The new generation of the Peugeot 308 has been awarded with the European Car of the Year in 2014, managing to beat the Tesla Model S, the BMW i3 and others, so this is already telling us that there has been a gigantic leap from the previous version of the compact vehicle.
But is it really better than a Golf, a Focus, a Megane or an Astra? Well, specialists are saying that it is, and we simply cannot argue with them.
Engine and Transmission
This particular model is making use of a 1.2 liter petrol turbocharged engine. This is capable of putting down a total output of 130 HP and it has a peak torque of 230 Nm. It may not sound that impressive but let’s not forget that the older 1.2 liter engines were considered to be worthy of powering a fridge, so squeezing that much power from one, even with a turbocharger, cannot be ignored. And let’s not forget either the fact that the 308 has been designed for small families and it is aimed towards the urban environment, so having 130 HP at your disposal, along with 230 Nm of torque, is something.
The engine feels wonderful to drive and you don’t need too much experience to tell that it is brand new. Revving it close to the red zone has made me lift an eyebrow and I couldn’t tell if the sound made was sent through the speakers and filtered by a special system or was actually the real deal. No sense in asking Peugeot officials on it because they are all saying that this is the real sound of the petrol burner. So we cannot really complain in this chapter. Power is being sent to the FWD through a 6-speed manual transmission, in this case, with low ratios and an easy gear change, so this is a an example of “you are getting exactly what you are paying for”, a wonderful little engine and a good gearbox.
Peugeot says that this version of the new 308 generation is eating 5.9 liters of fuel in the city, 4.0 liters on the highway and an average of 4.7 liters. As you already know by now, in the real world things tend to be different. Push the throttle too hard and you will see a fuel consumption of 11.6L / 100km in the city. On the highway, at a cruising speed of 130 km/h, the trip computer indicated 6.6L / 100km burned. You can achieve the official figure of 4.0 liters / 100km but that means to drive it in sixth gear at 60 / 70 km/h and to turn the climate control off.
The 2015 Peugeot 308 is a surprisingly comfortable vehicle. The suspension has been tuned for city driving and this is really a huge success over cars developed on the track. It has nice cornering abilities and, in this configuration, understeer will come quite late, so you can take it for a spin on a mountain road if you know that you’re doing. The steering is instant and you constantly know what each wheel is doing. The braking system is specifically good too and if I was to compare it with something, this would definitely be the Renault Megane GT Line, which I’ve driven here, but don’t forget the fact that this had an advantage, that brilliant updated chassis.
The 308 looks and feels brand new. And it is. You get a new layout for the dashboard which has nothing in common with its successor, a small and flat bottomed steering wheel with accent stitching on it and some controls, a large touch screen display which is acting as the infotainment center and also replacing the buttons for the dual-zone climate control, This is leaving the rest of the dashboard with a clean and minimalistic look and this is obviously a good thing. A weird touch has been done to the instrument cluster where the rev indicator and the speedometer have been reversed and this will take some time to get used to.
Another thing which I’ve found tricky was the cruise control knob and this will also take some time to get used to. The seats are comfortable but I expected something even better considering the fact that we are talking about the 2014 European Car of the Year and in fact these seem very similar to the ones on the 301. There is enough space in the cabin for five adults and the carmaker has thought about everything, from cup holders to storage spaces, so nothing really to complain about here. The black finish for just about every surface, along with the chrome add-ons, are giving the 308 a sporty feel. However, the quality of some plastic is not that brilliant and you can see that this will become a problem in the future.
Likes / Dislikes
I personally enjoyed the turbocharged engine, the good gearbox, the excellent suspension system and the handling of the new 308. The exterior design is quite appealing and the same can be said on the cabin too. The raised instrument cluster is a drawback, along with the reversed dials and the quality of some plastics. Overall, for the money you will get a lot of “car” which is highly maneuverable, comfortable and nicely equipped so if you are looking for a compact hatchback, you should definitely take the 308 for a short test drive before making up your mind.
The new Peugeot 308 has been awarded with a 5-star safety rating by Euro NCAP with 92 percent in Adult Occupant, 79 percent in Child Occupant, 64 percent in Pedestrian Safety and 81 percent in Safety Assist.
Peugeot 308 1.2L PureTech Turbo S&S 130 HP Active
Engine: 1.2L petrol (1,199 cc)
Power: 130 HP (96 kW) at 5,500 rpm
Torque: 230 Nm (170 lb-ft) @ 1,750 rpm
Transmission: manual, 6-speed
Dimensions: length 4,253 mm, width 1,804 mm, height 1,457 mm
Weight: 1,090 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 53L
Trunk Capacity: 470L
Top Speed: 207 km/h
Price: Tested Car – 20,400 EUR
4.5 / 5