Forgive the slightly strange specification of this 308 - top-line ‘Feline' trim matched to the small 115bhp, 1.6-litre e-HDI diesel - and underneath there's actually a really very comforting little car. It's inoffensively handsome on the outside, clean and modern inside and feels very nicely put together. But the real surprise is that it's so relaxing. It's got a bit of sleepy character.
Whether dribbling through a thick flock of town traffic, or thrumming happily along a motorway, the 308's 1.6-litre and six-speed 'box are more than up to the task. No, there's not a huge surfeit of power, but the torque is real-world useful and the relative weights of the control surfaces (steering, clutch and 'box) all make this a very easy car to drive, and feel lightly happy doing so.
It also rides nicely, even on the 18-inch wheels, soaking through speed bumps and taking larger oscillations in its stride, and we managed 64mpg on a variety of roads. The tiny steering wheel takes some getting used to, and the touchscreen can get slightly irritating, but generally the 308's sweet spot seems to be small diesel and manual.
Just be aware that you can get this engine in Access trim for £17,245. It does without some of the tinsel, but might make the most sense in the end.
Verdict: A rather pleasant surprise: comfortable, well-judged and good to drive. Only the toppy price makes you wince.
Stats: 1560cc, 4cyl TD, FWD, 115bhp, 199lb ft, 74.3mpg, 100g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 11.9secs, 118mph, 1395kg, £21,745