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New Peugeot 308 – a leap forward

Diesel Car‘s Ian Robertson’s first test of the 308 describes the appearance of the new model as a “landmark occasion for Peugeot,” not least for the fact it begins the definitive “08” designation for all future models.

New 308

Another reason is what he describes as a move away from the “tall architecture,” represented by the 307 and previous 308, to something “more in proportion” to its rivals’ design. He likes what he sees: “The result is a classier, sleeker and more cohesive design, but still remains roomy inside, with more than enough head room for six-footers both front and back.” Robertson considers the interior to be a “big leap forward,” appreciating the “improved quality, plush-feeling soft-touch mouldings and uncluttered, clean design”. He makes reference to the organisation of controls on the central touchscreen, something he considers “a brave move” but with an “easy to understand interface” that only takes “a few moments of familiarisation”.

“Anyone vaguely familiar with a smartphone will be using it in seconds,” he says.
He also highlights the anticlockwise calibration of the tachometer, a feature it feels “makes the design look a lot more cohesive”. Robertson continues: “One of the biggest attributes of the new 308 is the large boot, which is 40 litres larger than its predecessor and 90 litres larger than the Volkswagen Golf… It’s large, deep and wide and there’s extra storage space under the floor too. Folding the seats down opens the space up to an excellent 1,309 litres.”

Turning to the powertrain, he enthuses: “The 114bhp 1.6-litre e-HDi engine is an absolute peach in this installation, with a well muted sound, spirited performance and ability to trickle along in a high gear at low revs without objection. The stop-start system works unobtrusively, cutting the engine cleanly as you come to a rest and restarting effortlessly without any hint of vibration.”

The manual transmission has “nicely chosen” ratios with “torque in abundance” in the mid-range. “Thanks to the smaller wheel, the steering feels responsive and agile, and through bends there’s plenty of grip,” Robertson writes. “The suspension set-up is one of the real highlights of the 308, with a well-judged, comfortable ride that soaks up everything you throw at it. Long distance ability is impressive too, with wind, road and engine noise nicely suppressed to make it a
relaxed cruiser.”

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