- New Peugeot 308 is European car of the year 2014
- We pick the best from the range for company car drivers
- Choice of hatch and estate, diesel or petrol and four trim levels
Of late Peugeot has enjoyed a fortune of hits and misses; The 205 defined a sector, the 306 one of the best handling cars in its class and the RCZ the most daring mainstream car available, while the 307 never reached its potential, the 607 a complete flop and the 1007 a supermini that failed to capture anyone’s hearts (despite the clever doors).
But now there’s a new 308, and it’s not only Peugeot that is confident about its abilities – it won European Car of the Year 2014, beating off some stiff competition that included the BMW i3, Skoda Octavia, Citroen C4 Picasso, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Mazda 3. With good reason too – the Peugeot 308 is one of the sharpest to drive, best looking, generously-equipped and value for money hatchback’s the firm has offered in the last decade.
There is of course a massive range to choose from, so deciding on the perfect 308 for your needs can be a little daunting. To make it easier we’ve scoured the Parkers facts and figures, reviews and road tests to ensure we help you pick the star of the range – mixing low running costs, generous equipment levels and strong performance to keep monthly bills low but your time on the road as pleasurable as possible.
There’s no three-door hatchback to choose from anymore, so your only options are the five-door hatchback or the excellent estate; and there’s little efficiency penalty for choosing the latter. If you need the extra practicality its 660-litre boot (the hatchback musters ‘just’ 470-litres) and 11cm longer wheelbase offers over that hatchback it’s worth considering – just remember the P11D value is approximately £1,000 more than the equivalent five-door.
For most the hatchback will prove practical enough, which simply leaves a choice of trim and engines – and any extra options you feel you just can’t do without.
Choose the entry-level Access model and standard specification is acceptable including Bluetooth, DAB Radio, Cruise control, air-conditioning and a USB port, but may not be quite what is expected from those that spend so much time behind the wheel. For that you’ll need to upgrade to the Active model, which adds a 9.7-inch colour touchscreen sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and 16-inch alloy wheels. An Allure or Feline spec 308 would be nice, but save for a reversing camera, panoramic glass roof or half leather interior add little of real use considering the extra cost.
The firm has just recently added an effective and efficient three-cylinder petrol to the line up, which emits less than 110g/km but produces 127bhp, which is smooth, flexible, refined and quiet. Those numbers almost stack up enough, especially when you consider there’s no diesel surcharge to pay with this engine.
However, the French company has always been something of a diesel master, and the other latest offering in the range is the BlueHDi diesel. The 1.6-litre version produces 118bhp, but emits only 82g/km, and offers brisk performance and up to 91.1mpg. Even if you don’t match that figure in the real world, a number close to 70mpg is likely and that means busy workers can travel around 800-miles between fill ups.
With a 2014/15 BIK tax band of only 14 percent, and a P11D value of £19,040 that means users will pay just £44 a month for the privilege. And when you can get so much car, for so little money, there really is only one choice to go for.