- Small wheel and high set dials won’t appeal to all
- Clutter free cabin thanks to touchscreen functionality
- Whether you like it or not, it’s at least a different approach
Two things strike you immediately when you nestle into the 308’s driver’s seat: the small steering wheel and minimalist dash layout. It feels strange at first but we find it not only refreshingly different but it helps you to enjoy the driving experience all the more for the direct steering.
The touchscreen is fiddly to use while driving – and a little slow to respond on earlier cars – and since it takes a while to find the function (air-con, sat-nav, audio) we're after, having some physical buttons and knobs would make it easier.
Similarly, the unusual driving position won’t suit everyone – some people find it off-putting looking over the wheel to see the speedo and anticlockwise-sweeping rev counter.
Updates in 2017 brought a more responsive screen, which helps to cut down the number of frustrating jabs and missed button pushes. We hoped the facelifted 308 might have adopted the 3008’s (slightly) increased number of physical switches but the majority of the controls remain virtual.
Uplifted GTi cabin
The main addition for the sportiest 308 is yards of red detailing – with stitching on the seats, door cards, gearshift gaiter and floor mats. There's a red strip on the steering wheel, too.
Switching to sport mode makes the instrument panel and dash elements go red, and also unlocks the facility to show power, turbocharger boost and torque output in real-time. There’s a G-force meter too, so you can see how much grip the car is generating while cornering quickly.
- Good balance of comfort and handling
- Pliant suspension soaks up ruts and bumps
- Firmer edge to GTi, but still comfy
We were impressed by the Peugeot 308 in terms of comfort, whether stuck in a traffic jam or tackling a non-stop three-hour drive to the airport.
Front seats come with manual adjustment (there is the option of electrically powered control) and the steering wheel is adjustable for both rake and reach, so that enabled us to find a comfortable position easily.
The unusually small diameter steering wheel and position does feel odd at first, but you quickly get used to it and the sensation of a sharpened-up response is very enjoyable.
The centrally-mounted screen in the dash is also angled towards the driver making it even easier to read. Also because the touchscreen controls the car’s central functions there are very few buttons visible, so no clutter to tire the eyes as you search for the control you are after.
Peugeot has also provided a great compromise between ride comfort and handling. Over rough, city roads the suspension does a good job of absorbing the dips and bumps, and only the very large potholes deliver a hard knock to the car. Out on twisty roads enthusiastic cornering has the car turning with alacrity and holding a steady line through a bend, even at speed.
Firmer GTi version
A few differences to note in terms of comfort here. The GTi features suspension lowered by 11mm and bigger wheels than the mainstream 308, but it still rides well, leaning more towards cornering performance than outright comfort.
The front sports seats provide extra side support for cornering and feature a massage function for added comfort on longer journeys.
A synthesised engine noise is played through the speakers in the car when you press the sport button too although it’s quite loud and can sound odd to some.