- We like...Lots of gadgets, glass roof
- We don't...crashes across bumps
This 308 is good. But it can't quite cut it against a Ford Focus or a VW GolfWith the competition it faces, this car needs to wow you. If the Peugeot 308’s driving talents can’t have you grinning like a madman, it ought to surprise with its space, quality or value. But it dsn’t.
Some things do impress: it is safe, solidly made and packed with gadgets. There are six airbags on every model and, unlike older Peugeots, it feels rock-solid from new. What’s more, buy this SE model and there’s everything aboard, from rain-sensing wipers to auto-on headlamps, dual-zone climate controlled air conditioning to door mirrors that tuck themselves away whenever you park. Its party trick is a glass roof running from the front screen to the rear roof pillars. Pop a switch to slide back the roof lining and the sky looms into view.
But where Peugeots once rode smoothly and drove with verve, this one jars over bumps taken at urban speeds. Speed up and it improves, but never properly settles. The engine, a 1.6 petrol turbo, spins smoothly and is quick, but the pedals can be snatchy and the steering hasn’t that last tenth of precision we’d want. It’s a heavy car, and it feels it. Put it up against a VW Golf or a Ford Focus, and it falls short.
Inside the 308, there are little things that annoy. The driver’s seat back adjusts in steps via a lever, so you can never get just where you want it. Why don’t they fit an adjustment knob? There’s also a complicated diagram that lights to tell you whether passengers have fastened their belts. This is fine, except that it’s sited above the mirror, where it’s tricky to read.
The cabin is not that roomy, though there’s space for five adults. It all looks pretty good - heaps better than the 307 it replaced, but the plastics used in the glove box and between-the-seats storage look cheap and feel cheaper. The boot isn’t over-large, either: several rivals have bigger ones.
Peugeots are cheap to run and those with petrol engines need routine garage attention only once every two years or 20,000 miles. But savings made here are lost once you call to account the difference between what you’ll pay for a new one and what it’s worth after a three years of use. Where a Golf loses half its value over that period, a 308 might lose two-thirds.
Facing such a handicap, the Peugeot 308 can’t hope for more than what it is: an also-ran.
- 0-60 mph8.8sec
- Insurance groups13E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: