There's well-executed storage space up front and in the back, enough head and leg room for a couple of large adults, though the centre position is really only suitable for a child. The boot, at 470 litres is large, but shallow, with space for a spare wheel under the floor.
Unlike much of the opposition (Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, VW Golf GTI, Seat Leon Cupra), the Peugeot 308 hasn't got an independent rear suspension and instead uses a twist-beam arrangement, which is simple and light, but can result in some lively reactions to lifting off the throttle mid corner. The front end uses the ubiquitous McPherson struts, with tweaked geometry to give negative scrub radius to reduce the tugging effects of power at the steering wheel, though it often leaves the steering feeling slightly dead. Of the trick separation of the steering knuckle and suspension strut used by rivals such as the Honda, there is no sign, nor does the Peugeot sport advanced ground-hugging aerodynamic devices, or four-wheel drive, but it does have a Torsen geared limited-slip differential in the front axle to prevent runaway wheelspin. The engine is the much modified BMW/Peugeot 1.6-litre, four cylinder turbo petrol driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
Fire it up and it idles with a purposeful growl that can be electronically enhanced by pushing the Sport button, which also sharpens the throttle response. While the raw data is credible, this 266bhp/243lb ft unit gives this 1.2-tonne car a top speed of 155mph and 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds, it's also in quite a peaky state of tune and isn't really pulling strongly until you are approaching 3,000rpm. That would be fine if the gearbox were as slick as the opposition, but it isn't, quite. The gate is rather vague and not strongly sprung, and you need to have a care not to catastrophically wrong-slot the lever, especially between second and third gears.
The ride feels firm without being as uncomfortable as some rivals (you know who you are, Honda). Michelin Super Sport tyres on 19-inch rims will let you know all about potholes, but they don't fire road vibrations through to the major controls and, my days they've got some grip! On the Ascari Race Resort track near Ronda in Southern Spain, they clung tenaciously to the track, resisting at least some of the tendency for the tail to fly out on a trailing throttle and for the nose to run wide. Yes, the front will wash out to the outside of corners if you aren't gentle with the steering, but the tyres and that remarkable Torsen differential will try to pull the nose through the turns. And while the tail will eventually slide out, it's reasonably benign and the stability controls resist the worse excess.