What is it?
Peugeot has truly been revolutionised in recent years, with its models becoming more stylish and upmarket – and now closer to knocking on the doors of premium brands.
It was the previous 308 that helped to kickstart this change, and it’s something Peugeot will be hoping to continue with this latest model. But with the pace of change being particularly quick in this family hatchback class, and the old 308 starting to feel its age, can this new model get Peugeot back on the right track?
There are plenty of changes that have taken place with the new Peugeot 308, and perhaps most importantly is the addition of a pair of plug-in hybrids. These are the first electrified setups to feature in a 308, and are set to prove popular, particularly considering this model’s importance to the fleet market.
This new 308 is also the first Peugeot to wear the brand’s new logo, while other important changes include a new infotainment system.
What’s under the bonnet?
Though hybrids are of particular importance here, Peugeot will also sell you a 128bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine, as well as a motorway-friendly 128bhp 1.5-litre diesel.
But for the hybrids, Peugeot has combined a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. There are two power outputs available – 178bhp and 222bhp, though both offer similar performance, with 0-60mph taking around 7.5 seconds.
With Peugeot claiming an electric range of up to 37 miles, there’s scope for some very low running costs, with CO2 emissions of under 30g/km putting the 308 in a low company car tax bracket.
What’s it like to drive?
Here we’re trying the top 222bhp hybrid version, and providing the battery is charged, it’s more than happy to pootle around on electricity, while the switch between petrol and electricity is smooth too.
It handled nicely, while the ride was very good considering our car was sitting on the largest 18-inch alloy wheels. Just make sure you can get comfortable behind the wheel, because Peugeot’s combination of a small steering wheel and high-positioned digital dials can make it difficult to find a perfect driving position.
How does it look?
Peugeot’s designs are some of the boldest around, and if you want a family hatchback to stand out from the class, the 308 is a great choice. Headed up by its frameless front grille and large vertical LED lights, it certainly commands plenty of presence out on the road.
Adding to this are its sharp crease lines, 3D rear lights and low roofline, all of which make the 308 arguably a far more sportier-looking option than the multitude of crossovers on the market.
What’s it like inside?
Peugeot has really worked hard to lift the quality of the 308’s cabin, and particularly on our top-spec GT Premium test car, it certainly looked the part. With lashings of Alcantara, leather and aluminium elements, this model feels worthy of rivalling some German brands in this area.
The new 10-inch touchscreen is also a big improvement, being clear and far quicker to use than Peugeot’s older system. With this new 308 being 11cm longer than before, it’s roomier inside too, with the boot measuring an impressive 412 litres, though you lose some of that area with the hybrid, which offers 361 litres of space instead.
What’s the spec like?
All 308s get plenty of equipment, with the entry-level Active Premium grade still getting climate control, rear parking sensors, a 10-inch digital instrument cluster and LED headlights.
Allure then adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera and satellite navigation, with the Allure Premium bringing wireless smartphone charging, keyless entry and adaptive cruise control.
If you want a sportier look, choose the GT, which is equipped with full matrix LED headlights, a heated steering wheel and 18-inch alloy wheels. At the top of the range, the GT Premium comes with a 360-degree camera system, a Focal sound system and an electric and massaging driver’s seat.
Peugeot has another great product on its hands with the new 308. It feels more upmarket than ever, while the level of technology and style makes it more than capable of rivalling the best in this segment.
The addition of plug-in hybrids is welcome too, and these will make a lot of sense, regardless of whether you’re a private buyer or fleet user.