- Stylish inside and out
- Efficient petrol and diesel engines
- Well equipped
- Less legroom than some rivals
- Fiddly touchscreen controls
- The dashboard isn’t to all tastes
The 308 is a stylish hatchback (and SW estate version) that’s good to drive and well equipped. The interior has a high-tech feel thanks to a distinctive dashboard design and smart touchscreen infotainment system and there’s decent space throughout.
The engines are particularly impressive – whether you go for a petrol or diesel each one is smooth and responsive. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are among the lowest for this type of car; combined with competitive prices it makes the 308 one of the most cost-effective hatchbacks around.
The 308, like most of the brand’s models, features Peugeot’s ‘i-Cockpit’ layout. Essentially, this means an unusually small steering wheel that you look over, rather than through, to see the speedo and other information dials. There are only a few buttons, because you control most functions through a touchscreen infotainment system. It all looks great but it takes a bit of getting used to and it’s very much personal taste whether you like the unusual steering wheel arrangement.
Interior space is about the same as you get in rivals such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Legroom in the back is a bit below average, but there’s enough space for four adults to sit comfortably enough.
The boot space is large for this type of car, with a capacity of 470 litres. That’s enough for three medium-sized suitcases. It can be expanded to 1,309 litres by folding down the back seats, so you should be able to fit in a bike or large piece of furniture easily enough.
If you need more space take a look at the SW estate version, which is one of the most roomy small estate cars around. It’s longer than the hatchback, both between the front and rear wheels and overall, so it gives you extra legroom in the back and a huge 660-litre boot that can be expanded up to 1,775 litres by folding the back seats.
The 308 is good to drive, with a particularly smooth ride. Its compact size and light steering make it easy to manoeuvre in the city, yet it’s reassuringly quiet and stable on the motorway.
The engine range is very good. Each is quiet, responsive and easy to recommend. The 1.2-litre petrol engines give you decent acceleration, but if you want a bit more fun on your drive there’s also a GT model that has a 1.6-litre petrol engine and sportier suspension. The GTi hot hatch model is even more fun and very quick.
There are some good diesel engines to choose from – each is quiet and efficient and the higher-powered ones give you very strong performance.
The 308 is good value for money, costing less to buy than many rivals and with running costs that are lower than average.
Thanks to its efficient engines it gives you especially good fuel economy. Some of the diesel models have an official average of 80mpg or more. Even the petrol models are excellent, with official averages for most in the lower 60s.
The latest Peugeot models have an excellent reliability record, showing a big improvement over some of its older models. In fact the brand achieved first place in the JD Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Survey, which is based on how many problems owners report. That bodes well for the 308’s reliability.
It’s also a safe choice, having received a maximum five-star rating from safety organisation Euro NCAP in 2013. The Driver Assistance pack – which includes an automatic emergency braking system – was an option on some trim levels, so it’s worth checking whether your chosen car has this.
Best for economy - 1.5 BlueHDI
Best for family - 1.2 PureTech Tech Edition SW
Best for fun - GT 1.6
All 308 models have a good standard of kit but, as with most rivals, it’s often worth going for a model that’s at least one level up from the most basic trim to gain a few of the more desirable features.
A round of upgrades in 2018 gave the 308 a few cosmetic tweaks, with slightly different designs for the lights and bumpers and new materials inside. It also introduced an updated infotainment system with an improved display and faster responses.