Peugeot 308 SR e-HDi 112 5dr
Bold new styling in keeping with Peugeot's other recent new models
- Refreshed exterior is a welcome improvement
- Cabin and overall build quality is high
- Diesel options make a lot of sense - stop-start function is effective
- Good standard of equipment and cabin comfort
- Still some niggling issues with cabin ergonomics
- Keep an eye on the asking price - it pays to negotiate
- Still not a dynamic match for Ford's Focus
- High loading lip can impact on boot practicality
Since the introduction of the 308, Peugeot has proved that it hasn't forgotten how to make high quality, good to drive family cars. The French company's 308 displays a more eager personality and entertaining character than its predecessor ever did, and this refresh has been designed to further please the Peugeot faithful.
In the past Peugeot has given the 308 multiple, visual identities in a bid appeal to a broad range of buyers. This has likely done more to confuse people, which is why it's good to see one clear 'look' with this revised car.
Still rakish like the original 308, this refreshed model boasts plenty of premium-grade styling tweaks such as fancy daylight running lights. Refinement levels are also improved inside, with a noticeable uplift in the fit, finish and feel of the cabin's various trim and upholstery materials.
This enhanced level of refinement bodes well for the car's long-term reliability - not something that could have been said about the 307. In fact, the 308 is a huge step forward in every direction, and this is perfectly demonstrated by the way the car drives.
Some of the credit for this must go to the car's engine line-up, which includes a choice of smooth, turbocharged petrol units and the usual spread of frugal diesel motors. With economy and emissions improvements across the board, there's also some very clever engine stop-start technology for selected eco-centric models.
Our verdict on the Peugeot 308 SR e-HDi 112 5dr
Refreshed and enhanced to, again, do battle with its German and Far Eastern rivals, this upgraded 308 boasts plenty of welcome changes to its cabin plus a host of valuable improvements to its engine line-up and green credentials. A rounded performer with a stylish twist, Peugeot's reputation continues to improve with cars like this.
With the introduction of even more efficient and cleaner diesel engines, this 308 is now more affordable than ever. The low CO2 emitting variants will help keep you tax and fuel bills low, while the uplift in standard equipment should ensure less time spent browsing the options catalogue.
Space and practicality
Overall, the cabin is a good size, and for once there's plenty of knee room in the back for adults. At the rear, the tailgate opens to reveal a flat loadspace. The rear seats fold easily to boost the car's total carrying capacity and there's plenty of storage areas in the cabin it attractive to both busy company drivers and families.
Controls and display
One area where Peugeot has always excelled in is instrumentation. The car's main dials are clear and easy to read, while the main switchgear is intuitive and operates with a quality feel. The steering column-mounted audio controls are a welcome sight, and the optional sat-nav unit's display is large and easy to read although the unit's minor switchgear could be more intuitive.
Road and wind noise has been kept to a pleasing minimum; with the end result that cabin refinement is excellent in the 308. The car's seats are supportive and comfortable. There's also plenty of elbowroom for all passengers, while headroom is even more than acceptable in the back despite the sloping roof of the five-door hatchback.
It's good to see central locking and the usual anti-theft protection present across the range. The car's luggage cover appears to be a sturdy item, which should help keep valuables out of sight.
The 308 certainly doesn't lack any key equipment. All the current active and passive systems are present, including ABS, brake assist, stability control and airbags for every corner of the car.
Dynamically superior to its 307 predecessor, the 308 is capable of delivering plenty of thrills for the keen driver. The engine line-up is lively and willing, while the 308's handling encourage the driver to have fun. Ride quality is very good, even on poorly surfaced urban roads, and the car is hushed at motorway speeds. For the more eco-minded drivers, Peugeot's frugal diesels and, especially, its e-HDI units complete with engine stop-start are some of the best available.
Family car appeal
It might not be a conventional people carrier, but the 308's airy cabin is pretty spacious and there are enough storage areas for most active families. The car's boot is also a good size, which should ensure that a fair bit of shopping and a pushchair will fit without too great a struggle. Folding the rear seats forward further boosts the car's versatility.
First car appeal
There's no reason why the 308 couldn't be someone's first car. Running costs are unlikely to be high, making it a sound proposition. It's also a car that's easy to drive and manoeuvre, and all-round visibility is good.
Quality and image
After a period of ultra-conservative styling and dynamically modest products, it's good to see that Peugeot bounced back with the 308. The various cabin plastics and overall fit and finish is much improved over the first run of cars. However, it might take a while for buyers to fully appreciate this, especially if they have negative memories of the previous 307.
The front doors on the five-door variant open nice and wide, and the seat height is such that you can just slide in. At the back, the rear doors open to reveal a good size aperture, while the car's boot opens and closes with little effort.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The sound quality is excellent from the standard unit. The display easy to read but the various controls clustered around the unit could be more straightforward. The inclusion of steering column-mounted controls helps to negate this issue. Moving up, there's also a fully featured sat-nav, phone and multimedia unit, with a screen mounted on top of the car's fascia.
Colours and trim
Even with the styling refresh, bold colours do much to flatter the 308's equally bold exterior. Inside, the main cabin materials are dark in colour, which helps promote a high quality feel. However, light coloured trim helps lift the overall cabin ambience.
Parking is straightforward in the 308. In hatchback form the car's power steering offers plenty of assistance and the all-round vision is good. Where fitted, parking sensors help.
Space saver fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (98bhp); 1.6-litre (120bhp); 1.6 (156bhp, 200bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (92bhp, 112bhp); 2.0-litre (150bhp, 163bhp). Transmission options: five and six-speed manual gearboxes depending on model, plus conventional six-speed auto and six-speed semi-auto gearboxes on selected variants. Trim levels: Urban, Envy, S, SR, Sport, GT.
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