BusinessCar has tested one of the lowest-emitting variants of Peugeot’s lower medium 308 – a credible rival to the fleet behemoth that is VW’s Golf Bluemotion.

The Peugeot is as good as level-pegging with the VW’s 85g/km and 88.3mpg, offering 84g/km and an identical 88.3mpg. There is an even cleaner Active-spec model with smaller wheels and therefore an official 82g/km and 91.1mpg, but 2g/km is neither here nor there at this level and brings no further BIK advantages, while the Allure trim we’ve driven will be the most appealing.

In addition to its top-notch economy, this 308 has several other aces up its sleeve that give it the edge over fellow models with similar figures. The 1.6-litre diesel engine produces 120hp, which is 10hp more than the Golf Bluemotion and 15hp more than the Ford Focus Econetic 88g/km. While an 11.6-second 0-62mph time might not be earth shattering by today’s standards, the Peugeot feels anything but slow; the engine is smooth and has a decent slug of mid-range pull – more than you’d expect from an eco special. It’s refined, handles tidily and is well built, too.

It’s also a lot more spacious than your average lower medium car. The 470-litre boot is one of the largest in its class and you’re looking at a whopping 1309 litres if you fold the seats flat.

The last of its aces is the spec, which in Allure trim puts paid to the theory that eco special models are poorly kitted out. Equipment such as Bluetooth, climate control, cruise control, satnav and automatic lights and wipers all come with this trim level, where rivals such as the Golf and the Focus miss out on some of those features.

As good as it is in those areas, a middle-of-the-road RV figure of 33.6% hampers its standing against the Golf, which manages 38.4%. The Peugeot’s overall cost per mile of 46.2p is also bettered by the VW at 42.6ppm. The Focus is better still at 42.1ppm, but that’s a lot cheaper to buy with a P11D of £18,390 and suffers from very low spec levels and a poor RV of 29.0%.