THE new Peugeot 308 five door hatchback goes on sale from 2 January and is potentially a sales rival to the Volkswagen Golf.
It is on average £2,000 cheaper than a new Golf and is £500 cheaper to buy than the outgoing 308 models despite having more specification.
The starter model to the new 308 range is actually £1,400 less than the starter price of the old range with prices beginning at £14,495 and going up to £24,045.
A range of SW estate models will be added to the 308 range mid 2014 and a GTi hot hatch version is also likely.
From launch the new 308 will be available with 1.2-litre 82bhp and 1.6-litre e-THP turbo 125 and 156bhp petrol units and with 1.6-litre 92 and 115bhp HDI turbodiesels.
From spring the line-up will expand with the arrival of the new 1.2-litre, three cylinder turbocharged 110 and 130bhp petrol units plus two new Blue HDI diesels, a 1.6-litre120bhp unit with CO2 emissions of just 82g/km offering up to 91.1mpg and a 2.0-litre, 150bhp, 108g/km version as well.
The most popular engine for now will be the 1.6-litre 92bp turbo diesel, which will account for 40 per cent of initial orders.
The new 308 C-segment five-door hatchback is the first Peugeot to use PSA Peugeot Citroen group's new EMP2 modular platform.
The new platform shortens the front overhang of the new 308 over its predecessor so the overall length is reduced slightly. Gone is the droopy heavy looking front nose.
With its new modern-looking face with its chrome surrounded grille flanked by stylish headlights, LED ones for some specification levels and distinctive daytime LED running lights for all versions, it has a refreshing new look.
The weight saving has given the 308 more agility and it felt nimble, helped by an improved response of the upgraded engines.
The front suspension coped better with absorbing our poor road surface bumps and potholes but the rear suspension didn't cope with the potholes quite as well.
Inside the new 308 the fascia has received radical changes. The new-age small diameter Peugeot steering wheel introduced successfully with their 208 supermini is used so the main instruments are viewed over the top of the wheel instead of through it.
I find this smaller wheel actually sharpens up the steering response requiring less input and I get better feedback, which plays a big part in its better overall agility.
The fascia has been de-cluttered of switches and controls and looks quite smart, if a little spartan and some of the plastic looks cheapish.
Much of the media presentation centred on how much time and development had gone into the new 308 to make it a more durable car.
Prototypes have covered over two million miles during testing in the aim to making it look and feel as-good-as-new after three years of use.
It is a vastly improved product but it still falls short of the high standards in terms of handling refinement provided by the new VW Golf and the Ford Focus.