Peugeot 308 (2014) Review
Peugeot 308 (2014) At A Glance
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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.
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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.