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First Drive

First Drive: Peugeot 308 facelift

The story:
The mid-life update for the Peugeot 308 brings an inevitable tweaking to the car’s looks to bring it in line with other, newer models in the brands range – the latest 3008 in this case. This means a new grille and bonnet, most notably, with LED daytime running lights also now a standard addition.
Category:B Segment (Small Cars)
Key rival:Volkswagen Golf
Peugeot 308 1.5 BlueHDi 130 S&S GT Line manual 5dr
Price:£23,840
MPG:TBC (est)
Emissions:TBC (est)
On sale:November 2017

As is often the case with a facelift, though, the biggest changes are hidden away from view and Peugeot has take the opportunity to add a new engine an eight-speed automatic gearbox and new technology to the 308.

The engine is a new 1.5-litre diesel, which boasts at-source and at-exhaust filters that should help cut down particulate emissions, and improve efficiency around 4-6% over the 1.6-litre version it replaces. It is a smooth and quiet engine that pulls well at low speeds and for motorway overtakes. The manual gearbox’s long ratios will see you changing down for the latter, though.

The 308 is accomplished at speed, though, with the smooth ride and calmed cabin both highlights, with only a touch of wind noise making it in from the door mirrors. Larger potholes are more noticeable at lower speeds, but it coped well with the largely rural roads on our route.

As well as the engine changes, Peugeot has added a touch more tech to the 308. Some of this is safety related, with eight systems offered in total, including blind spot monitoring, speed limit recognition and adaptive cruise control all added. The more notable tech comes in the form of a revised infotainment system, which is compatible with Mirrorlink, Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

First Drive - 2017 Peugeot 308 - Image 9

It is a smart looking system, which is generally quick to respond, but can be a bit fiddly, most notably when it comes to changing the cabin temperature which still has to be done through the touchscreen rather than through a physical button that can be twiddled without taking your eyes off the road.

The interior is otherwise unchanged, which means plenty of storage in the cabin and in the very generous 470-litre boot that has decent amounts of under-floor space and a low loading lip. However, this space comes at the expense of the back seats, where adult passengers will feel cramped for knee room, while head room is not as generous as some rivals either, especially with the panoramic glass roof that is now standard on Allure, GT Line and GT models.

 

TOM WEBSTER

The verdict

The 308 is impressive in many ways, and improved by the revised engine and the addition of a new eight-speed auto. Niggles, such as the lack of rear-seat space and the steering-wheel ergonomics mean it can’t be the class leader, though.