Diesel not a dirty word for new Peugeot 308
PUBLISHED: 13:10 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:22 16 February 2018
With modern Euro 6 diesels as good as the new engine debuting in the Peugeot 308, don’t dismiss them if you do serious mileage, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
I feel sorry for Peugeot’s timing launching its all-new, and very good, 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine. Not available at the revised 308’s launch, it arrives as diesel power is being given a good kicking.
What makes me cross is that modern Euro 6 diesels, especially those injecting AdBlue solution into the exhaust systems to neutralise harmful nitrogen oxides, are still the best bet for high-mileage motorists with CO2 emissions lower than petrol engines – in this case 100g/km.
Looks and image
It’s hard to tell the facelifted 308 from the previous model, still one of the more stylish models in this class.
On the outside, Peugeot’s trademark styling cues have been tweaked for a sharper look with the distinctive rear ‘claw effect’ lights now standard on the hatchback and front and rear bumpers and headlights reshaped in line with the 3008 SUV.
Inside, Allure and Active get new seat fabrics and Allure, GT Line and GT a panoramic fixed glass roof.
Under the bonnet
The new 308 debuts the 131hp 1.5-litre turbo diesel and a new eight-speed automatic gearbox for the 177hp 2.0-litre turbo diesel.
Peugeot has always built good diesels but this new 1.5 BlueHDi is so quiet and refined you forget it’s a diesel, making the old 1.6-litre seem gruff.
Picking up cleanly from low revs, strong and punchy in the mid-range, you don’t need to get the revs up for brisk performance – good news with the six-speed manual’s slow shift… and that smart alloy gear knob feels cold in winter. And 55mpg overall, with a best of 63mpg, from a tight, new engine, promises more with miles.
Sitting alongside the award-winning 131hp 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder turbo petrol, the 308 now has two cracking engines.
How it drives
Non-sporty models’ suspension is geared for comfort without numbing the ride and high-mileage drivers will appreciate it long-legged cruising ability.
It’s also competent on twisty roads, balanced through corners with precise steering, helped by that small flat-bottomed wheel. Driven hard, the 308 grips well but body roll builds.
Space and comfort
No problems with seat comfort but rear legroom is not as good as some rivals, especially with long-legged occupants up front. That panoramic sunroof floods the cabin with light but eats into headroom.
No complaints about load space – the hatchback has a 470-litre boot, the SW estate a whopping 660-litre load bay with a long, floor flush with the sill for easy loading. Levers in the boot drop the 60/40 split rear seat backs for a maximum 1,775 litres.
At the wheel
Peugeot’s innovative i-Cockpit with high-rise dials you look at over, not through, the small steering wheel could be a deal-clincher. I like the look, along with a 9.7in touchscreen to control major functions, even if it makes adjusting heating and ventilation system more complicated, but it means an almost button-free fascia.
The new infotainment system incorporates Mirror Screen to seamlessly integrate smartphone functions.
Driving aids make the new 308 one of the safest cars in its class now including intelligent speed limit recognition, optional adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring.
Storage space is disappointing with a tiny glovebox thanks to the fusebox geared to left-hand drive.
The Peugeot 308 is in one of the toughest sectors but it has a quirky appeal – and top-notch 131hp diesel and petrol engines give it serious appeal.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Peugeot 308 SW Allure BlueHDi 130 £22,950 (hatchback from £18,570, SW estate from £19,520)
Engine: 1,499cc, 131hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel with six-speed manual gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph 10.2 seconds; top speed 126mph
MPG: Urban 65.7; extra urban 80.7; combined 74.3
CO2 emissions: 100g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 21pc
Insurance group: (out of 50) 22E
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,585mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,043mm; H 1,472mm