If keeping bills low is a concern then the 1.2-litre PureTech 110 makes a lot of sense – it offers almost diesel-like running costs but is cheaper to buy in the first place.
For rock bottom CO2 and BIK bills look no further than the 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130, with 93g/km it should keep the environment and your fleet manager happy.
Finally, the GTi offers the best outright pace and driver involvement thanks to its powerful engine and engaging handling.
Peugeot 308 models we've tested
Peugeot 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport 1.6 THP 270
(Tested: November 2017)
Volkswagen sells thousands of Golf GTI hot hatches in the UK each year, but in the 18 months since it was launched, Peugeot has only sold 600 308 GTis. When its rivals also include the Ford Focus RS and latest Honda Civic Type R, and with a new Renault Megane RS due by the end of 2017, that puts it in a tight spot.
One made even tighter by the fact Peugeot hasn’t made this new, facelifted 308 GTi any faster or more powerful…
Is there anything new about this 308 GTI?
Peugeot reckons it’s good enough already, and doesn’t want to move it out of the sweet spot it’s made for itself in the market. It’s very much a direct rival for the VW Golf GTI, which is £385 more but 50hp down on power.
Both, in the context of be-winged rivals like the Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R, feel rather old school in an unassuming kind of way - though the Coupe Franche two-tone paintjob does help the 308 stand out a little.
You wouldn’t necessarily know either was a hot hatch just from a glance, but then both have the power to entertain, and chassis that are supple and compliant rather than about locked-down control at all costs.
How does it drive?
Very well. The Peugeot goes one better than the Golf GTI, because it can play that role, but then it also has a Torsen limited-slip differential that sends torque to the front wheel with the most traction to pull you out of corners, powerful 380mm Alcon front brake discs that offer strong retardation, and sticky 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
The differential works incredibly well in corners, but on a damp road you can find the steering wheel tugging left and right under acceleration. This coupled with the small steering wheel means you end up having to work quite hard to keep it going in a straight line.
A Golf GTI with the Performance pack, which adds a similar differential along with power and brake improvements atop the standard car, manages the transition between softer road-going family vehicle and screaming hot hatch far better. The 308's mechanical parts haven't changed during the facelift, though.
We found the engine note too muffled during normal driving considering this is a performance hatchback, but pushing the Sport button improves this markedly along with adding weight to the steering and livliness to the engine's response.
Has Peugeot changed the 308 GTi at all?
It has. For a start, the lesser-powered 247bhp model is no longer available due to a lack of demand – besides the power difference, it did without the clever differential, the bigger brakes and the 19in alloy wheels. The price differential was £1,600.
On the sole model that remains, this 270hp version, the bonnet, front bumper and black grille are new, while the LED headlights and rear lights have updated in line with revisions to the rest of the facelifted Peugeot 308 range.
The sharper 9.7-inch touchscreen now features sharper graphics and TomTom 3D navigation but it’s still not a class-leading system, and it will frustrate you when you have to use it to change the cabin temperature when a simple dial would be so much easier.
We also found that the processor in the multimedia system struggled with switching between its menus, too, making for an irritating lagginess that quickly got annoying.
Should I buy one?
Ten years ago ‘GTi’ was a dirty word at Peugeot as the French marque sought to do away with its hot hatches. Thankfully there was an abrupt about-turn, because we’re now getting great cars like the 308 GTi. This facelifted version doesn’t drive any differently to its predecessor, and is all the better for that.
Peugeot 308 PureTech 130 Allure (Tested November 2017)
It would be hard to describe the mid-life changes for the 308 as comprehensive. From the side and the rear, it’s no different; with only very subtle changes made at the front to differentiate it from the pre-facelift car.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as the 308 is a handsome hatchback with classy looks and plenty of kerb appeal.
Go for Allure trim like we’re testing here and you get a set of bright LED lights with sharp LED daytime running lights and scrolling indicators at the front A set of big alloy wheels complete the look. It still looks fresh, despite being a very minor update. It’s worked well then.
Inside, it’s a similar story, with no difference over the old model - at least to look at. Peugeot’s i-Cockpit is present and correct, with a new infotainment system controlled by the touchscreen in the middle of the dash. The same frustrations remain, though, with climate control annoyingly operated through the screen, meaning you can’t just quickly up the temperature without looking. Careful prods are required to set the desired temperature.
It’s also a shame to see the new digital dial set-up from the 3008 and 5008 hasn’t made its way into the updated 308. Instead, the dials sit atop the dashboard and you look at them over the small steering wheel.
Some drivers will struggle with this set-up, while others will find it no issue at all. What will take some getting used to for some, is the smaller-than-usual steering wheel, but it helps to make the 308 feel more manoeuvrable and agile.
On the move, the PureTech 130 three-cylinder petrol engine is as lively as ever, and is much more refined in the 308 than in something like a DS 3 or Citroen C3. It’s a relaxed motorway cruiser, but the fun factor is a bit limited due to a very vague-feeling manual gearbox that responds better to slow, considered gearchanges than speedy ones.
That’s a shame as the 308 handles quite well, although the ride on larger wheels can feel unsettled, with larger bumps in the road really upsetting the car’s composure.
Then there’s the space. Up front there’s plenty of room for a tall driver and passenger (as long as you get on with the i-Cockpit set-up), and it’s light and bright thanks to the huge glass roof. The seats in our car are optional leather ones too, and are very comfortable indeed.
In the back, though, it’s a different story. Legroom is very limited, and there’s little space to put your feet. It’s even possible to get the seat so far back it leaves zero legroom whatsoever, which isn’t acceptable for a car bought by small families.
The 308 redeems itself with one of the largest boots in the segment, though, and it’s well-shaped and deep with easy access.
Allure trim is a good point in the range to pitch yourself though. It comes with a long list of standard equipment, including front and rear parking sensors, half leather seat upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, 9.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as automatic lights and wipers.
But even without these extras fitted, the 308 is good value and worth a look. It’s a much underrated small family hatchback that can do 90% of what a more expensive crossover can do. Just make sure the space offered inside is enough for you, and that you can live with the frustrating touchscreen-does-all set-up.
Peugeot 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport 1.6 THP 250
(Tested: September 2016)
‘This 308 stays true to its sensible hatchback roots’
There are some fantastic hot hatchbacks out there for performance enthusiasts to choose from, and the latest range of GTi models by Peugeot are proving competitive – including the more powerful 272hp version of the 308 GTi.
This however, is the 250hp 308 GTi, powered by a slightly detuned version of the same turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine.
The engine certainly impresses. A healthy 330Nm of torque is available from just 1,900rpm, so there’s a real sense of urgency when you floor the throttle – it’ll go 0-62mph in just 6.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 155mph.
It’s a very flexible engine, too. There’s power on tap in all gears and the GTi changes from relaxed motorway cruiser to exciting sports car in an instant. The only thing lacking from the engine is a spine-tingling soundtrack to go with the performance. What you get is more of a dull grumble than wailing engine note. The gearbox is precise, but with quite a long throw it doesn’t feel as engaging as some of its competitors.
Where the 308 GTi comes alive is in the corners. There’s an almost bewildering amount of grip – it takes some real provocation to get it to falter, while body control remains flat in the bends, too.
The steering takes a little getting used to though. It’s very direct, but the combination of this and the small steering wheel means you’ll find yourself turning into a corner a bit too hot until you get used to the set-up. Once you’ve mastered it though, you’re rewarded with a nimble-feeling car that makes very swift progress.
When you don’t want to be pushing on, the 308 stays true to its sensible hatchback roots with a pretty relaxed ride, despite being 11mm lower than the regular 308. The optional 19-inch alloys on our car (standard on the more powerful 270) make the ride a little jittery over rough surfaces, but overall things remain bearable and there’s not much wind, road or engine noise to contend with.
Peugeot 308 GT Line 1.2 PureTech 130
(Tested: July 2015)
‘In many ways GT Line makes more sense than the more expensive 308 GT’
It would be easy to discount the Peugeot 308 GT Line as a bit of a halfway house, a warm-hatch that is neither fast nor dazzlingly frugal. However, thanks to a clever engine that promises big thrills and small bills, plus a substantial saving over the hotter 308 GT, we think it could just be the hidden gem of the range.
Peugeot’s 1.2-litre petrol engine promises the power of a traditional 1.6-litre unit with much better fuel economy – a claimed 58.9mpg – thanks to its three cylinders and turbocharger. You can have it with 110hp or 130hp, and we’ve got the more powerful version on test.
Sprinting from 0-62mph takes 10.3 seconds, but in practice it feels faster as 95% of its torque (230Nm) is available between 1,500 and 3,500rpm.
The engine in our car felt more characterful and rewarding on a windy road than the fuller-fat GT. It needs to be kept on the boil with lots of gear changes but is a more involving experience for it. There’s lots of grip from the big wheels and an overwhelming feeling that you’re going a lot faster than you should in a car with a 1.2-litre engine.
In many ways the GT Line car makes more sense than the more expensive 308 GT, particularly to fleet drivers. It’s cheaper to buy, and its excellent engine means you can have 90% as much fun without the associated costs. Plus, you can spec it up to the point where it looks and feels almost exactly the same as its bigger brother, and still save money.
Peugeot 308 GT 1.6 THP 205
(Tested: May 2015)
‘Brisk maybe, but truly engaging? No’
French manufacturers know a thing or two about how to make an appealing hot hatchback so provenance alone bodes well for the 308 GT, especially following the firm’s return to form with the 208 GTi 30th Anniversary and RCZ-R.
Appetites are further whetted by the turbocharged 1.6-litre, 205hp engine nestled under the bonnet and complementary visual makeover.
Transforming the handsome but humble 308 hatchback into sportier GT form is a subtle undertaking – there are no outrageous spoilers or two-tone Coupe Franche paint job, as offered on the 30th Anniversary 208 GTi.
Instead the ride height’s been slightly lowered, the 18-inch alloy wheels are of a design unique to the GT and there are side sill extensions visually linking the front and rear rims.
Elsewhere the lion logo moves from the bonnet to the grille, the front indicators are the pulsing LED variety and at the back there’s a glossy black applique to the lower bumper with fake exhaust exits at either side.
Inside the changes are equally restrained, with scarlet stitching to the seats and trims and a Sport button behind the gearlever – press it and among other changes the instrument backlighting flicks from white to red.
For your £24,095 outlay you’re treated to massaging front seats, privacy glass and adaptive cruise control as highlights of its generous equipment roster, although our test car was additionally specced with a handful of options.
That THP turbo engine delivers the requisite briskness buyers expect from hotter hatchbacks, propelling the 308 GT up to 146mph. It’s a torquey motor too, with 285Nm available from just 1,750rpm, ensuring overtaking manoeuvres are quickly and safely dispatched; the sprint from 0-62mph takes 7.5 seconds.
What’s conspicuous by its absence is much in the way of aural drama – it doesn’t sound like a car that’s trying to excite you. Peugeot offers a remedy by synthesising an engine noise through the GT’s speakers in Sport mode – the problem is it sounds too fake, as though you're listening to a sports car on the radio.
If based on the 308 GT’s subdued appearance and swift but undramatic performance you’re hoping the Peugeot will redeem itself with wonderfully engaging handling characteristics then you’re likely to be disappointed.
Positively, the 308 GT rides surprisingly comfortably given the larger wheels combined with lowered, stiffened suspension; you won’t get on first name terms with your chiropractor if you choose one as it soaks up sharper ruts and elongated ripples with ease.
Peugeot 308 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 150 auto
(Tested: July 2014)
‘Auto gearbox and engine work well together’
Quick off the mark, the 2.0-litre diesel engine has 150hp on offer and, in this case, is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox (a six-speed manual is also available). The 0-62mph sprint is achieved in 8.6 seconds, which feels quicker than it sounds, and the auto gearbox and engine work well together, creating seamless gearchanges, except for the odd occasion when the car is warming up.
The 308 has shed 140kg over the previous generation and as a result feels light and agile on the road. It’s fun to drive, with light steering and manageable body roll in the corners.
Fuel economy is good too with an official combined figure of 68.9mpg. On test we managed around 55mpg in a variety of town and motorway driving which is still impressive. This isn’t the best performing 308 when it comes to CO2 emissions but at 107g/km it’s still impressively green. The 1.6-litre BlueHDi with 120hp however emits only 82g/km and is a popular choice for company car drivers.
Peugeot 308 Feline 2.0 BlueHDi 150
(Tested: June 2014)
‘Exceptionally well equipped’
A 308 BlueHDi really does allow customers to have their cake and eat as much of it as they want. It’s all down to its rich mixture of performance and economy.
On the one hand this 2.0-litre diesel engine produces 150hp, and 370Nm of torque – the latter on stream from just 2,000rpm – allowing for an official 0-62mph time of just 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 132mph. On the other hand, it emits just 105g/km and can return over 70mpg on the combined cycle. The 308 regularly returned over 50mpg in our hands.
It’s a relatively smooth engine too, while its mid-range punch ensures it always feels pleasantly brisk. Don’t expect the 308 to drive like a sports car though, despite our Feline model’s standard 18-inch wheels giving that very visual impression, as there’s some body roll in the bends. Driven particularly hard it can feel a little ragged, and the Peugeot is far more acceptable at sensible speeds.
In Feline specification, the Peugeot is exceptionally well-equipped, with dynamic cruise control, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, parking sensors, sat-nav, reversing camera, LED headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic glass roof, Alcantara and leather seats and keyless entry fitted as standard.
If you must have the 308 then consider the Allure model, which saves over £1,500 on the Feline’s list price but only loses out on the panoramic roof, Alcantara seat trim, keyless entry and the dynamic cruise control.
Peugeot 308 Feline 1.6 e-HDi 115
(Tested: November 2013)
‘Makes the cheaper model a compelling proposition’
We sampled the familiar 115hp 1.6-litre e-HDi diesel in flagship Feline form to judge its appeal at the pricier end of the family hatchback market.
At £21,745 (November 2013) the Feline model’s biggest problem is the mechanically identical Active version.
It costs over £3,000 less yet still comes with dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, electronic handbrake, automatic lights and wipers, and a 9.7-inch touchscreen display with integrated sat-nav. It makes the cheaper model a very compelling proposition.
Even the one-rung-down Allure includes full LED headlamps, electrically folding door mirrors, front parking sensors and a reversing camera.
All 308s have enjoyed a 140kg weight-saving over the previous-generation model meaning the familiar 115hp 1.6-litre e-HDi engine enjoys an economy boost with claimed efficiency figures of 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 95g/km.
Peugeot 308 hatchback model history
- October 2013 – Second-generation 308 on sale in the UK, with deliveries starting the following January. Priced from £14,495, the range consisted of Access, Active, Allure and Feline trim levels. Engines available are an 82hp 1.2-litre VTi petrol, a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol in 110 and 130hp forms and a 1.6-litre THP with either 125hp or 156hp. Diesels available are a 92hp 1.6-litre HDi, a 115hp 1.6 e-HDi, a 120hp 1.6 BlueHDi and 150hp 2.0 BlueHDi.
- October 2014 – GT Line replaces Feline trim, and comes with a choice of five PureTech or BlueHDi engines. Comes with the look of higher-spec GT models but with lower running costs, thanks to the smaller-capacity engine range. Sportium limited edition also added to the range, sitting between Access and Active, it’s introduced to promote the PureTech petrol engines.
- November 2014 – GT specification available to order, with first deliveries in January. Choice of 1.6 THP 205 petrol manual and 2.0 BlueHDi 180 diesel automatic powertrains, it comes with a slightly more sporty look with more aggressive bumpers, larger alloy wheels and sports front seats.
- November 2015 – Peugeot 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport added to the range, with a choice of 250hp or 272hp versions of the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine. 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
- May 2017 – Facelifted Peugeot 308 announced with first deliveries in September. Subtle tweaks to the styling and new infotainment system inside, plus the addition of a new 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 diesel engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox on BlueHDi 180 models.
- August 2018 - Tech Edition added to the range with equipment levels based on Allure model. Added safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking. Read more about the Tech Edition here
- Plenty of Peugeot dealers across the country
- A good deal should be easy to negotiate
- Attractive PCP finance offers and incentives
Buying a new Peugeot 308 hatchback
All models come with a central touchscreen, alloy wheels and air-con. Extras worth considering are the panoramic sunroof (standard on the range topping models), driver assistance pack for enhanced safety systems and, if you have kids glued to tablets, the 3G dongle that can provide wi-fi connection.
Car buyers covering 12,000 miles or less should consider a petrol engine with the 1.2-litre version proving must frugal, while the 1.5-litre offers better performance.
Buying a used Peugeot 308 hatchback
- Lots of choice out there, including ex-fleet
- Peugeot sold more top trims than base
- Bag a bargain but make sure you do your homework
There will be a lot of ex-fleet examples on the market especially if it’s a diesel. These are generally well looked after and serviced on time but check trim fit and finish, and look for any bumps or scrapes that haven’t be fixed.
The quality of this new generation 308 is much improved so second-hand prices are likely to be stronger. Make sure you shop around for the best deal.
Allure and Active are likely to be the most numerous, avoid buying the entry-level Access version unless it is bargain bucket cheap as it doesn’t come with the very useful central touchscreen or electric parking brake, plus it features steel wheels as standard. The Feline packs the most kit as standard.
Whichever one you go for make sure you check it out thoroughly, ask for a full service history and get a Parkers Car History Check.
Selling your Peugeot 308 hatchback
- No shortage of buyers for five-door hatchbacks
- Peugeot 308 looks modern and offers lots of tech
- Efficient PureTech petrol should be easy to shift
The Peugeot 308 is a sharply styled model with good interior quality, very competitive running costs and practicality, so it will appeal to family buyers.
A shifting trend away from diesel means a PureTech petrol will probably be easier to sell on, especially in a higher trim with attractive driver assistance tech options added.