From £21,2758
One of the more entertaining cars in its class, and with an attractive, if ergonomically mixed, interior

What is it?

This early production Peugeot 308 was made available to us for Car of the Year assessment (the winner of which title will be announced on 28 February).

On the seven-car shortlist, the Peugeot is the only internally combusting competitor, and although there’s a Peugeot 308 plug-in hybrid variant and a fully electric Peugeot e-308 coming, they don’t get more internally combusting than this Puretech 130 GT variant.

It has a 129bhp turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine driving via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. A manual ’box is available abroad in lower specifications, but all UK cars will be auto-only.

The 308 is a traditional small family hatchback – that most conventional and still appealing sector of the market. An estate, badged the SW, will arrive at the same time as the hatch in April. It’s a compact 4.37m long (the SW 4.65m) and 1.85m wide across the body.

The Puretech 130 hatch starts at £24,365 in the UK, but GT trim is one rung down from the range-topping GT Premium and costs £29,285. It officially puts out 130g/km of CO2.

2 Peugeot 308 puretech 130 gt 2022 uk review side pan

What's it like?

I like the look of the inside of the latest 308. All variants get a 10in central touchscreen, which is asked to do too much, but there’s a separate audio volume knob and a small row of physical buttons, while a set of touchable shortcuts on higher-spec models can be customised as you like. The main touchscreen display is configurable too, so it could be worse.

Then again, it could be better: there’s a set of blanks on the dashboard that would be ripe for lane keeping assistance and instrument-dimmer buttons if Peugeot were so inclined; and a real switch for controlling the temperature would be fab too, making it easier to change these things while still looking up the road.

The driving position is good if you like the concept but still not to everyone’s taste. It doesn’t really work for me without having the diddy steering wheel set curiously low, like in a dodgem, so that I can see the instruments over it.

The 3D instrument pack is attractive but can look too busy; but again, you can turn off elements of it so that the speedometer takes a slightly higher prominence.

Material quality is high, while there’s nice ambient lighting and good oddment storage, albeit only average rear passenger space. And it’s nice to have buttons on the steering wheel; in too many competitor cars (Volkswagen Group ones, notably), it’s easy to mis-swipe or touch an icon while turning the wheel.

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It’s a wheel that turns easily and quickly, too. The 308 is an agile car, with light and responsive steering that doesn’t really take on extra weight or road feel, which adds to the impression of nimbleness.

It feels like the centre of gravity is low and manoeuvrability is high, at the expense of the kind of straight- line stability that you would feel in the Volkswagen Golf.

The ride is pretty good – quite firm in an almost Ford Focus-ish way, in that it offers reasonable control with a respectable compliance.

The 1.2-litre engine makes an eager thrum, muted but pleasant. Left to its own devices, the gearbox hunts a bit, owing to the pressure, I imagine, on economy and emissions – so it’s always wondering which is the lowest gear it can get away with. But there are wheel-mounted shift paddles and the ’box is responsive if you take control yourself.

5 Peugeot 308 puretech 130 gt 2022 uk review dashboard

Should I buy one?

Do so and what you’re looking at is probably the most fun car to drive out of this year’s Car of the Year crop. That isn’t the compliment that it would have been in other years, but I like it, and it’s a solid effort in the class.

It will want a back-to-back test but, to my mind, it probably has the measure of the Mk8 Golf. Although perhaps not the Mk7 Golf, which is a mark of where things are.

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11 Peugeot 308 puretech 130 gt 2022 uk review cornering rear

PRICES & SPECS

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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Comments
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superstevie 23 February 2022

I do like this, but I think it looks better in the estate form. I like that Peugeot have multiple options for this car in terms of engines. I know some would like a higher powered petrol only version, but I am guessing that they don't have one that meets current emissions or want to design/build one. 

xxxx 23 February 2022

Would hope manufacturers would have learnt by now that touch screens are a safety nightmare, and to make matters worse the touch screen is under the vents, to low, just look at volvo and most others as to how to do it. Emm a GT model that scraps in sub 10 second barrier to 60 time emmm. Where's a decent manual 4 pot 1.5.

Andrew1 23 February 2022
I could draw you a simple diagram to explain how touching a screen that is mounted higher up is more difficult due to the longer distance from you, but I am sure you don't possess basic geometry skills.
xxxx 23 February 2022

Hence my comment on touch screens being dangerous, lower means it's also further away from your eye line, so dangerous on both counts. I could draw you a picture of knobs, dials, well position screens and MMI controllers which better cars have, but I feel you are to blinkered on this car to understand.

BenzinBob 23 February 2022

Oh look, xxxx and his knowledge strikes again.

Andrew1 23 February 2022
It's not further away from your eye line when you operate it - you are looking straight at it. It means you are taking your eyes away from the road and change focus from long to mid/close distance, which is indeed unsafe. But the screen mounting position doesn't influence that too much. The fact that you focus at screen distance means the road ahead will be blury and you don't see what's going on ahead of you, regardless of the mounting position.

But if the screen is mounted high on the dashboard, when you operate it with your finger, you have to reach further, maybe even lean forward, which is harder and requires more dexterity, particularly since your arm had no support.

xxxx 23 February 2022

Oh give up andy1, the lower the touch screen the further you have to look down making it unsafe. Then you've touch screen input rather than simple buttons and dials. 

Look at what Volvo do with their screen and air vents, they do it for a reason.

Next you'll be saying having the screen next to hand brake is even closer to hand and therefore safer. 

si73 23 February 2022
xxxx wrote:

Would hope manufacturers would have learnt by now that touch screens are a safety nightmare, and to make matters worse the touch screen is under the vents, to low, just look at volvo and most others as to how to do it. Emm a GT model that scraps in sub 10 second barrier to 60 time emmm. Where's a decent manual 4 pot 1.5.

It's a GT not a GTi, not even sure if they do a hot hatch equivalent, but GT is, Peugeot call it sporty styling, a sport spec, much like GT line with Renault and R line with VW, however they do 180 and 225 bhp hybrid versions, all auto though, like so many other cars nowerdays.

xxxx 23 February 2022
si73 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

Would hope manufacturers would have learnt by now that touch screens are a safety nightmare, and to make matters worse the touch screen is under the vents, to low, just look at volvo and most others as to how to do it. Emm a GT model that scraps in sub 10 second barrier to 60 time emmm. Where's a decent manual 4 pot 1.5.

It's a GT not a GTi, not even sure if they do a hot hatch equivalent, but GT is, Peugeot call it sporty styling, a sport spec, much like GT line with Renault and R line with VW, however they do 180 and 225 bhp hybrid versions, all auto though, like so many other cars nowerdays.

I get the trim point and the same is true of most cars makes but 10 secs isn't GT land. Problem with the 180 or 225 versions is they start from 33k in proverty trim or 37k in GT trim, yes 37k. Save money and get BMW 128, Focus St etc

Andrew1 23 February 2022
Both the 128 and Focus look bad in this comparison. The 128 is particularly ugly inside and outside and the Focus is terribly outdated.
xxxx 23 February 2022
Andrew1 wrote:

Both the 128 and Focus look bad in this comparison. The 128 is particularly ugly inside and outside and the Focus is terribly outdated.

Not as ugly as the depreciation on the pug.

artill 23 February 2022
si73 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

Would hope manufacturers would have learnt by now that touch screens are a safety nightmare, and to make matters worse the touch screen is under the vents, to low, just look at volvo and most others as to how to do it. Emm a GT model that scraps in sub 10 second barrier to 60 time emmm. Where's a decent manual 4 pot 1.5.

It's a GT not a GTi, not even sure if they do a hot hatch equivalent, but GT is, Peugeot call it sporty styling, a sport spec, much like GT line with Renault and R line with VW, however they do 180 and 225 bhp hybrid versions, all auto though, like so many other cars nowerdays.

Si, within the Peugeot trim levels they used to have a GTi (fast), a GT (quick), and GT line (slow, but with a body kit) so i think XXXX comments are fair. 

I think the car looks good, and better in Estate form. Its a shame they have continued with the dead beam axel instead of the independant set up they use on the 508 however. The 2 things that would stop me having one are the compulsory auto, and the modest power, but given how expensive this version is, i suspect a more powerful version would be way too expensive as well. I have no interest in a plug in hybrid, and anyway its still stuck with the auto box, and the pure EV version when it arrives will be more expensive still, have a modest range (I suspect). But thats the world of cars in Europe in 2022. Funny to think that the same Stellantis that limits up to 1.2 litres, and 130BHP  will sell you various 700 + BHP 6.2 Litre supercharged cars, coupes, and trucks in the USA.

Andrew1 23 February 2022
What a beautiful car inside and outside! The quality of the materials are better than everything in the class.
The instruments above the steering wheel are god-sent for me. Being tall, on normal cars I always have to lower my head to see the top on the instruments. In a Peugeot, the taller you are, the better.
Well done, Stellantis!