4 September 2018

Peugeot 308 2018 Car Review

The latest Peugeot 308 landed here in late June this year in two specifications, the Allure and the GT Line.

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Peugeot 308
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Peugeot 308
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Peugeot 308
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Peugeot 308
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Peugeot 308
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Peugeot 308

Both feature the latest in Peugeot design cues, especially noticeable up front with a smart, grown-up flavour, albeit an arguably less characterful appearance.

The GT line comes with sports seats and lashings of red contrast stitching to lift the look – but it took our tester a tad longer than usual to get comfy. Either the steering wheel felt too low, or it blocked the lower portion of the instruments – to be fair, a quandary not everyone will encounter, depending on how they’re built.

It does underline though that it’s vital to explore seat and wheel adjustment when taking a test drive, and be sure that when you are the correct distance from pedals and wheel, you can see everything you need to. If it doesn’t feel quite right – is that merely because it’s unfamiliar, in which case you’ll get used to it? Or…Our tester got used to it, the compromise being that the trip meter wasn’t easily visible.

This GT Line gets a sports front bumper and side skirt, a gloss black diffuser against which twin chrome exhaust outlet stand out, plus 17-inch alloy wheels and full LED lighting. Inside those red-stitched sporty seats mark the GT, plus aluminium pedals and a 3D satnav. There’s a $1500 panoramic roof option too, not fitted to our tester.

Anyone still stuck on the old adage that there ‘ain’t no replacement for displacement’ will be astonished by this engine. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder is an impressive bit of kit, certainly when paired with this six-speed auto transmission. At no point did it feel underpowered, indeed it dispatched brisk overtaking manoeuvres with elan, accelerating to the appropriate speed and tucking back in with a vigour that belies the modest capacity, with the further advantage that on a light throttle it virtually does run on the proverbial smell of an oily rag. Just in terms of usability, it’s no wonder this is the 2018 International Engine of the Year in its category.

A new look and a modern engine naturally come backed up by a cornucopia of electronic safety tech, including active emergency braking, front collision warning, driver attention alert, speed limit sign recognition and recommendation, active blind spot monitoring, auto high beam, a reversing camera with front and rear sensors – and active lane-keep assist.

Now, on a long trip we have no reservations about systems that alert you if you’re crossing the centre or edge lines, they can be a lifesaver for distracted or fatigued drivers. But on New Zealand’s narrower roads they can get irritating – resulting in too rapid a willingness to switch the danged things off – or even a little too zealous for safety.

Such is Peugeot’s system, for the ‘active’ part refers to weighting the steering wheel back towards your lane. Most cars fitted with this tech keep that weighting fairly subtle, merely as assistance to your own response. But this car almost twitches the wheel with the testiness of an impatient schoolteacher with a recalcitrant pupil, and once or twice – when the lane departure was deliberate, to allow a good margin around a cyclist or a pedestrian on local country roads without a pavement – that twitch reduced the margin of error to a startling degree.

There seems no remedy for this, except to switch it off when your trip is short, and leave it in place for any drive – or time of day – when fatigue or inattention could strike.

Such as our tester’s trip from Auckland to the Bay of Islands after work one Friday, and back after a busy weekend helping with a house move and its aftermath.

The car proved comfortable, the first-gen 308’s jiggly ride very much a thing of the past, this generation proving supple and capable on a variety of surfaces and roads, though it hit close to Peugeot’s claim for urban consumption rather than its country thirst. To be fair, the total drive included a fair bit of hilly swervery and some steep gravel stretches: the view was worth it, but the route was hardly chosen with fuel economy in mind.

As for luggage, folding the seats down results in a significant step for the load floor, a problem few folk will generally encounter as the boot’s generous enough for most purposes. In this case the Pug became a house-move load hauler, carrying boxes of excess to the hospice shop, and swallowing quite a few unusually shaped and sized boxes and bundles without complaint, assisted by the drop-down ‘ski hatch’.

Still not sold by the idea of a 1.2-litre engine in a car this size? Next year we’ll get a 1.6-litre, 168kWGT version, with an eight-speed auto.

At a glance


Peugeot 308 GT Line


1.2 3-Cylinder



ANCAP safety rating

Unrated (Diesel variant 5 Star)

Power and Torque

96kW at 5500rpm, 230Nm at 1750rpm


Six-speed auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity



2WD - Front

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

470 Litres

Safety systems

  • Advanced Emergency Braking at up to 140kph
  • Active lane departure warning
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Front Collision Warning
  • Active Blind Spot Detection
  • Speed sign recognition and recommendation
  • Park Assist (parallel and bay parking)
  • Driver Attention Alert
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