The 308 – Peugeot’s replacement for the 307 model and available as a five-door hatch or ‘Touring’ (wagon) – competes head-to-head with global small car giants like Volkswagen (Golf), Fiat (Ritmo), Ford (Focus), GM (Astra) and Renault (Megane). There’s also the Toyota Corolla (the world’s best-selling car) to think about.
Realistically, here in Australia, the Peugeot’s direct rivals are the other European brands and in that context, the new model 308 deserves serious consideration. It’s high-tech, spacious, drives well and delivers thought-provoking value-for-money when compared with its Euro rivals.
Priced from $25,990, the new 308 offers a choice of the latest generation Peugeot engines which are good performers and environmentally conscious – two 1.6-litre petrol engines (turbo and non-turbo) – jointly developed by Peugeot and BMW, plus two diesels (1.6-litre and 2.0-litre).
Depending on the model, your transmission choices include: 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, 4-speed auto or 6-speed auto.
Externally, Peugeot has delivered a stylish look with all of the current contemporary features (including a high roof and sculptured bonnet, doors and rear panels). Toss-in the large front grille and Peugeot badge and you have ticked all of the boxes being favoured by today’s European designers. Styling if always personal, but in the opinion of the Car Showroom team, the 308 is the current style leader of the European hatchback team.
Inside the 308 has a distinct feeling of space which is admirable. XSE and XTE models can be optioned with leather trim ($2,900) and the XTE can even be ordered with premium leather trim for an extra $4,500. Satellite Navigation is a $3,600 option on XSE and XTE models (it’s a great system by the way) however steering wheel controls for the audio system etc are absent.)
In common with its Euro rivals, the 308 presents a stylish, ‘classical’ dashboard with a conventional threespoke steering wheel, and round instruments right in front of the driver.
As usual, Peugeot is amongst the front-runners when it comes to safety and the 308 scored a five-star rating from Euro-NCAP. All models come with six airbags and a seventh drive knee airbag is a $250 option on range-topping XSE and XTE models.
An ESP (Electronic Stability Program) is standard on XSE and XTE versions and can be ordered as a $450 option on XS models.