Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • 10-inch infotainment system is very clever
  • Seats are firm but supportive
  • Driving position will divide opinion

How is the quality and layout?

Peugeot has done an excellent job of nailing together the 308’s interior. Quality is on par with that of the Mazda 3 and far superior to the Volkswagen Golf, with plenty of soft-touch plastics, trendy fabric trim panels on the dashboard and sturdy switchgear. It feels like a very solid car indeed – and it’s a big step up from the previous-generation model.

The driving position leaves a lot to be desired, though. It’s appalling if you’re taller than five foot 10 inches. The seats have been mounted too high and the steering wheel’s highest position is far too low. The wheel is also too small and doesn’t have a large enough gap between the airbag and the upper rim to allow you to see the gauge cluster through it. Note that shorter drivers might see this as less of an issue.

The most comfortable driving position our six foot tester found was with the seat in its lowest position and the wheel at its highest – but with those settings, the wheel completely obscured the gauge cluster, so we had no idea how fast we were driving. This forces you to set the wheel to a much lower position, which flags up an equally irritating issue. If you’re braking while turning at a junction, for example, your hands hit your knees and you can’t get around the corner.

All of these problems could be fixed if Peugeot simply fitted a conventionally shaped steering wheel and seat adjusters that allow for more vertical travel. But, with its current setup, you might find the 308 uncomfortable to live with – so we strongly recommend getting a long test drive to check whether the unconventional seating layout suits your body shape.

Infotainment and technology

Peugeot claws back a lot of brownie points here, because the 308’s infotainment system is a real cracker. The new 10-inch screen is much faster and far crisper than the smaller units used on the company’s older models – and the brand’s i-Toggle widget bar underneath the touchscreen is very useful.

It allows the driver to set five shortcuts to any of the infotainment system’s functions by simply long-pressing one of the widgets. They can be as functional or as trivial as you like – meaning you can have a widget that tunes the radio to your favourite station or a dedicated button that programmes the sat-nav to take you to your local kebab shop.

Like most manufacturers these days, Peugeot has buried most of the 308’s cabin functions in the touchscreen, including the climate controls and the settings for the driver assistance technology. However, this isn’t such a concern as there are physical shortcut buttons to the most commonly accessed functions under the iToggle menu, which are easy to use.

Comfort

It’s a mixed bag here, as well. Strange driving position aside, the 308’s seats are comfortable and supportive. Every model features a lumbar support setting for the driver’s seat, while more expensive variants gain thigh support and rake adjustability for the seat base.

The flagship GT Premium model comes with a wider pair of sports seats, trimmed in unusual petrol blue leather upholstery. They look great, but they affect the driving position as both seats have been mounted further towards the centre of the cabin to make them fit. That means the steering wheel isn’t quite in front of you, which is uncomfortable on a long drive.

Peugeot has also made the 308’s suspension a little too firm for the car’s purpose. It’s not a sporty hatchback, but the springs are quite harsh and the damping isn’t supple enough, which can make the car feel uncomfortable on a bumpy back road. 

Because it’s so stiff, the 308’s suspension crashes into potholes and expansion joints rather than gliding over the top of them, as the dampers can’t extend quickly enough to absorb jolts. It settles down well on the motorway, though. The estate is also slightly more comfortable thanks to its longer wheelbase.