Peugeot's new 308, a major new model, is due to go on sale in Britain this September. If it looks similar to the old 307 that's because, underneath at least, it is.
Both cars use the same body architecture (tall enough to allow for subsequent MPV spin-offs) although the 308 is actually 12mm lower, 85mm wider and 74mm longer than its predecessor. These slightly different dimensions gives the 308 a sleeker, sportier and slightly more athletic profile than before - it'll also benefit from bigger alloys as standard fit. We're a bit worried about those substantial sweeping A pillars though, they look good but could cause unnerving blindspots.
At launch, there'll be ten engine variations to choose between - five VTi petrols and five HDi diesels. Entry-level is with the 95bhp 1.4 litre petrol and the range goes on to include a 136bhp 2.0 litre turbo diesel. Other highlights come from the 1.6 litre HDi diesel unit capable of emitting just 120g/km CO2, and a high-end 1.6 litre petrol model packing 150bhp.
Alongside the five-door hatch, we can expect a three-door version to arrive in December and that will eventually benefit from a hot hatch rivalling 175bhp turbocharged petrol engine. There'll also be a 'CC' convertible with a metal folding roof, an estate for extra loading capacity, and an 'SW' MPV variant with seven seats. Basically, it's the same line up of body styles that we saw on the outgoing 307 - and why change a winning formula? Britain was the 307's second biggest market and the 308 is expected to become one of the top ten best selling cars here.
Inside, improved packaging has apparently allowed for more useable space in the cabin. The seat backs are slimmer to the benefit of rear legroom, and a condensed air conditioning unit means the dashboard takes up less room. A more upmarket feel should proliferate from higher-quality cabin materials which will be soft-feel all-round, from the entire centre console right down to the low level bins. Interestingly, in an attempt to create a subtle synergy between interior and exterior design, the bulging tongue-like V you'll notice on the bonnet has been echoed in the shape of the interior lights and gearlever surround.
Options will include Peugeot's new lane departure warning system, and we should expect more environmentally friendly biofuel models and possibly even a hybrid powertrain to come in time. Prices and specifications will be announced nearer to the launch date.