This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Peugeot 308 Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The 95bhp mustered by the smallest 1.4 VTi engine in the 308 range feels just about enough to maintain momentum on the road. It will accelerate from 0-62mph in 14.3 seconds but often feels like it’s working very hard. We’d opt for the 120bhp 1.6-litre with 120bhp which is much more lively. Instead of a 2.0-litre engine at the top of the petrol range, there is a turbo-charged 1.6-litre (badged THP) developing 175bhp which offers far better fuel economy as well as moderately brisk acceleration – 0-62mph taking 8.3 seconds.

It’s not quite a hot hatch but features an excellent six-speed gearbox and is enjoyable to drive – a lower powered 150bhp version is also available. Peugeot is well-known for its diesel engines and the line-up in the 308 is impressive. The 90bhp 1.6 HDi is the entry-level engine and it’s relaxed offering good mid-range power. There’s also a 110bhp version of the same engine and this offers a great balance of accessible performance and exceptional fuel economy of 58mpg, making it our pick of the range.

The range-topping diesel is the 2.0 HDi with 136bhp which feels almost as brisk as the 1.6-litre THP but should achieve more than 45mpg. This was replaced by a more efficient 2.0 HDI with 140bhp in January 2010 which returns 47mpg. There’s also the addition of the new e-HDi model that offers a semi-automatic gearbox and stop/start to improve CO2 emissions and fuel economy.

Unfortunately the 308 is let down by a sloppy five-speed gearbox, however the 1.6 HDi 110, 2.0 HDi and 1.6THP 175 engines get a massively improved six-speed transmission.

The 308 is fine to drive, but doesn’t make the driver feel as connected to the car as in the Ford Focus. That said there’s a decent amount of grip making it composed through bends and comfortable on the motorway. The suspension can be a little fidgety over uneven roads but tight steering and grown up road manners make it capable, if not engaging. Body control is pretty good on twisty roads and the car has a general reassuring feel when you start to pick up speed.

The brakes respond well and electronic stability control is fitted as standard on all but the 1.4 petrol and 1.6 diesel engines, although it is optional on these cars.