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Peugeot 308 vs Volkswagen Golf vs Honda Civic

As diesel continues to be demonised, there’s a flourishing trend of buyers creation a switch to petrol power. From superminis to SUVs, efficient, downsized turbo petrol engines are putting brazen a box for themselves, yet a evergreen family hatchback is one of a sectors where they make many sense.

This is one of a many opposition areas of a new automobile market, and as a outcome a models accessible are constantly removing improved – as proven by a contingent of good cars we’re contrast here.

• Best hatchbacks on sale

The latest Peugeot 308 is a newest of a three, and while a new facelift was usually mild, a French induce continues to offer a tip brew of space, comfort and equipment. Then there’s a Volkswagen Golf. It was updated final year with some new tech and a pointed revised look, usually like a Peugeot, yet here we’re contrast a latest 128bhp 1.5-litre petrol chronicle for a initial time. It goes adult opposite a proven 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder petrol 308, yet it also faces foe from Honda in a form of a Civic, that has a 1.0-litre section that matches a other cars for power.

If we don’t wish to buy a diesel due to fears about taxation in a future, these are 3 constrained choices. But that one comes out on top? 

Peugeot 308

Peugeot 308 - front

The Peugeot 308 has been around given 2014, yet a facelift in 2017 brought it behind adult to date with revised infotainment and some pointed extraneous changes. Here we’re contrast a 129bhp 1.2-litre petrol indication in GT Line trim, that costs from £22,390.

All 3 of a contenders here have usually underneath 130bhp on tap, yet a 129bhp Peugeot is a many absolute choice, by usually 1bhp, and has a many torque during 230Nm; a Civic and a Golf both offer adult 200Nm.

Peugeot 308 - rear

That helped a 308 to scurry from 0-60mph during a exam lane in 9.5 seconds, that was a tenth faster than a Golf and 6 tenths adult on a Civic. This advantage is also partly down to a low kerbweight of usually 1,089kg, compared with a Golf’s 1,280kg and a Civic’s 1,275kg.

However, it wasn’t a best performer going adult by a gears: a 308 took 9.1 seconds to cover 30-70mph, somewhat slower than a Honda’s 8.9 seconds and a Golf’s 8.8 seconds. It also matched a heavier Honda from 30-50mph in fourth and 50-70mph in fifth: both cars took 6.3 seconds and 8.9 seconds respectively, while a Golf finished those tests in 6.1 seconds and 9.3 seconds.

Even if a French model’s six-speed box isn’t a nicest to use, it’s no duty to dump down a rigging and accelerate with a 308’s 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit. It’s unequivocally a many enchanting engine of a 3 in this exam as it feels some-more manageable and revvier, while also portion adult good mid-range grunt.

Peugeot 308 - dash

The 308’s low kerbweight helps a handling. Its discerning steering and that tiny circle minister towards a comparatively nimble feel, yet there’s not many feedback with a Peugeot and a framework isn’t as grippy as a Honda’s.

It’s closer to a Golf’s some-more neutral feel, yet eventually a 308 ends adult in between a some-more gentle Golf and sportier Civic. The disproportion unequivocally is minimal, though, and all 3 models are comfy enough, yet can still prove penetrating drivers.

Testers’ notes: “Despite infotainment complement updates, Peugeot hasn’t bound one of a unit’s vital flaws: a laggy shade that controls a heating and ventilation, that isn’t apart to a rest of a set-up.” 

Volkswagen Golf 

Volkswagen Golf - front

The Volkswagen Golf was a second many purebred automobile in Britain in 2017, and it’s easy to see why: a evergreen hatchback is as spacious, gentle and good to expostulate as ever. Last year’s facelift combined this new 1.5-litre engine, updated infotainment and some-more reserve features. Here we’re contrast a 1.5 TSI EVO 130 indication in SE Navigation spec, that costs from £22,255.

The teenager changes to a Golf’s coming are mirrored in a approach it drives, since a VW is gentle and refined, yet also good from behind a wheel.

Volkswagen Golf - rear

The 1.5-litre TSI engine is a shining further to a range; it’s really quiet, well-spoken and put in a good display in a opening tests. It was a fastest automobile of a 3 from 30-70mph by a gears, holding 8.8 seconds to a Honda’s 8.9 seconds and a 308’s 9.1 seconds. That’s helped by a honeyed six-speed manual’s change action, since we have to be some-more process with a box in a Peugeot.

Even so, a Golf did tumble behind a 308 and Civic from 50-70mph in fifth gear, holding 9.3 seconds, while a rivals both finished a exam in 8.9 seconds. In a genuine universe there’s really small to apart them, however, and all feel punchy enough.

You don’t need to work a engine too tough to make progress, since limit torque of 200Nm arrives during usually 1,400rpm; many reduce than in possibly competitor. That means a automobile picks adult gait simply though carrying to change down, and it also helps keep things still inside; it’s one of a 1.5 TSI’s best aspects, and a Golf is quieter than both rivals as a result.

Volkswagen Golf - dash

The approach and good weighted steering means a Volkswagen responds good on turn-in, and there’s copiousness of reason and good physique control. It’s not utterly as enchanting to expostulate quick as a Honda, yet there’s not many in it. The genuine strength of a Golf is a approach it blends that ability with excellence and comfort; it rides some-more uniformly than a 308 in particular, interesting bumps in a highway aspect admirably.

Testers’ notes: “The Golf’s 1.5-litre TSI engine is a usually four-cylinder section here. It facilities crafty tech that can deactivate dual cylinders to assistance boost efficiency, shown by a low claimed CO2 emissions.” 

Honda Civic 

Honda Civic - front

The 10th-generation Honda Civic tender in 2017 interjection to a enchanting doing and atmospheric interior. The sporty Type R chronicle is a favourite prohibited hatch, and a DNA filters down into this customary model. Here we’re contrast a 1.0-litre chronicle in EX trim, that starts from £23,615 (although a cinema uncover an SR model).

Honda has followed a attention trend of downsizing a engines for a latest Civic, so this one is powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine with a turbocharger to urge energy and torque reduce down in a rev range. It’s punchy from 2,250rpm, where a limit torque is delivered from, and feels means to keep adult with a larger-capacity rivals on a road, nonetheless it did route them in some of a opening tests.

Honda Civic - rear

It was half a second slower from 0-60mph than a Golf, with a time of 10.1 seconds. However, a Honda was usually a tenth behind a VW in a 30-70mph scurry and dual tenths faster than a 308, helped by that lovely, accurate gearbox.

The tighten total uncover that there’s not too many disproportion in terms of opening between a 3 rivals, yet a Honda does have a advantage here for penetrating drivers since it’s a many fun car.

The low pushing position is gentle and feels sporty, while a steering is good weighted and quick in a response, charity a best feel. There’s lots of reason on offer and a crafty torque vectoring record helps a automobile reason a line by corners. It’s good tranquil in terms of physique hurl interjection to a dampers’ sportier setting, and a Honda is some-more flexible than possibly opposition in this exam as a result.

Honda Civic - dash

In comfort mode it’s discriminating and smooth, with a comparatively agreeable ride, nonetheless a sound tests showed a Civic was a small louder during 70mph than a rivals. The 1.0-litre turbo sits during aloft revs during that speed, that contributes to that additional noise.

However, it’s a peaceful engine and is some-more characterful than a Golf’s four-cylinder 1.5-litre unit, yet not as fun as a 1.2 in a 308. The primer gearshift is fantastic, and has a accurate movement that’s improved than in roughly any other hatchback on sale. 

Testers’ notes: “The Honda has a smallest fuel tank of a 3 cars here, during 46 litres. That means you’ll indeed finish adult stuffing it adult some-more mostly than a 308, notwithstanding a improved economy figure.” 


First place: Volkswagen Golf

It’s a really tighten outcome between these 3 family hatchbacks, yet a Golf is so good in so many areas that it will make a many clarity for some-more people. It’s comfortable, refined, good to drive, good versed and good value, and a latest infotainment complement is one of a best on a marketplace during any price. The Golf manages all that while still being unsentimental adequate for many owners. 

Second place: Honda Civic

The latest Civic isn’t as good dull as a Golf, while a infotainment complement is a genuine letdown, yet it’s some-more unsentimental and fun to expostulate than a VW. It finishes forward of a 308 interjection to reduce using costs and enchanting handling, while a opening is clever adequate to compare a 308. Although it’s not as discriminating as a VW, it’s still discriminating and comfortable. 

Third place: Peugeot 308

The 308 is unsentimental and stylish, yet not as achieved as a Golf, so it loses out here. It’s not as good to expostulate as a Civic, and nonetheless a list cost is competitive, Peugeot’s PCP deals can’t compare Honda’s. The PureTech is a best engine of a 3 and a 308 achieved well, yet it trails on value, while a updated infotainment isn’t adequate of an improvement. 

Other options in this category… 

Vauxhall Astra 1.4i Elite Nav 150PS

Best hatchbacks 2017/2018 - Vauxhall Astra

Price: £22,135
Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl, 148bhp

With a plain pushing dynamics, clever comfort and considerable space, a Vauxhall Astra is value a look. The 1.4-litre petrol in Elite Nav trim is good value, since it’s as good kitted out as a pricier exam cars. You also get some-more power.

Renault Megane 1.2 TCe Signature Nav

Renault Megane prolonged tenure exam - front

Price: £21,790
Engine: 1.2-litre 4cyl, 128bhp

The 1.2-litre petrol Megane is a compare for a 3 contenders in a test, and it’s scarcely as good versed as a Astra, too. In addition, a Renault has character on a side, and offers something opposite again in this class. 


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