Redesigned front bumper loses wide-mouth grille.
Redesigned front bumper loses wide-mouth grille.
Changes to the rear end are far subtler.
Changes to the rear end are far subtler.

Peugeot is shifting swiftly into its new, somewhat simpler design direction first seen on the SR1 concept and then on its new 508 flagship. The intention is to create cars that are easier on the eye by getting rid of all the visual clutter and now the Peugeot 308 is adopting this family look.

Although the basic shape of Peugeot's intended Golf gobbler remains unchanged, the all new frontal area sheds that wide-mouth grille that made it look like an automotive swamp monster in favour of an arguably more elegant design. The key change here is a redesigned front bumper with a smaller grille, shapelier headlights that house LEDs and a more chiselled bonnet crease that flows into the bumper.

More than just a facial nip and tuck, however, the 308 has also been put on a diet, Peugeot having reduced the weight on all models by an average of 25kg. Further aiding efficiency are new 16-inch ultra-low-rolling-resistance tyres and all engines have been optimised to meet the Euro5 emissions standard, albeit outputs remain the same.

European markets also get a 'micro-hybrid' e-HDi model that emits just 98g/km of CO2 (the lowest in its segment) thanks to a super-efficient 84kW 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine mated to an idle-stop system.

As before, the 308 will be available either as a hatchback, coupe-cabriolet (CC) or estate (SW). Expect it to arrive in South Africa later in 2011 with a range that mirrors today's line-up, with an 88kW 1.6 VTi base model, 80kW 1.6 HDI turbodiesel, 115kW 1.6 turbo petrol and a 147kW version of the latter in the GTI.