Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Should you buy a Peugeot 308?

It's good, but you can do better. With this 308 the French manufacturer is back on form, and it's much better than its predecessors. It's sharply styled with good interior quality, competitive running costs and practicality, so it will appeal to family buyers as one of the leading medium family hatchbacks you can buy. Its a crowded market, and while the Ford Focus is still the best to drive, the Kia Ceed is a brilliant all-rounder and the Volkswagen Golf still has enviable build quality, this 308 isn't that far behind on all counts.

The quality of this new generation 308 is much improved and all models are well-equipped 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.

Allure and Active are likely to be the most popular models to go for, 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 Tech Edition is designed to appeal to company car drivers.

>>Thinking about the Peugeot 308 as a company car? Read about the Tech Edition here

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. You can only have the most powerful diesel in GT trim level anyway, which may limit its appeal - especially as this 2.0-litre BlueHDI 180 is only fitted with an automatic gearbox.

Car buyers covering 12,000 miles or less should consider a petrol engine with the 1.2-litre version proving frugal, while the 1.6-litre offers better performance. For rock bottom CO2 and BIK bills, though, the 1.5-litre BlueHDi in Active trim is still hard to beat, with both power outputs emitting 119g/km when fitted with the manual gearbox.

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. A general shifting trend away from diesel means a PureTech petrol will probably be easier to sell on, too, especially in a higher trim with attractive driver assistance tech options added.

It won’t appeal to all, but we also think the 308 GTi is one of the best of the hot hatchbacks on the market with its powerful engine and engaging handling. The grippy front differential offers great driver involvement and the under-the-radar styling gives it stealth-fighter appeal.

So, back to the original question – would we recommend a 308? Yes, especially if you like the low-slung driving position, positioning of the dials, and the way it looks. But if all that leaves you nonplussed, then head straight towards a Ford Focus or Kia Ceed, and don't look backwards…

Further reading:

>> Looking for a used 308? We go through the models you can choose from

>> Need a bigger boot? Try the 308 SW estate

>> Looking for something bigger? Try the 3008 SUV