel Peugeot 308 make more sense than the petrol version?


The new Peugeot 308 is much more stylish and desirable than the car it replaces. Yet while the design is contemporary and the 1.6-litre diesel refined, a few niggles compromise an otherwise well rounded car. Ultimately, the Peugeot lacks the all-round ability of a Golf, but it’s better value.

The latest Peugeot 308 is a hugely important car for the company, as this all-new model, complete with a radical design overhaul inside and out, aims to tackle family hatchback heavyweights like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf head-on.

• Full Peugeot 308 review

It’s armed with a raft of new tech and a sculpted shape, while this 1.6-litre e-HDi diesel makes a stronger case than the petrol car. It hits the magic 100g/km CO2 barrier and claims 74.3mpg fuel economy, partly because the new EMP2 platform has made it 140kg lighter than before.

Our model was fitted with hip-hugging leather seats – a £1,200 option – that make it easy to get comfortable. But the panoramic glass roof standard on top-spec Feline models impacts on rear headroom. And while legroom is decent, Peugeot seems to have sacrificed some knee room to allow for a large 470-litre boot – that’s 90 litres bigger than in a Golf.

The company has repositioned the dials, too, in a bid to prevent them from being obscured by the small steering wheel, as they are in the smaller 208 supermini. But while they’re now better placed, some of our testers struggled to get a comfortable driving position where they could see them.

Press the silver starter button and the 1.6-litre diesel clatters into life, although it’s smooth and refined when you pull away. The HDi engine’s 115bhp output doesn’t sound like much, but as this 308 weighs only 1,395kg, and all 270Nm of torque is available from 1,750rpm, it pulls strongly through the six-speed manual box’s ratios. Changes themselves are a little long and clunky, but the gearlever is perfectly placed.

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The Peugeot 308 is at its best on the motorway. It’s clearly been set up for comfort and refinement, rather than outright agility. Even on larger 18-inch alloys, the ride is surprisingly supple and it’s very quiet inside, even at high speed.

Dominating the all-new cabin is an Apple iPad-like 9.7-inch touchscreen, which replaces a whole host of buttons and dials. This updated system is much more responsive than the one in the 2008 crossover, and adjusting the radio or heater is a simple two-touch process.

Better still, in flagship Feline trim, the 308 costs over £3,000 less than a similarly specced Golf with all the trimmings – that may be enough to entice many buyers.

Disqus - noscript

Lol, where's 'Homer J' these days with his daft rants?!
Seriously though, this new 308 is a nice effort from Pug.

Peugeot really are getting their act together and it is great that finally a 3-series Peugeot is up there with the class leaders. It makes the Astra and Auris seem way off the pace.

Can't wait for a GTi and R version. If the RCZ R is anything to go by they should be stonkers.

" It makes the Astra and Auris seem way off the pace."

Really ? The Auris hybrid is as qquick and frugal but does it with petrol, not a clanky diesel and has lower CO2 emissions. It's also a much quieter ride.

I see what the designers did here, take an ugly silhouette/shape as a base and add some overstyled light clusters, creases and design tweaks here and there and voila!! The new 308 is born - typical French car design!

Looks like an attempt to copy the Astra but not as well done. We need prettier cars to adorn the hard shoulders of our motorways with flashing hazard lights (flashing hazards on the ones that don't have complete electrical failure anyway).

In my opinion the 308 is classier in every way than Astra , the cabin , the exterior lines , and has the new 2.0 Blue HDi ,Euro6 ...

That may be the case but the Auris has a cabin from the 80s looks frumpy on the outside and is pretty awful to drive. It is also more expensive to buy with the same equipment as the Feline. I can see the allure of a petrol hybrid but the 1.6 HDi unit is very good. Just my opinion :)

Well there's your opinion and then there is fact, two diametrically opposite entities.

And there will be countless Peugeots on the hard shoulder tomorrow when I maked my trip up the motorway, but probably no Astras.

This 308 car looks frumpy on the outside. Probably the most frumpy car currently on sale. Even frumpier than an Audi A3, and that takes some doing.

I think the Fiat 500L is the frumpiest of them all...have one this week...not a nice sight on my drive!

*A Nice Astra PSA/GM Platform Shared Chassis, Nice Exterior But Overstyled Interior, Trying To Hard To Look Different Oh Dear.

Sorry but I disagree with regards to Auris looking frumpy. The current mk2 model is a very sharp looking car in my opinion. I also think that saying it has an 80s style cabin is harsh. True, it's not the most attractive cabin but for me it's no worse than anything German. I can't see the new 308 matching the Auris for build or reliability. I know the old 307 was pretty dire in these areas.

That's the beauty of opinions :)

I think the interior is probably the worst in this class. The materials are cheap and brittle and the design is awkward and don't even mention the digital clock.

I was very unimpressed by the Auris.

It's a entirely PSA group developed platform. Nothing to do with GM.

What was the average fuel consumption on test?

Where I live the greatest number of "hard shoulder" residents seem to be Audis, closely followed by Renaults but there really is no pattern at all save in the minds of the prejudiced. Of course passers by can have no idea of the cause and this may well be from punctures or a result of the numpty motorist who allows the vehicle to run out of fuel.

Homer J is preparing for his GCSE mocks and hasn't got the time to rant.

It is your right to have bad tastes in cars....

Key specs

  • Price: £21,745
  • Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 115bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 118mph
  • Economy/CO2: 74.3mpg/100g/km
  • Equipment: 18-inch alloy wheels, stop-start, keyless go, 9.7-inch touchscreen, cruise control
  • On sale: Now