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Review: Peugeot 308


There’s an old maxim that 'If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it'. That’s certainly the policy followed by Peugeot for the 2011 model year of their sprite little 308 hatchback, which has seen no major revisions since it was launched four years ago.

It has to be said that in style and content this consistently strong seller sees very much of the moment and in no way dated. It certainly gave me a week of satisfying motoring that included a late night motorway dash, family outings and the mundane but important rush hour commute.

The model I lived with for those busy seven days was the £17,845, 1,560cc 308 Envy HDi 92 diesel, which is capable of a 13 second sprint from 0 to 62 and can be wound up all the way to 113 mph. That standing start acceleration figure might seem a little pedestrian but thanks to sharp steering and handling, the car had a degree of sporting character that kept the smile on my face especially when hard charging down deserted country lanes.

A tight turning circle and well-geared steering made the 308 equally at home on city streets.

Five different trim levels and six engine options are on offer. Sport and GT renditions provide extra oomph to take the car into VW Golf challenging hot hatch territory.

A large windscreen and airy cabin, plus a generous load area make the car seem bigger than it actually is. Certainly, five people can travel in style and comfort even on long trips. Comprehensive equipment levels and Peugeot’s much improved build quality add to the appeal.

It the high back and semi-tall architecture concept that first appeared with the introduction of the preceding three-million selling 307 model, back in 2001, that provides the greater interior space, visibility, interior brightness and compact packaging to make the 308 so appealing. There’s even a panoramic roof available to make things even brighter.

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The search to lessen the environmental impact of the vehicle was a key objective in all stages of development of the 308. Through such considerations as recycling, aerodynamics, super efficient petrol and diesel engines, the use of an additive-based diesel particle filter system on the HDi diesel versions, the larger wheels and suspension, Michelin Energy Saver tyres and electro-hydraulic power steering and reducing weight through the use of composite materials, aluminium and high-strength steel, everything has been carefully studied to optimise fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions.

Indeed, the 308 powered by the 1.6 litre HDi 90 bhp diesel engine produces only 120 g/km of CO2.

Besides the five-door hatchback version tested, the 308 remains available as a SW estate car are a pert CC coupé convertible version, complete with folding metal roof.

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