Auto Biographies New Peugeot 308 (Feline THP 156) by Tim Barnes-Clay  www.carwriteups.co.uk @carwriteups

Peugeot must have sprinkled fairy dust over its designers, because there are now some attractive motors in its automotive stable, including the 308.

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

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. 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 the 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 sized 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 ‘N’ CONS

Classy √  

Safe √  

Attractive √  

Responsive √  

Rear legroom X

FAST FACTS

Max speed: 132mph

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 (Ib/ft): 180 at 1400 rpm

CO2: 134 g/km

Price:  £21,345 on the road