- We like...Fuel economy, loping ride
- We don't...Not the roomiest of its kind
Modestly powered French hatchback works hard for the moneySometimes, less is more. And that’s where we are with this Peugeot 308. With just 90bhp to summon from its little 1.6 diesel, it’s the slowest of the range. And its ‘S’ level trim - next-but-cheapest-of-all – hints of being dull and basic. But it’s not like that at all.
Instead, it’s a cheerful little car. That diesel motor punts the car along happily, doling out a surprising – and welcome – helping of in-gear shove. The engine’s never silent but it putters sweetly unless you rev it hard, when it’ll turn clattery. But it’s best to keep its revs sensible and shift up through its five gears early.
Do that and you’ll make the most of its amazing fuel economy – at best, topping 60mpg across a mix of journeys. Such a relaxed style also sits well with the 308’s loping ride. In this area this model is noticeably good, because its steel wheels and deeper-walled tyres take the bumps better than the alloy rims and skinny-sided tyres fitted to dearer 308s. The steering is good but it dsn’t have that last tenth of precision you’ll find in a Ford Focus’s. But in a modestly powered car, it matters less than it might otherwise.
Inside and out, this car feels remarkably complete. Air conditioning is fitted as standard and it’s effective at chilling the cabin quickly. There’s a full set of electric windows and mirrors, while the dash and fabrics look smart and sober. There are no auto-on wipers or lights as you’ll find in dearer 308s, but that dsn’t bother us. Plastic covers sit on the wheels – a set of alloy rims cost extra – but what’s there looks fine.
It's not that spacious inside but there's room for five grown-ups and the boot is well-shaped.
At a couple of hundred quid short of £15,000, this is no steal – and a petrol-powered 308 is £1500 cheaper. But it is the most economical of the range and also the one with the lowest C02 figure – its 120g/km will soon be ‘green’ enough to qualify for road tax of just £20 per year. Still, unless you put huge distances under its tyres, you’d need a couple of years to pass before you’d recoup the extra.
Is it a good buy? Well, a similar diesel Volkswagen Golf is £700 dearer and uses more fuel. But then the VW will loses a smaller percentage of its value over its first three years, so it’s neck-and-neck all told. We’d take the Golf – but it’s so close that you should test-drive both and pick whichever takes your fancy.
- Engines1.6 HDi
- 0-60 mph12.8sec
- Insurance groups5
Motors.co.uk value verdict: