Peugeot now on its marks: 308 MkII

Peugeot 308 MkII 1Peugeot may have finally rectified years of poor performance in Europe’s second-largest car sector with the all-new 308 hatch.

Not before time: the corking 306 was a long time ago. It was replaced with the dreary 307 which itself was replaced by what was essentially a heavy facelift: the 308 had a Golf-matching interior but was otherwise just as compromised in packaging, looks and general appeal.

Quite nice, as I found out when I ran one as a long-termer, but with obvious flaws. It was no VW Golf.

Peugeot 308 MkII 2

In ditching the blind-alley ‘semi-tall’ design theme, Peugeot has instantly given the 308 a much better shot at success. It boasts the same pretty style cues as the 208, and an all-new platform means unforgivably inadequate rear space should be a thing of the past.

Yes, from first look, I like it. The interior is modern, the tech makeup sounds promising and, joy of joy, it even has instrument dial intrigue in its reverse-flick rev counter.

Peugeot 308 MkII 5

More significantly though, as discussed on Twitter, it becomes the first modern Peugeot to carry through the new naming policy. There will no longer be sequential numbering for new model lines: instead, the brand will stick to the same ’08’ names for its mainstream cars across generations.

What does this mean? That Peugeot now follows that most famous family hatch of all, the Golf, and becomes a ‘mark car’. This is the MkII 308. In four decades’ time, it may be talked about in the same way a MkII Golf is. The MkVIII 308 may use it as a styling benchmark in its battle against the MkXII Golf.

‘Mark two 308’ marks a change for Peugeot, initiated mainly because it had run out of numbers, but also hopefully because it’s now focused on consistency. No more jumping sectors and going from 305 to 309. No more binning everything that made the 306 such a hit in replacing it with the 307.

What’s made the Golf such a lasting icon? Why, evolution. Not revolution. Peugeot, this is your chance to build that.

On your marks…