Despite the name staying the same for the first time in a Peugeot, the new 308 is a very different machine to the 308 it replaces.

Peugeot admits the outgoing car is maybe not its finest hour, but is bullish about a return to form with the new lower medium hatchback, which it claims is the biggest change from one model to the next that it has had.

The French firm is aiming for best-in-class status across the board, with an interior quality pitched at matching the premium brands.

The car is 30mm shorter than its predecessor, with the front overhang 63mm shorter, so Peugeot has been able to increase the boot size by 22% to make the 308 one of the most cavernous in its class.

Emissions will eventually fall to a class-leading 82g/km for the 120hp 1.6 Blue HDI car, although the launch line-up starts with a 95g/km offering with both 92hp and 115hp versions of the 1.6 diesel.

Peugeot is confident the specification of the new 308 will help attract fleets back to the brand, with every model bar the entry Access trim getting alloys, satnav, dual-zone air-conditioning and rear parking sensors, while the top two trims also benefit from full LED headlamps and reversing camera.

The 115hp diesel analysed here is likely to vie for top-seller honours with the most efficient 82g/km model, and in the Active trim that’s the second of four on offer.

We’ve put the 308 up against four rivals, the main one being the car that Peugeot has most firmly focussed on because it’s perceived to be the vehicle to aim for – Volkswagen’s Golf.

We’ve also picked premium and budget rivals in the form of the Volvo V40 and Kia Ceed respectively, while for something a little different we’ve also thrown Honda’s Civic, complete with its 120hp 1.6 diesel, into the mix.

The Peugeot’s lack of real weaknesses from a costs perspective combines with a comparatively low P11D price to come out with the best overall cost per mile. Although the residual value prediction can’t match the more premium brands here, it’s good enough to give the 308 the lowest depreciation figure, and it’s also the fastest to 62mph.

That extra 22% of boot space means the 308 is beaten only by the Honda Civic, and then only by seven litres, while none of the other cars here can get within less than 90 litres.

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Loses the least in cash terms despite RV below the best

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Middling efficiency beats two, but is behind Volvo and Honda

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Just £23 away from having the best SMR results


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Core Rival: Volkswagen Golf

Although the Golf only comes fourth of five for the overall cost per mile figure, it was just 0.4p off the second-placed Civic and showed the traditional residual value strengths that come with a desirability level that rivals can only dream of.

Certainly not a cheap car any more, there’s almost nothing in P11D terms between this model and an Audi A3 Sportback SE with the same engine.

That higher price combines with emissions that can’t match the class best to leave the VW with the highest benefit-in-kind payments of the five cars here, while it also has the joint-worst fuel consumption despite having the lowest power.

The good: Surprisingly, the Golf has the lowest insurance and SMR

The bad: Basic warranty, highest BIK payments, lowest mpg

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Just 0.1 percentage point off the V40 at the top 

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Joint-worst fuel cost with the Kia despite lowest power

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For a semi-premium brand, VW’s SMR cost impresses

Volvo V40

Premium Rival: Volvo V40

The V40 is something of a contradiction of a car.

It’s the most expensive, has the highest SMR and highest insurance cost, joint-shortest service intervals and a basic warranty.

But it’s also the most efficient here by a margin, and has the best residual value, but still manages to lose the most money over three years and 60,000 miles due to having the highest P11D price.

Throw in that it’s the slowest and has the smallest boot, but counters that with a cabin that’s comfortable and offers very good quality, plus the Volvo brand and the V40’s good looks, and it makes the baby Swede the Marmite car of this bunch of five.

The good: Best residual value, emissions and fuel economy

The bad: Most expensive, highest SMR, highest depreciation

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RV just beats the VW, but it still loses the most money

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Most efficient car of the five, 4.6mpg above the next best

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Highest SMR cost by a margin – over £400 above any rival


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Budget Rival: Kia Ceed

Kia has come a long way in a short period, and the Ceed is another example of that, now competing in many ways on a level playing field with more traditional mainstream brands.

This model is the most powerful but slowest to 62mph, and is in the highest benefit-in-kind band, of the cars here, but claims back plenty of points with the excellent seven-year/100,000-mile warranty and 20,000-mile service intervals.

Insurance costs are the lowest in this group alongside the?Golf, and only the Peugeot loses less in monetary terms on depreciation, despite the residual value handicap compared with the other models analysed here. 

The good: Lowest P11D, long service intervals, great warranty

The bad: Highest BIK?band, lowest RV, least efficient

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The only one not to break 30% for residual values – just

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Joint worst for fuel economy despite 74.3mpg figure

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Surprisingly, the Kia’s SMR cost beats only the Volvo


 Honda Civic

Left-field Rival: Honda Civic 

The 120hp engine in the Civic, and more recently also in the?CR-V off-roader, has finally given Honda something to talk seriously to fleets about.

Sitting in the lowest 13% benefit-in-kind band for a diesel, the 94g/km?Civic has the smallest monthly BIK payments of the five here, and also offers the largest boot (although the 308 runs it very close), and it’s the car here with the highest top speed.

Service intervals could be longer, although it matches the Volvo in that regard, while the warranty is more generous than all bar the Kia, thanks to it running to a 90,000-mile limit rather than the 60,000 miles offered by VW, Volvo and Peugeot.

The good: Lowest BIK payments, largest boot, fastest

The bad: Short service intervals, widest turning circle

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RV is a touch behind the 308 and well off VW and Volvo

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Can’t match the Volvo for efficiency, but is second best

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Bang in the middle of the five cars here for servicing cost