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New Peugeot 308 Hybrid with Upmarket Driving Thrills.

New Peugeot 308 Hybrid with Upmarket Driving Thrills.

Just one look at the all-new Peugeot 308 is all it takes to see that the French vehicle manufacturer has worked hard to give their new family hatchback a distinctive style that makes some of its competitors look rather dull by comparison. Peugeot is part of the mighty Stellantis Group, and is joined by Opel, Citroën, DS Automobiles, FIAT, Alfa Romeo and Jeep under the corporate umbrella in Europe. Recently crowned as Europe’s biggest-selling car group, Stellantis is now the World’s fourth-largest automaker.

Dynamic Design Language.

The new Peugeot 308 sits on the Stellantis EMP2 platform that also underpins the new Opel Astra, and the two cars share many other parts under the skin too. Due to the ever-growing SUV market across Europe, family hatchbacks like the 308, Astra, Golf and Focus don’t sell in the numbers they used to, but they are still important to their makers all the same. An oversized new Peugeot logo that features the brand name and lion mark within a shield sits proudly in the new 308’s low-slung front grille, while a smaller brand logo at the rear of the car serves as a lever for opening the tailgate door. The dynamic front grille extends across the front of the car and flows neatly into the slim LED headlights, under which sit Peugeot’s trademark fang-like LED daytime running lights on the front corners. In a similar fashion, the ‘three-claw’ light theme continues at the back of the car, with animation on some higher spec models. Well-appointed creases and slashes adorn the bodywork of the new 308 to provide the car with strength of character and dynamism. The distinguished and streamlined profile of the car reveals its athletic look, while the lowered roof line at the rear of the car adds a dash of sportiness to the overall design.

Upmarket Cabin.

The upmarket look and feel continues inside the new 308, and it is easily one of the most interesting cabins you will find in any new hatchback. A pair of touchscreens dominate the high quality dashboard, and a bank of metallic air vents on top of the dash sit in a silver panel that stretches from one side to the other, making the 308’s interior appear wider and roomier. Soft-touch materials and solid metal-effect trim strategically-placed throughout the cabin provide a luxurious look and premium feel. The all-new touchscreen setup in the new 308 is very user-friendly, and the 10-inch Peugeot i-Cockpit display is angled towards the driver so that it is easy to read in bright sunlight despite its glossy finish. Also included is the Peugeot i-Connect infotainment system with voice control (activated by using “OK PEUGEOT”) and customisable i-Toggle fast keys, and every 308 comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The new 308 Hybrid benefits from a wheelbase that is 55mm longer than its predecessor, and this translates into greater legroom for all occupants. Boot space in the new 308 Hybrid hatchback stands at 361-litres behind the rear seats, and increases to 1,271-litres when the rear seats are folded when required. For drivers looking for even more practicality, there is an estate (SW) version of the new 308 that boasts 548-litres of space behind the rear seats.

Plug-In Hybrid Tech.

The new Peugeot 308 Hybrid combines a refined and powerful 1.6-litre petrol engine with plug-in hybrid technology to deliver 180bhp or 225bhp, depending on the model chosen, both of which have an all-electric driving range of up to 60kms. Both plug-in hybrids use a 110bhp electric motor and 12.4kWh battery, as well as an eight-speed automatic gearbox (e-EAT8), but total power output jumps from 180bhp in the Hybrid 180 model to 225bhp in the Hybrid 225, thanks to a punchier version of the petrol engine under the bonnet. As standard, the new 308 Hybrid comes with a 3.6kW on-board charger, meaning a full recharge (0-100%) will take around three-and-a-half hours from a wallbox charger. Buyers can, however, upgrade to a 7.4kW unit that can complete the same task in one hour and forty-five minutes. When starting every journey with a fully-charged battery, Peugeot claims the car can consume as little as 1.1-litres of petrol for every 100kms driven on a WLTP combined driving cycle. The new Peugeot 308 Hybrid 180 is available in Active, Allure and sporty GT trim levels, with the Hybrid 225 available exclusively in GT trim.  

Test Car.

My test car was a new 308 GT Hybrid 180, which attracted many admiring glances in its stunning Vertigo Blue metallic paintwork and 18” ‘Kamakura’ diamond-cut two-tone alloy wheels. Key standard GT equipment includes a Peugeot 3D i-Cockpit panel, Driver Sport Pack, heated steering wheel, full-grain leather steering wheel with green stitching and GT badging, Alcantara/leather-effect/cloth Tri-Material upholstery, black roof lining, Lion emblem badging on front wings, dark chrome chequered radiator grille, lower body sills to the front and side, Full Matrix LED headlights, LED ‘claw-effect’ rear lights with sequential ‘welcome sequence’ upon unlocking the car, and LED glovebox lighting. All of this is in addition to the comprehensive list of standard comfort, convenience, infotainment and safety systems found in the Active and Allure models. On the road, the new 308 Hybrid 180 feels sprightly, sporty and thoroughly engaging, and it feels well controlled and poised on a variety of road surfaces. The small steering wheel contributes to the sense of fun, and a Sport drive mode adds more weight to the steering and allows the car to hold on to gears for longer when accelerating. The standard Drive Assist Pack in my test car (also standard in Allure trim) provided terrific peace-of-mind when on the go, and it consists of Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, and Long Range Active Blind Spot Detection, along with Active Safety Brake with night function for the detection of cyclists and pedestrians.

Pricing & Warranty.

Peugeot’s all-new 308 Hybrid feels more like a premium product than ever, and is in keeping with the brand’s push upmarket. Pricing for the 308 Hybrid starts at €40,785 in Allure trim, with my test car specification priced from €46,190 (all prices quoted exclude dealer delivery-related charges). All Peugeot passenger cars are covered by a comprehensive 5-year/100,000km warranty, with the added benefit of an 8-year traction battery warranty on electric and hybrid models.

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