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Car review: New Peugeot 308

Peugeots are becoming easier on the eye and the new 308 would be a good-looking addition to any family, says motor reviewer Tim Barnes Clay.

Peugeot must have sprinkled fairy dust over its designers, because there are now a number of attractive motors in its automotive stable.

It’s no secret that the French firm hasn’t always produced beautiful cars – yet, conversely, Peugeot has created some of the most popular vehicles on the road.

Moving on up

To bring more of a balance to the automaker’s looks department, the brand is moving upmarket.

It’s an initiative started several years ago and seen most recently with the 208 and 2008.

The initial design brief of the New 308 had the highest levels of quality at its heart and that has been more than noticed already.

Crowned 2014 European Car of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show, the suave Peugeot offers a touch of technology, comfort and practicality.

Another prize-winner

The new 308 is the fourth Peugeot model to be distinguished by the Car of the Year accolade; it comes after the 307 (2002), 405 (1988) and 504 (1969).

The appearance of the Pug is more akin to the latest Mercedes Benz A-Class than anything else.

The front of the car is dominated by a floating front grille and a strong lighting signature.

Slim full-LED headlamps glitter like diamonds and the striking illumination continues at the rear, with the three Peugeot lion claws drawn by piercing red LED lamps.

Indulgent interior

Inside, the 308 includes a touch-screen panel on the dashboard for added indulgence.

It also has a practical purpose: it brings together many of the infotainment controls in one place, for ease of use and to create a contemporary and uncluttered cabin.

Everything is arranged for an experience that is intuitive and relaxing so that you can focus entirely on the road ahead.

The head-up instrument layout means that information can be clearly read easily and safely, looking over rather than through the wheel.

Good performance under pressure

The Peugeot also has a compact steering wheel and newly developed electric power steering, resulting in a responsive and controlled driving experience.

My 1.6, 156bhp petrol-powered Feline model certainly impressed me with its ability to stick to the road and hug bends - even when pushed hard.

The car is stuffed to the brim with safety packages too.

As well as multiple airbags it has an Emergency Collision Alert System, which gives out an audible warning should you get too close to the backside of someone else – or if you’ve just not braked in time.

Impressive safety features

The 308 is also furnished with an Emergency Collision Braking System.

This is a clever bit of gadgetry where, in the event of a possible crash, automatic braking is triggered to prevent the impact or reduce the consequences.

What’s more, the five-door car offers great fuel economy, without compromising too much on space.

There’s plenty of room for luggage and shopping, as well as for you and your front-seat passenger.

Rear-seat travellers don’t have quite so much legroom, but headroom is fine and rest of the car is cosseting enough to provide a soothing ride.

The new 308 is seriously worth considering if you’re after a medium-size family motor.

The fact that the model will also be manufactured and sold in China indicates just how much belief there is in this car.

Pros & cons

  • Classy √
  • Attractive √
  • Safe √
  • Responsive √
  • Rear legroom X

Fast facts

  • Max speed: 132 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 8.4 secs
  • Combined mpg: 48.7
  • Engine: 1598cc 4 cylinder 16 valve petrol
  • Max. power (bhp): 156 at 6000 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb/ft): 180 at 1400 rpm
  • CO2: 134 g/km
  • Price: £21,345

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Tim Barnes-Clay

Leon Poultney

Tim is an experienced motoring writer with a background in radio and TV journalism. He puts his pedal to the metal each week with his must-read car reviews.

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