The humble hatch has been a mainstay of the Peugeot range for decades. The 308, in particular, has proven to be a fine choice for all manner of drivers, particularly those who want good value for money alongside attractive styling and good engines. Now, there’s a new one that promises to bring even more style than before, as well as a more high-tech interior and the option of hybrid powertrains, too.
Peugeot has already sparked a new revolution with a whole variety of its cars, including the likes of the 208 and 2008, which have arrived with a bold new look that appears to have gone down a treat with buyers. It’s now the turn of the 308 which, as one of the firm’s core models, is particularly important to Peugeot. So what does it have to offer and, more importantly, what is it like to drive? We’ve been behind the wheel to find out.
Peugeot is big into choice when it comes to its cars, which is why you’ll find petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid setups all available with the 308. The former is made up of 1.2- and 1.5-litre units, with both pushing out 129bhp and sent through an eight-speed transmission - there’s no manual option with this latest generation 308.
The plug-in hybrid model will be the best option for those looking to reduce fuel costs, mind you. It uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine which is then combined with an electric motor for 222bhp and 360Nm of torque, with its 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds making it the quickest 308 in the range. It’ll also manage up to 200mpg if plugged in regularly, while CO2 emissions of 24g/km make it a very clean option.
Ride and handling
We’re behind the wheel of the plug-in hybrid here and it’s immediately noticeable when you start the car up and move away completely in silence. The electric motor itself kicks out a respectable 108bhp, so it’s got more than enough to keep the car going at slower speeds. The switch between EV power and the petrol engine is smooth, too, so you can barely notice when the pair chop and change.
The 308 is fitted with Peugeot’s now well-known smaller steering wheel, which feels a little strange for drivers that are new to the brand. However, it does work to make the car feel a touch more agile than if it were fitted with a conventional wheel. The 308 rides well though, which is particularly impressive given the extra weight that a plug-in hybrid powertrain brings and even more so when you consider that our test car rode large 18-inch wheels - the biggest available on the 308.
Our test car came in tip-top GT Premium specification which meant that all of the materials were of a top-notch quality. The new 10-inch infotainment system feels like a real departure from Peugeots of old, with its clear design and logical menus making it really easy to use. It’s nice to have the toggle-like paddles below it to give quick shortcuts to different areas of the screen as it means that changing settings isn’t a distracting operation to do on the move.
The new 308 is 11cm longer than before, too, which means that boot space has seen a hike. In the regular car you get 412 litres, though because of the batteries the hybrid does suffer a slight penalty, returning 361 litres of luggage space as a result. It does mean that if outright space is what you’re after, you may be best served by choosing the petrol or diesel-powered version.
Regardless of which specification you opt for, there’s plenty of kit fitted as standard to the 308. Even entry-level Active Premium models benefit from LED headlights, 16-inch wheels and that 10-inch touchscreen. Considering prices start from £24,635, this is a very respectable amount of standard equipment.
Step up to mid-range Allure Premium and you’ll find adaptive cruise control added alongside wireless smartphone charging and keyless entry, while GT Premium-grade cars incorporate a 360-degree camera, 18-inch alloy wheels and a Focal sound system, which really does add a whole premium element to the 308’s interior sound.
Prices for the 308 start from £24,635, which is a respectable starting price given the level of standard equipment on offer. Move up to Allure Premium and the price rises to £27,385, while top-spec GT Premium cars commence from £30,885. At this price, the value-for-money aspect of the 308 begins to diminish, so if you are after a better deal then the lower-spec versions make for a more appropriate choice.
It’s worth budgeting extra if you’re after the plug-in hybrid, too. They command a £6,000 premium over the equivalent petrol model, so you’ll have to work out whether the ability to run on electric-only power will offset this additional cost.
It does look like Peugeot has hit the nail on the head yet again with the new 308. It’s more stylish than its predecessor, but the whole interior really does represent a move upmarket that buyers will appreciate. The uplift in technology is really pleasing, too.
The addition of hybrid powertrains will no doubt tempt company car users and those who want to reduce fuel bills, too. Overall, the 308 feels like a fitting attribute to the Peugeot line-up.Enquire on a new Peugeot 308