This Car Review Is About: Peugeot’s stylish contender in the small to mid size hatchback category, with the addition of a wagon. There is the entry Allure, a Touring (wagon), the GT-Line and GT, which disappeared from the Peugeot Au site in January and has been discontinued. The 308 itself is an attractive looking machine, but is it a city or highway car?How Much Is It?: The range starts at $30,499 for the Allure, and has $34,990 against the GT-Line as a drive-away price.
Under The Bonnet Is: Peugeot’s award winning engine at 1.2L of capacity, with three cylinders, a preference for petrol, and their EAT6 auto with eight ratios. Peak power is 96kW @5,500rpm, and a handy turbo-fed 230Nm @1,750Nm. It’s EURO6 emissions compliant at just 112 grams of CO2 per kilometre, and comes with Stop/Start tech. Peak economy is best seen on the highway, says Peugeot, where they quote 4.2L/100km. In the “burbs” they say 6.4L/100km, and the combined cycle is 5.0L/100km. Fuel tank size is 53.0L. This didn’t equate to our real world driving, as just 250km worth of city driving had the gauge reading at a half tank used. Our overall average finished at 7.7L/100km on our typical 70/30 urban to highway split.
On The Outside It’s: Typically French with good looks, svelte curves, and a hint of in-your-face assertiveness. It stands just 1,457mm in height yet is a proportionally longish 4,253mm, and spreads 1,553mm to 1,559mm in track. It’s low, long, and as a result, comes with an assertive road stance. There are the signature fins in the headlight assembly and the strip of LEDs for the indicators located in the “eyebrow” of the headlights.The rear lights feature another “Pug” signature, with the three strip “claw marks”. Wheels are alloys and painted a flat dark grey on sections of the wheel that give a ten spoke look. Rubber is, of course, Michelin, and are the super grippy Pilot Sport 3 at 225/40/Z18.
On The Inside It’s: Oddly, not quite as user friendly, in a couple of ways, as the Partner van. That has a better driver’s screen interface which is more accessible via the steering wheel tabs. In this 308 it was a button the right hand, wiper operating, stalk.
The button to deactivate the Stop/Start system, which is just that little bit too eager in the 308 GT-Line, is also more visible in the Partner.
Seats are cloth covered with leather type material on the wings, and metallic looking threads in the middle.The audio is AM/FM only, however a smartphone can be connected via USB or Bluetooth. It sits atop a dash with a defined W styling, and with minimal secondary controls.
This means using it necessitates eyes off the road as all main controls are on the exterior of the screen, and don’t always respond to a tap the first time whilst in motion.
Cabin plastics have a hard touch yet have a fine grain to the touch.
To start the 308, a press button Start/Stop system is employed, with the button in the centre console and for safety’s sake must be held for a second or so. The park brake comes on automatically when the doors are opened and although there is a setting to disengage it, it’s just as easy to start, then press it off as it’s right behind the Start button.
The indicator stalk is on the left hand side, with auto wipers engaged and disengaged by a dip of the right hand stalk. The wipers themselves aren’t terribly robust in motion.Airvents are thin horizontally and the touchscreen is the only option in controlling the system. And until you re-touch another tab, it’ll stay on the chosen (i.e. aircon) screen until the car powers off.
That centre console holds just one cup, with smallish bottle holders in the four doors.
The rear hatch is manually operated, opening to a 435L cargo section, with the press tab logically located in the upper section of the number plate recess. Seats down, there’s 1,274L. The spare, incidentally, is a space saver.On The Road It’s: A firm ride on the highways, with just the right amount of damping when required.
It does, though, exhibit skittishness on some road joins and the like, with a mild but noticeable steering rack shake and accompanying left or right hop.
The location of the steering wheel, a Peugeot design signature, allows the GT-Line to feel sporty in the hands and in the handling. Its light, but not so that it isolates feedback.
The eight speed auto is a pearler, with quick shifts and perfectly matched to the tiny engine’s torque delivery.
We did notice though that the engine isn’t a fan of cold morning starts. Our time with the Peugeot 308 GT-Line coincided with some varying La Nina weather, with some mornings having a lacklustre and slow to react driveline.
We also noticed that the turbo behaviour would be different in nature at the same driving points, such as being ready to kick in or well off boost at the same speed coming to the same stop sign or give way sign.
In some instances, this lead to a few deep breath as the lack of urge at times had oncoming traffic looking to be in proximity earlier than they should, whereas at other times the engine would be ready to pull the 308 away without fuss. Disconcerting? Just a bit…
When it’s all cooperating, the engine and auto make a wonderful around town companion. There’s some decent urge from a standing start, and rolling acceleration is also decent without being outstanding.It’s a good highway cruiser, and is relatively quiet, even with the limpet grip Michelin tyres.
Unfortunately for us, the 308 wasn’t as suitable as needed for our Christmas travel requirements. This means the economy for the distance knowing to be travelled would be problematic with four humans and a decent amount of luggage.
Also, in some areas, the 1.2L would have struggled in the numerous uphill runs known for the route, and again would have played havoc with the economy.
What About Safety?: Pretty standard nowadays with AEB, Forward Collision Warning, and Sign Recognition.
Blind Spot Alert, reverse camera, and six airbags complement the main features.
What About Warranty And Service?: Five years warranty and unlimited kilometres are standard, and servicing is capped price, with Peugeot’s website providing specific pricing per vehicle type.
At The End Of The Drive. In a very competitive market, the 308 range is up against the Cerato, i30, Corolla, offerings from Ford and Mazda, and Renault’s Megane.
The drive is good, the drive-train a willing package, and it’s not unattractive inside and out.
In our opinion, it’s a very good city car and a not unworthy consideration on price. Having just two models to choose from makes choice an easy one but when others offer a broader range, it can be seen as a factor against it.