Peugeot has gone for the latter approach with this revised 308, taking the opportunity to bring the look of the hatchback much closer to that of the latest 3008.
This means a new front end for the 308, with a revised bumper, bonnet and grille. LED daytime running lights are now standard, while the rear lights are also permanently illuminated on the updated car.
The changes go beyond the visual, though, with a new engine and gearbox arguably the most important.
The majority of the engine range is unchanged with four petrols ranging from a 108bhp 1.2 up to the GTI’s 270bhp 1.6-litre turbo, although the popular 1.2-litre 128bhp gets a new emissions reduction system with a 62.8mpg average and 82g/km.
The changes go beyond the visual, though, with a new engine and gearbox arguably the most important
Talking of which, while the entry-level 100bhp 1.6-litre and the pair of 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines continue, the limelight will be taken by a new 1.5-litre, 128bhp diesel that makes its debut appearance.
Although it won’t be available until November, this also features the same new emissions filtering system as the 1.2 petrol.
Peugeot claims it is more efficient than the old 118bhp 1.6-litre. With that model the cleanest in the 308 range with emissions of 82g/km and an average fuel economy of 88.3mpg, those improvements bode well.
Peugeot 308 will cost between £18,570 and £28,590
The Peugeot 308 (1.6TD) has a fuel economy of 88.3mpg
As well as a boost in economy, the new engine offers a welcome improvement on the road too. It is quieter and more relaxed than the older model and a smooth engine that pulls happily from lower speeds.
Overtaking slow vehicles will be no problem, but it is built for cruising more than regular rapid acceleration.
The most powerful 2.0-litre 178bhp diesel is the first engine in the 308 range to come with the other notable new addition – the eight-speed automatic gearbox.
This is much smoother than the older six-speed, with shifts much less perceptible. It’s also capable of putting itself into Park.
The engine itself is that bit quicker than the smaller diesel and the Driver Sport Pack on the GT allows you stay in gear that bit longer, sharpens the steering and increases the throttle responsiveness.
It also pipes the engine sound through the speakers but it’s an artificial noise on the diesel engine and is a reason to avoid popping the car into Sport mode.
This means the 308 has the same smooth ride as before, especially at higher speeds.
Only at lower speeds does the occasional pothole cause a jolt to come into the cabin, but it will be happy with the rural and motorway roads that an average British driver will face.
The Peugeot 308 (1.6 turbo 270bhp) can do 0 to 60mph in 5.8 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph
The small steering wheel and “i-Cockpit” set up that sits high up on the dash won’t be to everyone’s tastes but the steering is light and makes manoeuvring simple.
The other key additions to the new 308 are technological ones, with a raft of safety equipment added to the standard offering.
The hatch now comes with the same eight systems as the 3008, including blind spot monitoring, road sign recognition and display, adaptive cruise control and a lane departure system that is quick to activate and will keep you from drifting even slightly over the lines.
The touchscreen has been upgraded, too, and is now 9.7ins across. Every version from Active up comes with this system, and offers TomTom navigation.
Elsewhere the 308 remains physically unaltered, which means a cabin with plenty of storage dotted around and a vast glovebox in particular.
The boot remains huge, with a massive 470 litres of space while the SW estate is even bigger, with 660 litres of space or 1,775 litres with the seats folded.
These niggles are not new ones, though, and the additions and upgrades to the 308 only serve to make it a more tempting prospect.
If it delivers on its proposed improvement, then it will make the 308 more appealing than ever.
The Peugeot 308 CO2 emissions are 82-139g/km
On sale: September
Engines: Petrol – 1.2, 1.2 turbo, 1.6, 1.6 turbo, 1.6-litre turbo 270bhp; Turbo-diesel – 1.6, 1.5, 2.0, 2.0-litre 178bhp
Power: 0 to 60mph in 5.8 seconds, 155mph top speed (1.6 turbo 270bhp)
Fuel economy: 88.3mpg (1.6TD)
CO2 emissions: 82-139g/km
Rivals: Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Golf