Our Fleet Test Drive: Peugeot 308 - 1st Report
06 May 2008
Author: Hugh Hunston
 Attention to detail extends to a neat rear parcel shelf compartment
We think the latest addition to our fleet, a Peugeot 308, resembles a 307 on steroids.
Being significantly bigger than its European Car of the Year predecessor, there's more space in a cabin  that, with its sombre charcoal interior, is smart. Peugeot has raised its game, and fit and finish, plus material quality and tactility, are elevated to Ford Focus or VW Golf levels, particularly when viewed under the additional light provided by the SE spec full-length glass roof.
Attention to detail extends to a neat rear parcel shelf compartment  while a broader bodyshell makes three people sharing the rear seats a less intimate experience.
Although in SE form our five-door, 1.6-litre 110PS HDi is well-equipped, sitting in the middle of the 308's price range at £17,795, we added extras totalling £1750.
Cosmetic options include dark grey metallic paint at £350, and a £100 upgrade to 17-inch alloys, which reduces fuel economy by 0.8mpg compared to the 16-inch Michelin energy-saving tyres.
The rest is swallowed by a £1300 multimedia package embracing
GSM phone installation, MP3 capability and colour satnav system (the centrally mounted, flip-up screen's functions include a handy colour-coded parking proximity system, linked to beeper warnings).
However, while satnav should reduce time and fuel costs by reaching destinations more efficiently, its response to a familiar trial route defied my normal, effective journey logic.
From May a six-speed gearbox becomes a £100 option and could bring the SE model's 125g/km CO2 rating down to the magic 120g/km. The diesel, jointly-developed between Peugeot-Citroen and Ford, excels in the 308, despite the car weighing 62kg more than the 307. It delivers brisk mid-range acceleration and unflustered motorway cruising.
So far, the car has averaged a shade under 50mpg in varied conditions over the initial 400 miles covered by us.