Peugeot 308 GT vs Renault Megane GT 220 & Kia Cee’d GT Tech
Don’t need a full-fat hot hatch? We try three warmed-up models with both pace and comfort
If you’re after a fun-handling hatchback with plenty of performance, there’s no shortage of options on offer, with a host of powerful new contenders on the market.
However, there’s also a growing group of ‘warm’ hatchbacks that deliver driving thrills on a cut-price budget, without affecting usability.
The latest challenger is the Peugeot 308 GT. It’ll be a while before we see a more focused 308 GTi, so for now the £24,095 GT is the fastest 308 on sale.
Hot on the Peugeot’s heels is the recently released Renault Mégane GT 220 hatchback. It’s more powerful and slightly cheaper, at £23,250, and promises some Renaultsport-inspired magic on the road.
Both cars will face a firm test, though, in the form of the popular Kia Cee’d GT. It boasts a similar power output, added style and family friendly practicality. So does the new 308 GT have what it takes to rise to the top?
Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which warm hatch comes out on top...
Cash vs quality
The 308 is easily the most luxurious car on test – but so it should be, as it costs £26,450. Still, even without the options, it has a classy feel inside and mixes this with decent practicality. The Kia is cheaper, but look beyond the smaller boot and the cabin is spacious. Unfortunately for the pricey Renault, its interior is short on premium appeal.
It’s the Cee’d GT that’s most recognisable as a tweaked version of the standard car, with its sporty design add-ons. The 308 is more understated, but the extra few touches make it look smart and muscular. Again, the GT 220 falls short – it doesn’t look as racy as the other two.
Where the Renault claws back ground is with its optional RS Monitor (above), which adds features like a G-force meter and a lap timer. The Cee’d has a GT mode for its digital dash, while 308’s Sport setting sharpens the engine and steering.
1st place: Peugeot 308 GT
The 308 GT comes out on top thanks to an enticing mix of quality, refinement, practicality and performance. It’s the slowest car in a straight line, but the balanced chassis means you can carry lots of speed, and don’t have to rely on the engine so much. While the cabin layout won’t please everyone, and it’s pricier to buy than the Kia or Renault, it feels more upmarket and is a cut above its rivals.
2nd place: Kia Cee’d GT Tech
Overlook the Cee’d GT’s polluting engine, and it’s an appealing package. It looks great, handles with composure and is quicker than the raw figures suggest, despite the lacklustre engine note. The kit list is generous and, despite its fuel economy, the GT’s running costs are fair. Kia’s class-leading seven-year warranty should give peace of mind for owners, too.
3rd place: Renault Megane GT 220
The Mégane GT 220 leads the way here for driving thrills, with a gutsy engine and sparkling chassis – but its age counts against it. The interior is practical, although the package feels old next to the refined Peugeot and solid Kia. Plus, the styling isn’t as interesting or striking as its rivals. You get less equipment for your money, too. Fuel thirst seals the Renault’s fate.
Same price: other options for similar money
New: SEAT Leon 1.8 TSI FRPrice: £21,040 Engine: 1.8-litre 4cyl, 178bhp
For less than all three of our test cars you could go for SEAT’s sporty Leon FR. Its 1.8 turbo engine is down on power in this company, but the on-paper performance is similar. Plus, you can spend the cash you’ll save on options, like the smooth DSG automatic gearbox (£1,350).
USED: Volkswagen Golf GTI Price: £24,500 Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 217bhp
With a budget of £25,000 you’ll be able to pick up a five-door VW Golf GTI with just 10,000 miles on the clock. We wouldn’t expect any wear at this age, and with 217bhp on tap, it’s quick. Opting for a higher-mileage model will get you a Performance Pack version, with even more power.
|Peugeot 308 GT||Kia Cee'd GT Tech||Renault Megane GT 220|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£24,095/£26,450||£23,400/£23,405||£23,250/£24,370|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£8,325/34.6%||£8,326/35.6%||£8,851/38.1%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£1,010/£2,019||£1,337/£2,674||£1,282/£2,565|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,843/£3,071||£2,078/£3,464||£2,017/£3,362|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||26/£348/D/£110||29/£354/H/£205||31/£359/H/£205|
|Servicing costs||£13 per month (3yrs)||£399 (3yrs)||£399 (3yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,598cc||4cyl in-line/1,591cc||4cyl in-line/1,998cc|
|Peak power||202/6,000 bhp/rpm||201/6,000 bhp/rpm||217/4,750 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||285/1,750 Nm/rpm||265/1,750 Nm/rpm||340/2,400 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||53 litres/space saver||53 litres/space saver||60 litres/sealant|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||470/1,309 litres||380/1,318 litres||405/1,162 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||10.4 metres/N/A||10.6 metres/N/A||11.1 metres/0.69Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||7yrs (100,000)/1yr||4yrs (100,000)/4yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||20,000 (1yr)/300||10,000 (1yr)/170||18,000 (1yr)/153|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||14th/9th||7th/10th||15th/14th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||92/79/64/5||89/88/61/5||5/4/2/5 (2008)|
|0-60/30-70mph||7.7/6.7 secs||7.4/6.4 secs||7.1/5.9 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.3/4.2 secs||3.1/4.2 secs||2.7/4.1 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||6.0/7.1 secs||5.5/6.9 secs||5.1/6.5 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||146mph/2,750rpm||143mph/2,750rpm||149mph/2,600rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||56/57/66/71dB||54/61/67/74dB||60/57/68/59dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||33.5/7.4/391 miles||29.7/6.6/346 miles||30.6/6.8/404 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||195/130g/km/21%||220/171g/km/29%||213/169g/km/28%|
|Auto box/stability/adapt cruise control||No/yes/yes||No/yes/yes||No/yes/yes|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/£1,200*/£1,200*||Yes/part/yes||Yes/£1,250*/£1,250*|
|Metallic paint/xenons/keyless go||£525/LED/yes||£490/yes/yes||£525/no/yes|