CAR REVIEW: Peugeot’s new trending SUV 308 hatch bucks

PEUGEOT’s new 308 small family car is the latest manifestation of the highly successful brand with more than seven million sales worldwide across generations: the first introduced in 2007 as a replacement for the 307, the second in 2013 (Crowned 2014 European Car of the Year), and the third in 2021 that saw the inclusion of a hybrid powertrain.

The 308 has always been considered one of the best-looking small cars on the market, but with this latest model, Lion Brand has dared to change the shape of the body quite drastically. The car appears dynamic from all angles. Powerful and simply beautiful! The new design contrasts with the current trend of upgrading cars to Crossovers or SUVs.

The styling change includes an extended 55mm wheelbase that stretches the car’s silhouette and offers more space for rear passengers and a 412-litre boot that can expand to 1,323-litres with the rear seats folded down. There is another 28 liters of storage space under the floor.

The 20mm height reduction gives the hatchback a sleeker, almost coupe-like silhouette, but means taller people will duck their heads getting in and out. However, actual rear head and legroom is good.

The car is also the first vehicle to carry Peugeot’s new lion shield logo, which is displayed on the radiator grille and has the 308 monogram on the bonnet. All variants are equipped with LED headlights complemented by huge vertical LED daytime running lights, as well as a long list of standard items.

The interior is absolutely top notch in design and execution. Premium materials are evident throughout. I liked the ambient lighting strip on the doors, the green stitching on the steering wheel, and the seats, which are comfortable and supportive, and come with manual adjustments.

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All essential driver information is beautifully displayed on the new 10-inch instrument panel, located at eye level. In the higher GT grade, go into the third dimension with the 3D i-Cockpit with various display modes (navigation, radio/media, driver assistance, power flow, etc.). I have to raise my seat to get the best driving position and I could almost see the digital speed on the screen above the compact (heatable) steering wheel. A row of switches below the 10-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are for your favorite shortcuts to setting the air conditioning, phone contact, radio stations. The system also includes a new digital head-up display.

My GT-spec car had four USB C outlets and a wireless charging pad. (Other specs are Active and Allure, all of which come with generous spec levels.)

While there was no blind spot alert, there was a good backup camera and front and rear parking sensors.

The driving modes are Sport, Hybrid and Electric.

While there are 1.2 petrol and 1.5 diesel options on offer, my last review car was the 1.6 petrol plug-in hybrid (PHEV) which makes 150bhp but the PHEV system of an 81kW electric motor and 12.4kWh battery electric provides some power Combined 180bhp and 360Nm of torque. All engines are paired with Peugeot’s excellent e-EAT8 automatic transmission.

This version was in the A1 tax band of €140 and was priced at €46,190. A more powerful and expensive 225 hp version is also offered in the GT version.

On the road I found the 1.6 308 PHEV to be a very refined car with plenty of power available with that added boost from the electric motor over the 1.2 petrol. Gear changes are smooth. Another benefit is that it can travel up to 60km on electric alone, which will suit those with shorter work commutes. But for this, you will have to recharge the battery every night.

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With a 7.4 kW Wall Box, a full charge takes 3 hours and 25 minutes; from a high power socket (16A, 220V) it takes 3h 55min, and from a standard socket (8A) a full charge takes 7h with the single-phase on-board charger (3.7 kW).

The 308 for Europe received four stars from Euro NCAP in 2022.

An all-electric version is expected later this year.


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