The provided 308 vehicle from Autohaus Kropf in Roth offers a test drive experience that is characterized by a few notable aspects. Firstly, during the test drive, the winter wheels stored in the trunk create a noticeable noise as they fall into position, and the 18-inch wheels in the wheel housings produce an audible sound as they roll over the lowered curb onto the road.
However, once on the country road, the lively three-cylinder engine under the hood generates a pleasant rhythmic sound while accelerating, eventually transitioning into a relaxed and calm driving experience. Surprisingly, it takes approximately two minutes for this highly comfortable overall impression to fully establish and solidify.
Moving on to the body of the 308, it exudes a sense of solidity, eliminating any concerns about the thin sheet metal constructions that were previously associated with many French cars. Instead, the body showcases clean and tight body joints, with the doors closing fully and appearing well-insulated. One minor drawback is that the bonnet tends to flap when driving on the freeway, but this issue can be easily addressed and resolved through simple adjustments.
The smooth underbody surface is adequately protected against corrosion at key points. It might be worth considering applying a wax seal, in the long run, to enhance protection against splash water in the front wheel area. However, overall, rust problems are not a significant concern with the 308.
The 308 excels in providing a solid and reliable driving experience, which is particularly important for everyday journeys. It is worth considering its suitability in the used car market.
In terms of dimensions, the 308 is nearly identical to the VW Golf VII, with a slight difference of a few millimeters. However, the Peugeot offers approximately 40 liters more luggage space. The station wagon variant, known as the SW, is 33 centimeters longer and boasts a cargo capacity ranging from 610 to 1,660 liters, further enhancing its practicality.
If the maximum payload of 580 kilograms is frequently utilized (which is already a commendable value), it is important to anticipate potential increased wear on the brakes and axle body bearings of the torsion beam axle over the long term. The SW version tends to exhibit slightly more rattling compared to the shorter variant, but the bearing bushes can be easily and cost-effectively replaced.
Moving on to the interior, the 308 earns praise for its use of durable materials. Even in high-mileage situations, such as former taxi vehicles, signs of significant wear and tear are rarely observed. Additionally, all essential areas of the cockpit feature high-quality soft plastic lining, which not only adds a touch of elegance but also helps to minimize bothersome reflections on the windshield, albeit making dusting a slightly more challenging task.
Depending on the size, the helmsman or woman may have problems coping with the idiosyncratic ergonomics. So that the instrument cluster – which is not ideal to read anyway with the rev counter running in the opposite direction – is not covered by the steering wheel, the latter has to be positioned quite low. This knee-level steering not only looks unusual but also prevents long-legged people from getting in and out. People under 1.80 meters have it easier here, and some even praise this unconventional solution. So it is best to form your own opinion here.
Engines: Prima diesel, critical three-cylinder petrol
The Peugeot 308 has generally shown minor weaknesses so far. However, there is a critical issue specifically related to the three-cylinder petrol engines, known as PureTech, when their maintenance history cannot be tracked. These engines, similar to those used by Ford, employ a toothed belt that operates within an oil environment.
The powerful PureTech three-cylinder engine is utilized in most 308 petrol engines and offers good performance, fuel efficiency, and smooth operation. However, it has a vulnerable aspect in the form of its oil-bath-toothed belt. Therefore, it is advisable to only purchase a vehicle equipped with this engine if its maintenance history is well-documented and transparent.
If an improper lubricant is used, which does not meet the specified requirements, the outer coating of the belt can detach after a short period. The resulting rubber abrasion can then find its way from the oil pump in the crankcase to the camshaft adjustment in the cylinder head, affecting all oil-carrying components. This can lead to blockages and insufficient lubrication, causing engine damage.
The repair process is complex, often requiring extensive cleaning, making engine replacement a more practical solution in many cases. Although rare, there have been instances where the belt swells and eventually tears. Peugeot states a recommended service life of 240,000 kilometers or 15 years for the toothed belt. Nevertheless, the Stellantis Group’s recall from January 2023, addressing timing belt issues, also includes the 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine found in the 308.
To ensure the continued enjoyment of the lively performance and fuel efficiency, it is strongly advised to have the recall performed before purchasing a 308 with this particular engine. Peugeot estimates that the time required for the recall ranges from 35 minutes to 15 hours, depending on the specific model and scope of work involved.
The four-cylinder petrol engines, which are less commonly found in the 308, are the result of a collaborative effort with BMW. These engines are known for their high-revving capability, refinement, and power reserves, but they often experience issues with stretched timing chains. It is important for the chain to remain silent even during extremely cold starts.
For those who drive frequently, choosing a diesel variant is a more suitable option. All diesel models meet the Euro 6 emissions standard and are permitted in environmental zones. They are also remarkably fuel-efficient and ideal for covering long distances. Stellantis has continuously developed its “uniform diesel” over the years, and it powers various transporters, certain Ford and Volvo models, as well as several Opel vehicles in recent times.
In the event that repairs or replacement parts are necessary, the costs involved are generally reasonable. Similar to other modern diesel engines, some common issues include defective EGR valves, high-pressure pumps, and auxiliary components. Recurring problems may involve oil and water leaks or clogged soot particle filters, indicated by an illuminated check engine light.
However, it is important to note that the issue is typically not with the filter itself but rather stems from excessive short-distance driving without opportunities for proper regeneration. Long-distance driving typically mitigates these concerns. Philipp Raum, a service advisor at the Kropf car dealership, specifically recommends the diesel variant for the Peugeot 308.
Transmission: light and shadow but no problems
The 308 model offers two transmission options: a six-speed manual transmission (with some basic versions also offering a five-speed transmission) and an eight-speed automatic converter. From a pragmatic standpoint, there are no significant issues with manual transmission, as it reliably fulfills its function. However, it should not be anticipated to provide exceptional refinement in terms of gear gradation or precise shifting. While one can easily find the desired gear when operating the smooth-running gear lever, the absence of tactile feedback, such as a click, can be perceived as a drawback. Also, the clutch pedal lacks responsiveness and firmness, providing limited information regarding the engagement point.
The chassis of the car is designed to provide a comfortable and well-balanced driving experience. It has been meticulously tuned, ensuring that there are no concerns regarding driving safety. Although the power-assisted steering may lack some feedback, this characteristic aligns with the overall nature and intended purpose of the vehicle. It is unlikely to cause significant inconvenience or dissatisfaction among customers.
The French compact car openly exhibits a certain level of stubbornness. In comparison to the Volkswagen Golf, which sets the standard in this class, the Peugeot 308 offers a more relaxed and less compliant driving experience, while still maintaining a certain level of elegance. Although it may not possess the same level of precision as its German counterparts in terms of the chassis and steering, the 308 is still a capable and reliable car. Additionally, when considering the used car market, the subtle distinctions of the Peugeot provide an advantage as it is generally priced more competitively than similar models from Germany.
Flaws: Nothing serious except for the timing belt
The front of the vehicle features a spring strut construction commonly found in this vehicle class, which typically functions reliably even at higher mileage. However, there may be occasional issues with the steering system. If the steering gradually becomes noticeably more difficult to turn, it could be due to contaminated servo oil. In the worst-case scenario, this could necessitate replacing the electrically operated pump.
Assuming everything is functioning properly, the steering wheel in the 308 II should be easy to turn. This ease of operation is primarily attributed to the vehicle’s cockpit layout, which includes a smaller steering wheel and a raised instrument cluster. Following the principles of leverage, wherein a smaller steering wheel requires greater effort to operate than a larger one, Peugeot has equipped the 308 with strong power assistance for the steering. As a result, the steering system may exhibit a certain level of responsiveness or sensitivity, which may take some time to become accustomed to.
It is advisable to inspect the fuse box located in the engine compartment for any signs of water infiltration. Moisture or corrosion can disrupt the ground connections within the fuse box, leading to various electrical malfunctions. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the fuse box remains dry and free from corrosion to prevent any potential issues with the vehicle’s electronic systems.
Prices: Inexpensive, not cheap
Approximately half of the available Peugeot 308s currently for sale in Germany are the spacious station wagon SW model, which is priced similarly to the five-door variant. There are options available within the price range of 6,500 to 8,000 euros, albeit with higher mileage. Depending on factors such as the engine type, mileage, and additional features, the majority of these vehicles fall within the price range of 10,000 to 15,000 euros.
While the maintenance and repair costs of the Peugeot 308 are relatively affordable, the insurance costs can be slightly higher. The insurance ratings for this model range from HP (Haftpflicht, liability insurance) 14-19, TK (Teilkasko, comprehensive insurance) 16-24, to FC (Vollkasko, full coverage insurance) 14-23.
Therefore, if you are comfortable with the ergonomics of the vehicle and seek an affordable car for regular use with a high level of comfort, the well-maintained Peugeot 308 presents an attractive alternative to models like the VW Golf. It not only offers financial advantages but also boasts a complete maintenance history.
Some practical individuals may question why they should opt for a used car that didn’t receive accolades during its production period. However, despite minor imperfections, hundreds of thousands of 308 drivers, particularly in France, have developed a fondness for this compact Peugeot. For those who delve deeper into the available options, there are reasonably priced Peugeot 308s, particularly the station wagon SW variant with a diesel engine, available for purchase.
|Peugeot 308 Puretech 130 Allure||Peugeot 308 e-HDI 115 Allure|
|Trunk volume||420 to 1228L||420 to 1228L|
|Displacement/engine||1199 cm³ / 3-cylinder||1560 cc / 4 cylinder|
|Performance||96 kW / 130 hp at 5500 rpm||85 kW / 115 hp at 3600 rpm|
|Top speed||201km/h||196 km/h|