It’s a fresh but dry morning in Dublin and we have been invited to Peugeot headquarters Gowan House to collect the all-new 308, which has recently arrived to Irish shores. This new Peugeot 308 continues the brand’s commitment to striking design with a modern look in keeping with the current range. Now sitting 55mm longer than its predecessor there’s more room for rear seat passengers but the whole car has dropped 20mm in height to give it a low-slung powerful stance. The first thing we noticed was the 308 is wearing the brand’s new logo, a roaring lion’s head proudly on the nose. The badge also neatly covers the radar used by the autonomous driving aids which we think is very clever. Some brands just have a large unsightly square box in the grill but thankfully Peugeot have given this some thought! To the sides of the Lions head, your eyes are drawn towards the LED headlights, which are standard on all models. The rear also gets full LED technology but it’s the overall design, especially in this Olivine Green that we were really impressed by. I mean why would you even consider an awkward crossover when you could have something that looks this good? Peugeot specifically designed the bumpers, deflectors, diffuser, body pillars, door mirrors with improved airflow in mind. The overall drag coefficient figure of Cd 0.28 makes it slippery through the air and much more efficient. By the way, if this green is not to your liking you can also choose between Bianca White, Cumulus Grey, Nera Black, Pearlescent White, Vertigo Blue or Elixir Red.
Opening the drivers door you notice the LED ambient lighting straight away. It lights up the door panels which, depending on the trim level, features soft touch foam, fabric, or Alcantara. Sitting into the comfortable seats you can absorb the usage of quality materials, which have been used in its construction. Looking ahead you get Peugeot’s now familiar i-Cockpit, which has been refined and modernised. Located at eye level, the 10-inch digital instrument cluster gives the driver vital information without having to take your eyes off the road. Another key development is the small steering wheel, which now has sensors to detect grip levels when using driving aids along with fingertip controls for the radio, media and telephone etc. Like on other Peugeot’s, the small steering wheel does impair vision of some dash items a little but it appears to be improving. We also noticed the standard 10-inch central touch screen has been located slightly lower than the digital cluster to help visibility. Space up front is plentiful with ample room for driver and passenger. As mentioned above the overall length of the car has grown leading to more rear legroom and the boot has a generous 412 litres of luggage space with a further 28 litres of storage in a hidden compartment beneath the floor. If you were to fold the rear seats the maximum capacity increases to 1,323-litres. If this still sounds a little tight perhaps you should hold fire for the SW or Sportwagon variant, which is also on the way. This estate looks equally as good in the press preview snaps we got and will be super practical.
Getting back to the business end of the new 308 and buyers will be able to choose between the following powertrains. A PureTech (Petrol) 1.2L, 130 bhp 3-cylinder 8 speed automatic or a BlueHdi (Diesel) 1.5L, 130 bhp 4-cylinder 8 speed automatic engine. Both engines comply with the latest euro 6 regulations and feature tried and tested technology that power a number of vehicles in the PSA group. Two plug in hybrid engines are also offered in the 308. The HYBRID 180 e-EAT8 / 2-wheel drive with a combination of a 150hp PureTech 1.6L engine and an 81 kW electric engine attached to the e-EAT8 gearbox with up to 60 km of EV range. Or if you can stretch to GT Trim the HYBRID 225 e-EAT8 / 2-wheel drive combining a 180 hp PureTech 1.6L engine and an 81 kW electric engine attached to the e-EAT8 gearbox should give you up to 59 km of EV range. In Hybrid power trains the Li-ion battery has a capacity of 12.4 kWh, a power of 102 kW and two types of on-board chargers are available. A standard 3.7 kW charger or the optional 7.4 kW charger.
Peugeot have naturally thrown the latest-generation driving aids and complete range of on-board technologies at the new 308. Expect adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go function and the Lane Keeping Aid along with Long-range blind spot monitoring (75 metres), Rear traffic alert (when reversing, warning of a danger nearby), 360° parking assistance with 4 cameras (front, rear and side) and E-call+ emergency call with passenger number information and location including the direction of the vehicle in the lane. You are in good hands yet again with the latest Peugeot 308.
The first deliveries have now started on the Peugeot 308 and its available in 3 grades Active, Allure and GT. Pricing for Active kicks off from €31,765. Allure specification will be from €35,705 whilst the top of the range GT will start at €39,215. As mentioned previously the new 308 SW will also be launched in the coming weeks for just €1,000 more than the hatchback. A fully electric version of this new 308 is also destined for Ireland in late 2023.
Our test drive took us from Dublin across the country to Glasson Lakehouse in County Westmeath. We took in a variety of motorway and twisty back roads to put our diesel powered test car through its paces. On the motorway it cruises using only a hint of the power-band available easily returning 3.5 lt/100km. Driving it this way could see you well north of 70mpg which is very impressive. Comfort levels are high and the FOCAL Hi-Fi system is nothing short of spectacular. This premium Hi-Fi system is made up of 10 speakers and it produces powerful bass and crisp vocals regardless of what music tickles your fancy. Getting off the motorway and into some more challenging routes the 308 felt firmly planted and playful to drive. The new design has resulted in improved rigidity over the old model and it just feels more performance orientated with decent brake feel, sharp turn in and a nice progressive surge of power from the 130hp diesel. We spent about four or five hours driving the 308 over two days and enjoyed every minute of it. With costs climbing on all cars we anticipate a few buyers will return to the C segment hatchback when they see that crossover SUV is now between 8 and 10k more expensive than a few years back. For us, we would wait a few more weeks until the SW gets here and then you should have all the car, you ever need!
Steering wheel size still a little awkward for some.