Similar to its smaller 208 supermini sibling, the new 308 is available with both conventional petrol and diesel engines plus not one, but two plug-in hybrid models. An all-electric version will arrive in 2023 too. So eventually the 308 will offer four different power choices all in the same hatchback or SW estate body style.
Looking far better in the metal than in pictures, the new 308 is longer and lower than its predecessor and gets the same sabre-tooth style LED front lights as other Peugeot models.
The two new plug-in hybrid versions of the 308 use the same 1.6-litre engine in different states of tune combined with a 12.4kW battery to produce either 180bhp or 225bhp. The former boasts 24g/km emissions and has a 37 mile all-electric range and is expected to be the best seller. By comparison, the more powerful 225bhp model produces 25g/km emissions and a 36 mile electric range.
Both plug-in hybrid models get a 3.7kW on-board charger as standard giving it a recharge time of three hours and 25 minutes. However, with the optional 7.4kW fast-charger fitted, that time drops to just under two hours at a home wallbox. For company car drivers – who historically have made up an incredible 70 per cent of 308 sales in the UK – both PHEV models have a benefit-in-Kind tax rate of 8 per cent.
While officially Peugeot initially estimates that these two PHEV will account for just 20 per cent of 308 sales, its past experience on the 3008 crossover and the growing popularity of plug-in hybrid technology, in private officials reckon that the PHEV share will pick-up rapidly throughout 2022.
That’s easy to understand when you climb behind the wheel too. The latest iteration of Peugeot’s i-cockpit interior sees an under-sized steering wheel with a 3D digital display screen in front of the driver and a large 10in screen central in the dashboard with real and virtual button controls. It looks a little busy but it works well and looks superb.
On the road the 308 benefits from sharp, direct steering and a creditable lack of body roll through corners. In the 225bhp version of the 308, on paper it gets from 0 to 60mph in 7.6 seconds and onto a 146mph top speed, so it’s no slouch, especially in the mid-range and in the Sport driving mode.
In fact, it can be hustled down a twisty B-road at a decent pace and there’s a lot here to like even if it could do with more feel through the steering wheel to really appeal to keen drivers. The transition between petrol and battery power works smoothly too with the driver able to choose between Sport, Hybrid and Electric driving modes. The ride quality is a little lumpy at lower speeds, particularly on the larger 18-inch wheels of the GT, but it improves markedly on faster roads.
On the more practical side of things, there’s a good amount of head and legroom for those in both the front and rear and Peugeot claims a decent 34 litres of storage around the cabin. As ever, on the SW estate, the practicality of the plug-in hybrid is slightly hindered compared to its ICE equivalent, but it still has a 548 litre boot with the rear seats up (1574 litres with them lowered) and is a good useable shape. An electric tailgate is fitted as standard on the GT Premium.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the new Peugeot 308. Not only is it a good-looking car both inside and out, but the beauty goes much further than skin-deep too. It boasts some excellent technology, the latest i-cockpit interior is superb and the choice of two plug-in hybrid models will only help to widen its appeal still further before you’ve even got to the forthcoming 2023 fully-electric version. Put simply, if you’re in the market for a mid-size family car and the new 308 isn’t high up on your shopping list, then you’ve made a mistake.