In-depth reviews

Peugeot 308 review - Engines, performance and drive

Plug-in hybrid models offer decent punch, but the 308 hatchback is no driver’s car

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.8 out of 5

Price
£28,210 to £43,370
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​Thinking back to the great Peugeot hot hatchbacks of the past, you might be forgiven for expecting the latest 308 model to be a driver’s delight. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and the first signs are evident as soon as you slip into the driver’s seat, because trying to find a comfortable driving position can be a bit of a chore. 

Forward visibility isn’t great because you sit quite low in the car; if you’re on the short side you’ll need to raise the seat high with the steering wheel position set low just to be able to get a decent view of the i-Cockpit digital dials, which all feels a little odd.

The 308 is fairly nimble in and around town, however, with its quick steering providing good feel and precision, although the small, stylish-looking wheel won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Both the driver and passengers will find the ride perfectly comfortable, though, with the 308’s suspension set-up adequately able to smooth out any bumps in the road.  

One big gripe we have is with the French hatchback’s eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s standard across the range with no manual option available, which is a shame because it feels quite awkward at times – not quick enough to pick up when attempting to pull away from a junction and taking time to engage at the end of a low-speed coast. You’ll find bringing the 308 to a chauffeur-smooth standstill a bit of an onerous task, too, with the stop-start system a little unsure of itself.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

If you’re looking for extra pace, then the plug-in hybrid model is the one to go for. The 178bhp version manages the 0-62mph sprint in 7.6 seconds, while the extra £1,400 needed for the 222bhp PHEV only buys an extra tenth of a second.

The 1.2-litre PureTech petrol car delivers 129bhp and a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds, which is respectable enough; opting for the 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel (with 300 Nm of torque) adds the best part of a second to this time.

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