From £21,2757
How convincing is this new family hatchback in plush plug-in hybrid form?
Matt Prior
25 November 2021

What is it?

This early example of the new Peugeot 308 is in the UK but still left-hand drive.

It’s a range-topping plug-in hybrid with 222bhp overall, 178bhp of that coming from a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine and the rest an electric motor, both driving the front wheels through an eight-speed auto gearbox.

There’s a 12.4kWh battery at the back that gives 36 miles of electric-only range. It charges at 3.7kW max, with 7.4kW capability a £300 option. A fully electric 308 will come in 2023, while for now there’s also a 128bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol and a 128bhp 1.5-litre diesel, plus a 178bhp PHEV.

What's it like?

The new 308 feels plush from the driving seat. It uses good materials and is strikingly designed, with Peugeot’s trademark small and low- set steering wheel, squared off at the top so you can see the dials, which get some swanky 3D elements. I quite like the instruments, but if you have to make the wheel square for them to be seen, maybe don’t put them there?

Ditto some of the infotainment touchscreen elements. To make navigating the system easier, there are several touch-sensitive icons beneath the screen, then an array of buttons beneath that. But it’s possible that adjusting the temperature was at least one click away from visible, which is unforgivable.

A member of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf class, the 308 is a longer car than the model it replaces by 105mm. But despite its longer wheelbase, it isn’t hugely accommodating in the rear, although the boot is generous, at 412 litres.

It’s quite good to drive, though. The ride is agreeably supple but tightly controlled, in a manner not unlike that of the Focus or the Kia Ceed, although more leaden, because of the 1687kg kerb weight (399kg more than the 1.2 Puretech).

The PHEV powertrain is smooth and responsive – and even on low battery charge, the engine drops out pleasingly often in town.

Brake modulation between regeneration and disc use, though, is poor. This could still be tweaked before the car goes on sale in January.

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Should I buy one?

The plug-in powertrain is strong, and the car good to drive, though rear accommodation is stingy and the user interface clunky. 

The 308 doesn’t get much pricier than the version seen here, at £37,135, but the range will start at a palatable £24,000. If there is a sweet spot in the line-up, we're not sure it is this - though that may change once we sample a right-hand drive variant tuned for our roads.

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xxxx 26 November 2021

37k just insane, although at a ridiculous 1700kg for a focus size hatch pound per kilo isn't so bad, lol. I think it's heavier than the bigger Tesla Model 3 and only a few grand cheaper.

So unless it's got a battery add on it's a 1.2 or rattling diesel then, oh hum. Still better than the massive deprication you'll get with this effort. 37k, gives me night mares just typing it ever time. 

Rick Maverick 26 November 2021

Where most, if not all, automotive websites do some countryside cruising with new models, it's Spanish KM77 that puts a car to real (road)tests conditions. F.i. a moose test. As a result, millions of viewers could and can witness the engineering greatness of Peugeot. How so? The car this 308 III replaces, the 308 II, has one of the best tuned chassis in the business (outclassing all it's rivals in the process). It's a fair assumption the III will not be too far off that mark. Among other C segment vehicles, the Golf VIII performed ex-tre-me-ly poor.  

Bimfan 25 November 2021

Pretty unremarkable PHEV performance (and charge rate), certainly compared to its 508 stable mate, but the real problem with these Peugeots for me, is that stupid insistence of the instruments being above the steering wheel rather than viewed through it. If they want to have a higher up display, then HUD is the way to go. This arrangement only suits either very short or very tall people and the wheel restricts ingress/egress for the tall ones.

I will never buy Peugeot while this plainly wrong layout is used. 

Rick Maverick 26 November 2021
Bimfan wrote:

...... but the real problem with these Peugeots for me, is that stupid insistence of the instruments being above the steering wheel .....

I will never buy Peugeot while this plainly wrong layout is used. 

You have no idea how many BMW drivers switched to Peugeot, with the dash set-up as one of the many temptations. 

xxxx 29 November 2021
Rick Maverick wrote:

Bimfan wrote:

...... but the real problem with these Peugeots for me, is that stupid insistence of the instruments being above the steering wheel .....

I will never buy Peugeot while this plainly wrong layout is used. 

You have no idea how many BMW drivers switched to Peugeot, with the dash set-up as one of the many temptations. 

Love a stat, go on then how many?