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Peugeot 308

A LOVE EIGHT THING (some text hidden)

Introductionword count: 15

There are parts of Peugeot's improved second generation 308 hatch that June Neary really likes...

Will It Suit Me?word count: 102

The long lamented Peugeot's 306 family hatch was a fine car, but since its heyday, things have moved on a long way. You see, although it looked good and drove brilliantly, it wasn't exactly on the pace when it came to quality and practicality. Since then, Peugeot has tried over the decades to bring all these attributes together in one class-competitive family hatchback package. The 307 and first generation 308 models struggled with that brief, but this second generation 308 model very nearly pulled it off. This week, I thought I'd take a look at the usefully revised version of that car.

Practicalitiesword count: 278

This revised 308 features a sleeker bonnet, revised headlamps and tail lights, plus a re-styled front bumper . Otherwise, things are much as before, both outside and in. One of the first things that I spotted about the interior of the 308 was the vast number of storage pockets, luggage hooks and nets, slide out trays and cubbyholes. If you're carrying anything from a diamond dripping engagement ring to a 1.5-litre bottle of coke, you'll find somewhere secure to stow it - although the trick may be remembering exactly which pocket you put it in. For chocoholics like me, the air-conditioned glove box keeps your Cadburys just as you would want to find it, rather than the sloppy mess that so often results. The interior is dominated by a 9.7-inch touchscreen and while some of the materials quality is a bit variable, sit in a Golf Mk 7 and you'll come to a similar conclusion. This 308 gets the tiny steering wheel debuted on the 208, but in this instance, it's possible for shorter drivers to see the dials over the top of it. The contra-rotating rev counter is a neat touch, the oversized manual gear knob less so. Space all round is more than adequate and the 470-litre boot is excellent. Rear accommodation is impressive and the decor, while a little sombre, feels as though it comes from a car high up the automotive hierarchy. Good fuel economy, a comfortable driving position and plenty of space make this an ideal car for work around town or for longer trips. I could even see my family going on holiday in one, such is the comfort and available space.

Behind the Wheelword count: 301

Being a Peugeot, spirited driving is most definitely on the cards. The petrol engine line up opens with an 82bhp, 1.2-litre three-cylinder, then there's a choice of either 110 or 130bhp versions of this engine. The zippiest model is the 1.6-litre THP turbo with either 205 or 270bhp. Go diesel and most will want the 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit, which comes in either 100 or 120bhp guises. There's also a 2.0-litre BlueHDi engine, offered with either 150 or 180bhp. Transmissions are fairly standard fare, with five and six-speed manuals or a six-speed automatic. All-round visibility is excellent thanks to a high driving position and every control falls easily to hand. In emergency braking situations, not only does the ABS cut in to bring you safely to a halt, but the hazard lights will illuminate to show those following that you are stepping sharpish on the anchors. The idea is to alert them to the emergency ahead in the hope that they will actually notice that something is amiss and use the brakes themselves. You can but hope. The 308 features six airbags as standard. In addition to the familiar twin front and side bags, curtain airbags protect both front and rear passengers from flying glass and side impact in the event of an accident. Active head restraints, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and fuel supply cut-offs combine to make the 308 an impressively safe environment for the family, which would be one of my prime considerations in looking for a new car to join my household. Other thoughtful applications include a boot that automatically locks when you pull away, protecting the contents from opportunistic thieves while stopped in traffic, and door linings that are fitted with reinforced cowlings that shield the lock elements. The Peugeot people seem to have thought of everything.

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Category: Compact Family Cars

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
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