Peugeot 308 1.6 HDi 90 S car review
- We like...Value price; fuel economy
- We don't...Little that's worth a mention
Could this be one of the most sensible cars you can buy? We think so. The Peugeot 308 1.6 HDi S is (when we wrote this) way cheaper than the lowest-cost Ford Focus diesel and is also better priced than the equivalent Volkswagen Golf. So it’s top value.
But to get a ‘bargain’ like this, must you endure a bare cabin and a weedy engine? Happily, no. This car may not have the alloy wheels or full-length glass roof that you’ll find on costlier 308s but it is plush and comfy. Peugeot has just upgraded the interiors across the 308 line-up so that the soft-feel dash plastics and chrome around the air vents wouldn’t look out of place in a Volkswagen Golf, the car we think is the best-finished inside of any at its price. The plastics used elsewhere look a little cheap in places but the seats are nicely finished in sober-looking fabrics and the overall effect is grown-up, chic even.
There’s no sense that the 308 is ‘missing’ bits that it would have if only you’d spent a few extra quid on the next model up. Air conditioning, six airbags, electronic stability programme, body coloured mirrors and door handles all come as part of the deal.
It rides fairly softly, giving that ‘loping’ feel that drivers of 306s and 406s will know well but which has been missing from many newer Peugeots. It actually feels comfier than other, dearer, 308s we’ve driven. Could that be because its 15in steel wheels and regular tyres cushion better than the big alloys and skinny-sided rubber fitted to top-end models?
And while the steering has little of the feel and verve you’ll see in, say, a Ford Focus, it has enough weight and is reasonably accurate. In any case, that 90bhp engine isn’t going to bring out the enthusiast in you. Or maybe it will: it feels more eager than its size and power would have you think, punting along easily and making use of its strong low-revs urge. It is also very, very good with fuel: promising better than 40mpg on short cross-town hops and touching 60mpg on longer journeys. It’ll cruise quietly at the motorway limit and, if you drop a gear has enough there to keep pace with other traffic while there.
If that’s not enough, its 120g/km of CO2 output makes for cheap road tax, and low tax bills, too, if you run it as a company car.
It’s a roomy car, an impression heightened by its big windscreen and glassy cabin, while its boot is mid-sized among rivals: a Focus’s is bigger, a Golf’s is smaller. As you’d expect the rear seats fold if you need extra space.
Should you buy one? Of course. Strong economy figures and low emissions make their own case as do its low price and generous equipment. For us, it ticks all the boxes.
- Engines1.6 diesel
- 0-60 mph14.1secs
- Insurance groups5E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: