What is it?
Peugeot has always been accomplished at making hatchbacks that fit into a variety of different requirements. But it now faces a new challenge - transforming these models into battery-powered versions that still deliver the same day-to-day usability that people expect.
Case in point, the new e-308. It’s an electric version of one of Peugeot’s most popular hatchbacks and one which forms a core pillar of its battery-powered line-up. We’ve been finding out what this striking new model is like.
Peugeot isn’t going down the all-electric route - well, not quite yet - which means that you’ll still be able to get the 308 with a petrol or plug-in hybrid setup should this battery-powered version not fit the bill.
But the good news is that regardless of which model you opt for you’re getting the same striking design which incorporates some of Peugeot’s latest styling touches. It’s also helped no end by a high-tech interior which features plenty of equipment but the same level of practicality that we’ve come to expect from Peugeot hatches.
What’s under the bonnet?
The e-308 uses a setup that you’ll soon find across many of the products within the Stellantis group. There’s a front-mounted electric motor with 154bhp and 270Nm of torque, enabling a 0-60mph time of 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 106mph. They’re both performance figures which are par for the course and what we’d expect from a petrol-powered version too.
Because of the 54kWh battery, the e-308 also comes with a range of up to 257 miles. An important factor is the e-308’s 100kW charge time, meaning that a 20 to 80 per cent charge could be sorted in half an hour. Use a home wallbox and you’ll manage the same state of charge in four hours and 25 minutes.
What’s it like to drive?
Things are very familiar inside the cabin of the e-308. It’s got the same driving position and control location as the standard petrol-powered car, so it’s easy to get at home. The electric motor delivers its power in a smooth, easy fashion and it doesn’t feel too quick. It’s far more like a ‘regular’ hatchback, in fact, and so could prove a great ‘first EV’ as a result.
It is, of course, heavier than the standard petrol-powered 308 - around 400kg heavier, in fact - but Peugeot has managed to disguise this extra weight well. It’s no less comfortable and does well to keep body roll in check even through tighter bends.
How does it look?
Peugeot hasn’t gone to town in making the e-308 look considerably different to the standard car and that’s no bad thing as it still looks superb, in our eyes at least. It makes quite a statement out on the road for such a compact vehicle, with Peugeot’s now-signature ‘claw’ running lights being a core part of the e-308’s design.
The e-308 does get its own wheel design exclusive to this battery-powered version, while some smaller badges are dotted here and there. It’s great if you don’t want an EV which shouts about its plug-in nature, but less ideal if you like a quirkier-looking electric car.
What’s it like inside?
However, if you want some cool-looking features then head inside the e-308. It’s got the same i-cockpit setup - which combines a small steering wheel with a digital dashboard - that does take some getting used to if you’re not used to it. However, once you’re up to speed you’ll find dials that are clear and easy to read, it just takes a bit of adjustment to make sure the wheel isn’t blocking them.
The quality is good, too, with lots of soft-touch materials used throughout. There’s a 361-litre boot to play with as well, though this is slightly smaller than the one you’ll find in standard 308 models. It’s still square and easy to access, mind you.
What’s the spec like?
There are two trim levels available with the e-308 - Allure and GT. However, regardless of the specifications you’re getting plenty of standard equipment such as a 10-inch touchscreen with configurable ‘i-toggle’ buttons and a 10-inch digital instrument cluster. A great standard feature is the heated seats and heated steering wheel which both work to boost the comfort levels of the e-308.
Move to GT grade and you’ll get a smattering of sportier touches alongside full Matrix LED headlights and Alcantara seats. In truth, you’ve got more than enough as standard on the regular models.
As we touched upon, the e-308 feels like the kind of electric car which could easily slot into the space left by a traditional petrol or diesel. It’s got a good amount of range, has a pleasantly fitted interior and feels comfortable to drive. Throw in some sharp exterior looks and you have a very appealing package.
The fact that there’s so much standard equipment is a real bonus and, as a first electric vehicle, you could do a lot worse than to opt for the e-308.