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Peugeot 308: Test Drive

Date: 07 September 2007   |   Author:

Peugeot 308 parcel shelf
Category: Lower medium
Prices: £11,995-£20,045
Key rival: Renault Megane

After a year of stability, the lower medium sector was due another shake-up, and that's what Peugeot is hoping to provide with the new 308. Only the Toyota Auris, and the Kia and Hyundai minnows (Ceed and i30 respectively) have launched into the UK's biggest market sector this year, so the arrival of Peugeot's new hatchback will have Ford, Vauxhall and Renault watching intently.

There are six engines, three each for petrol and diesel. We've driven what should be the most popular in the corporate market, the 1.6-litre 110PS diesel, though the 90PS version is a possible challenger because it hits the magic 120g/km figure. There is also a three-door version, which is expected to take no more than 10% of 308 hatchback sales.

Peugeot claims the new car is markedly different from its 307 predecessor if you park the two side by side, but the fact that you need to do that to tell the major differences says it all - there is a lack of drama in the styling. The front end is also so similar to the new 207 that it takes a second glance to check which is driving towards you, while the rear carries hints of Renault's Megane or even Avantime. From Sport trim upwards, too, there is a nose that's different but almost indistinguishable from the cheaper trims, along with a rear styling treatment that makes the car look like it has a rear diffuser tray.

Peugeot claims to have put plenty of effort into improving...