What is the Peugeot 308?
The Peugeot 308 is a family car. Now in its second generation (codenamed T9), it’s also the spiritual successor to earlier Peugeots in this class, including the Peugeot 307 and Peugeot 306.
Rival models include the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra, Renault Megane, Hyundai i30, Kia Ceed and SEAT Leon.
The 308 is available in a wide range of models, with a promising selection of efficient engines and trim levels that span from basic to high performance.
It also has a very individual interior design, which gives the 308 a unique twist on the typical family car driving experience.
- Top speed: 116-155mph
- 0-62mph: 6.0-11.8 seconds
- Fuel economy: 37.8-63.8mpg
- Emissions: 92-148g/km CO2
- Boot space: 470-1,775 litres
Which versions of the Peugeot 308 are available?
The previous generation model also came as the 308 CC coupe-convertible, but Peugeot has – probably sensibly – declined to continue this variant.
The SW estate is one of the biggest-booted vehicles in its class, and therefore an excellent choice if you’re after maximum practicality.
Both the hatch and estate come in a good range of trim levels and with a choice of up-to-date turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.
Both also get the 308 GT specification, which is a kind of warmed-over performance trim level offered with a choice of powerful petrol and diesel engines, and equipped with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
But only the hatchback is available as a full blown GTi – on which more below.
What is the Peugeot 308 GTi?
The 308 GTi is the hot hatch performance version of Peugeot’s family car range, competing against the likes of the VW Golf GTI, Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus ST.
It’s powered by a turbocharged petrol engine that produces a faintly ludicrous 260hp from just 1.6-litres – although this is actually a rationalisation of two previous versions sold simultaneously that offered a choice of 250hp and 270hp, so it isn’t as stressed as it apparently could be.
The 10hp drop over the old 270hp model is due to the latest WLTP emissions and fuel economy requirements.
- We ran a long-term test review of the Peugeot 308 GTi – find out how we got on
Regardless, it goes without saying that the 308 GTI is a fast car – 0-62mph takes 6.0 seconds and top speed is 155mph.
But it’s also a very exciting one, with particularly sharp steering and a very positive, grippy front end thanks to the standard-fit mechanical limited slip differential.
Peugeot 308 styling and engineering
From the outside, the Peugeot 308 is sleek but – with the exception of the bonkers two-tone ‘coupe franche’ paint job available on the GTi – generally quite ‘generic hatchback’ to look at.
On the inside, however, the 308 deploys Peugeot’s unconventional iCockpit interior design, which includes a tiny steering wheel, high-set instrument cluster and a touchscreen that incorporates many (some would say too many) of the secondary controls.
This is the sort of thing you will either love or hate, so it’s well worth taking an extensive test drive. Either way, it’s nice to see a carmaker trying to be innovative.
The 308 is based on the Peugeot-Citroen EMP2 platform, which means it shares components with a diverse number of other vehicles, including the Citroen C4 Picasso MPV, the Peugeot Expert and Partner vans, and the DS 7 Crossback and Vauxhall Grandland X SUVs.
Is the Peugeot 308 good to drive?
How much you enjoy the Peugeot 308’s driving experience is likely to directly correlate with how much you like the iCockpit interior design – as the small steering wheel not only dictates your driving position it also makes the car as a whole feel darty and nimble.
Ride comfort is among the best available in this class of car, with 308 happily soaking up bumps that will upset many rivals. Yet it’s also very composed in the corners – as ride/handling compromises go, Peugeot has delivered a very good one.
Less good are the manual gearboxes, which typically manage to feel notchy and vague simultaneously; the eight-speed automatic option (which replaced an older and lethargic six-speed auto) works very well, but is limited to the more powerful engines.
How much does the Peugeot 308 cost?
Pricing is reasonable for the car and kit you get, but not exceptional – Peugeot is trying to position itself as the French Volkswagen in terms of image, which partially explains this, but it has a little way to go in terms of interior quality before we’ll be ready to accept that proposition.
Similarly, our Finance Editor describes 308 finance deals as typically mediocre, though it can vary between specific models, and 0% APR offers aren’t unheard of.
Want to find out what other buyers think? Read our comprehensive Peugeot 308 owners' reviews.
Peugeot 308 Model History
First-generation Peugeot 308 (2007-2013)
The Mk1 Peugeot 308 (known as the T7) first went on sale in 2007, replacing the previous 307 model, which had in turn replaced the 306; so the fact we’ve now had a second-generation 308 shows a shift in Peugeot’s traditional naming practices.
At the time, the original 307 was praised for the quality of its interior and its engines – especially the economical diesel options – but criticised for carrying over too much engineering from the 307.
This manifested itself in an unsettled and occasionally harsh ride, bland looks, and a general impression that it was lagging behind newer and more stylish rivals.
It was considered okay to drive, if a little over-assisted and uninvolving, but Parkers rated the five-speed gearbox poor at the time, and it’s unlikely to have improved much if you’re looking at used example with several thousand miles on the clock.
Like the current 308, this model was available as a spacious hatchback and voluminous estate car – but also the 308 CC, a folding metal hard-top convertible. This was never a pretty car, and lacked the driving spirit of the smaller 207 CC. And it’s probably best avoided used due to the complex and leak-prone roof mechanism.
Find out what buyers think by viewing our comprehensive owner’s reviews, and browse through hundreds of examples for sale.