Peugeot 308 (2014) Review

Peugeot 308 (2014) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The margins in the family hatchback class are extremely tight, and in many respects, the 308 is still very competitive. Find an early one that’s come down a lot in price and you could have a bit of a bargain on your hands.

+Some truly brilliant engine choices including impressive 1.2 Puretech petrol, large family-friendly boot, interior looks and feels posh, five star Euro NCAP rating.

-Fiddly infotainment system and awkward driving position, tight passenger space in the back, standard safety kit could be more generous, increasing number of 1.2 PureTech engine problems.

New prices start from £24,114
Insurance Groups are between 9–29
On average it achieves 72% of the official MPG figure

The Peugeot 308 does really well in some areas, with a big boot, a posh interior and several engines that provide a brilliant blend of performance, efficiency and refinement. It’s pretty good to drive, too, with decent ride comfort and stable, assured handling. However, an awkward driving position, a fiddly infotainment system and tight rear passenger space count against it, as does the fact that more of the safety kit available should be standard-fit. A very solid choice when compared to rivals like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, if not the most well-rounded.

The great British public loves a hatchback, and year after year, that’s proved beyond all doubt in the sales charts.

And when it comes to the humble hatchback, few firms have a history as illustrious as Peugeot. Cars like the 205, 106 and 306 are still held up as desirable classics today, while even the ones that weren’t quite as good - we’re looking at you, 206 - turned out to be smash hits in terms of the numbers sold.

It has to be said, though, that there was a period when the French manufacturer lost its way, especially with its midsize offerings. The 307 and the first-generation 308 were unutterably dull contraptions, especially considering what had gone before, with very few points of merit to mark them out against the legion of very talented - and no less affordable - rivals.

In 2014, however, an all-new 308 was introduced that changed the game for Peugeot. Here was a car with real glamour. Here was a car with real desirability. Here was a car that was interesting. And for all the virtues that rivals had, there weren’t many cars in the class that could make the same claim.

The reason? Well, the looks, mainly. For the time, the 308 looked smart and chic in equal measure, while on the inside, the mixture of unconventional minimalist design and impressively high-grade materials gave a hugely classy feel. We may be several years down the line now, but even by current standards, the 308’s interior still looks impressively sharp.

It did other things well, too. The engine range contained some absolutely stunning low-capacity petrol and diesel offerings that defied belief with their mix of performance, efficiency and refinement, while the boot was also (and still is) one of the biggest in the class.

It was pretty good to drive, too, with a comfortable ride and impressive all-round rolling refinement, although now it’s a bit long in the tooth, the 308 has been caught up - and in many cases passed - by newer rivals.

Granted, there were things it didn’t do so well. Many will struggle to get to grips with its unconventional driving position, while rear space is tight by class standards.

And while safety standards were fine back in 2014, there are several items of safety equipment - such as automatic emergency braking - that remain on the options list to this day that most rivals give you as standard. Still, at least most other luxury kit is present-and-correct.

Ask Honest John

My daughter wants a diesel hatchback. Can you recommend a used model?
"My daughter's leased MINI is coming up for renewal but she's leaning towards buying a 2 or 3-year-old car, with a diesel Golf in mind. Diesel due to her business travel of between 15k-20k miles per year. She likes the higher-spec cars, manual gearbox, preferably a five-door as a bit more space is best suited and for her black labrador who goes in the boot. Which model would be best suited and which models should she avoid? What insurance rating would the said model(s) be? Would servicing be similar on all models? What similar other car/model may be a good match for the Golf as mentioned? Many thanks in advance."
Sounds like a sensible choice for that kind of mileage. The 2.0 TDI would be the best bet - very efficient yet punchy enough for motorway driving. The 1.6 TDI is pretty good, too, although isn't quite as powerful as the 2.0-litre. Servicing on a diesel Golf should be relatively affordable, no matter which model your daughter chooses. This should give you an idea of insurance groups: (It's worth getting some quotes, though, as insurance groups don't always mean a great deal). We'd also recommend a SEAT Leon (it's very similar to the Golf and shares engines) as well as the Peugeot 308 and Hyundai i30 (particularly the latest model, which went on sale in 2017).
Answered by Andrew Brady
What car would you recommend for a long commute?
"My Daughter has a new job that involves a 110-mile per day commute, mostly motorway. She'd like an automatic. Economy is important as well as safety and reliability. We have a budget of up to £12,000. What would you recommend? Thank you."
We'd recommend a Hyundai i30. The latest model is within budget, with the very efficient 1.6 CRDi engine and reliable automatic gearbox. It'll have the remainder of Hyundai's five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. Also consider a Peugeot 308 with the 1.5 BlueHDi engine and automatic gearbox.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Do I need headlight beam deflectors for driving in France?
"I'm driving to Italy from the UK in my 2016 Peugeot 308. I will have to drive through France and Switzerland. Do I need to apply headlight beam deflectors or not? The car has a fitted manual adjustment regulator like most cars nowadays. Would manual adjustment be sufficient. Many thanks."
You are required by law to carry the following items: Reflective jackets – one for each occupant, these must be kept inside the vehicle within easy reach, warning triangle, headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually), breathalyser/alcohol test, spare bulbs are recommended but not mandatory, snow chains may also be needed in some areas during winter. These areas will be indicated by signs and are compulsory, so it is worth having them in your car if you’re visiting during winter. The AA have a Europe Driving Kit with it all in for about £22:
Answered by Georgia Petrie
I want a stress-free alternative to all the Japanese/Korean cars I've owned. What do you suggest?
"I'm starting to get bored of all the fantastically reliable Japanese/Koreans cars which have shuffled me from A-B for decades. I'm finally willing to let the standards slip a little but so many cars seem to suffer common faults. I need something petrol or hybrid, reliable and not over 10 years old within an £8000 budget. Volkswagen offerings are a write off, similarly with Ecoboost and Powershift dilemnas. I'm aware that plenty of revisions came around but these fall out of budget. BMW doesn't seem to have released anything reliable (within budget) for over a decade. I don't seem to hear much about Mercedes-Benz compared to the others but I don't know much about them. I've noticed Peugeot's 1.2 PureTech suggested by yourselves quite often - which is interesting. I'd have to know which transmission pairing makes for a solid bet I suppose, and it would be perfect if it had a bit more pull to be honest. What's your take?"
Used premium cars like those sold by Mercedes-Benz and BMW could prove expensive to run as they get older. Do you have any requirements for practicality? A Volkswagen Golf could be a good option if you fancy a change from Japanese/Korean cars. Yes, the DSG gearboxes are known to be problematic, but regular oil changes (every 40k miles) should prevent any issues. The latest Peugeot 308 is a really underrated alternative, available with the 1.2-litre PureTech engine you've mentioned. The EAT6 automatic gearbox is very good, too - with fast changes and a reputation for reliability.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Peugeot 308 (2014) cost?