ROAD TEST: Peugeot 308

I have to admit to bias here – the Peugeot 308 has long been one of my favourite cars. I’ve always thought it deserved higher rankings in the UK sales charts, and in its latest iteration it might just achieve that writes motoring editor Ian Strachan.

The new Peugeot 308 gets sharper styling, more technology, more efficient engines and more competitive pricing.

The latest 308  has a characteristic low road stance, a striking new front grille with LED daytime running lights and smart 16 inch alloys. It has the purposeful posture of a car that means business.

The inside is nice too, with Peugeot’s i-cockpit, the most notable feature of which is a 9.7 inch touchscreen with satnav and easy-to-use graphics. The rest of the interior is largely unchanged, but it didn’t need to be. The 308 has always used high quality materials. The seats are extremely comfortable with a good range of adjustment and an excellent driving position.

There are plenty of storage spaces around the interior and all instruments are clear and accessible. A large panoramic glass roof comes as standard on this specification.

I test drove the 131 bhp 308 in Allure trim. It is powered by a smooth but gutsy 1.2 litre petrol engine which will take you from 0-60 in not much more than nine seconds. It’s very quiet, even when worked hard, with impressive acceleration and flexibility. Mated to a pleasant if slightly notchy six-speed automatic gearbox you still get respectable economy for such a powerful car – 57.6 miles to the gallon in mixed driving.

Ride and handling are excellent thanks to a lightweight chassis, a lower ride height and good suspension.

Specification on the 308 Allure is generous. Standard equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, electrically heated and folding door mirrors (they fold automatically when you lock the doors) 16 inch alloys,  automatic windscreen wipers and headlights, sports seats, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, central colour touchscreen with satellite navigation, DAB radio, central locking and airbags all round. On the road price is £21,640.

My test vehicle came with keyless entry/ignition (£350), City Park system with blind spot monitoring (£400), 18 inch alloys (£300) and striking red metallic paint (£675)

I found this well-equipped and distinctive car pleasing in every way. While it is essentially a family car, there’s enough style and sportiness to appeal to younger drivers.

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