Peugeot's third generation 308 is much improved with a sharp new look, smart powertrains and a bit more useful technology. The result is a more desirable vehicle than you might expect from the Gallic brand. Seriously, when did a Peugeot hatchback last look this good? You might be surprised at how much you like it, and if you choose to lease one through the Motability Scheme we think you'll probably be very happy with your decision.
The Peugeot 308 is back this month, with the 308 'GT' PureTech 130 automatic competitively priced at £1399 Advance Payment (section updated October 2023).
You might not have ever thought of the Peugeot 308 family hatch as being truly aspirational but maybe it's time to start. Peugeot's been making Focus-class models for half a century and we're already on the third generation of the one badged '308'. This is the most up-market version yet, in keeping with the Peugeot brand's more premium positioning within the new Stellantis Group formed by the merger of PSA and Fiat.
The last 308 wasn't really a car many customers would have chosen in preference to a Golf, let alone anything premium, but this MK3 version might be. Everything's different - even the front Peugeot grille badge. And the sharky looks clothe a cabin that could just be the segment's most sophisticated. Premium values with mainstream value? Is that what we've got here? Let's find out.
Under the bonnet, there's a mix of something old and something new. Familiarity comes with the conventional petrol unit, an updated version of the brand's usual PureTech three cylinder 1.2-litre powerplant and available with 130hp. Peugeot is also still offering its usual 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel in 130hp form. Both these two mainstream engines are being offered only with 80-speed EAT8 auto transmission.
As for what's new, well inevitably it's electrified. There are two petrol Plug-in Hybrid units, starting with the Hybrid 180 model which combines a 150hp PureTech petrol engine with a 109hp electric motor and a 12.4kWh battery smaller than that in the 3008 SUV, but large enough to take the car up to 44 miles between charges. The same range is also possible from the alternative Hybrid 225 variant, which combines a 180bhp petrol engine with the same 109bhp electric motor for a maximum combined power output of 225hp.
What about autonomous drive technology? After all, a car of this kind these days isn't quite complete without it. To satisfy this need, the French carmaker is offering its 'Peugeot Drive Assist 2.0' set-up. Previously, PSA Group tech relied on stop-and-go cruise control and lane-keep assist, but this evolved set-up can now automatically adapt the speed of the car around corners, operating at speeds up to 112mph.
This third generation 308 certainly makes a pavement statement. As before, there are hatch and estate body styles, both of which have plenty of overtaking presence. There's a longer-looking bonnet and a lower-looking nose bearing the latest, rather different Peugeot badge on its grille. Flanking this are slimmer LED headlights complemented by Peugeot's fang-like LED daytime running lights. In profile, existing owners might notice the extra 11mm of length and the prominent creases that have appeared over the wheel arches, which sit below a stronger shoulder line. At the rear, there are tail lights with three 'claw' style lighting elements.
And inside? Well if you thought the exterior was different, take a look in the cabin. Yes, there's still Peugeot's i-Cockpit layout with its small steering wheel, but that now sits beneath a completely new digital instrument panel, with clever 3D image tech borrowed from the brand's smaller 208 supermini. The tall, sloping dashboard features a sharp-looking 10-inch touchscreen display which has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and is available in two forms - basic 'i-Connect' and more sophisticated 'i-Connect plus', which offers widescreen navigation from TomTom.
Beneath this monitor is a row of freely configurable touch-sensitive controls, called 'i-Toggles'. Each one offers a shortcut to a major function, such as radio, climate control or 'phone. Out back, a 55mm wheelbase increase makes the rear cabin noticeably more spacious than before. And boot space for the hatch is rated at 412-litres, better than most class rivals. If you want more, you'll need the alternative SW estate, which offers 608-litres before you start folding seats.
To reflect all the fresh technology, prices have risen a little, but the brand's usual 'Active Premium', 'Allure', 'Allure Premium', 'GT' and 'GT Premium' trim levels are still there. There are no plans to reprise the Cabriolet body shape that featured with the first generation 308.
There's plenty of extra safety tech here, including a long-range blind-spot-monitoring function, rear cross traffic alert and a reversing camera with a 180-degree field of view. There's also automatic high-beam and traffic sign recognition. Across the range, a 360-degree top-down style surround view camera is also offered.
If you want to add luxury touches, your dealer will offer you nappa leather upholstery and powered, massaging seats. From 'GT' trim upwards, there's also a clever cabin air filtration system designed to keep polluting gasses and particles out, with the cabin air quality level displayed on the centre-dash screen.
The PureTech and BlueHDi diesel petrol engines deliver very similar WLTP efficiency figures to those of the same units in the previous generation version of this car. Think around 52mpg on the combined cycle and 122g/km of CO2 for the PureTech 130 engine; and about 65mpg and 113g/km of CO2 for the 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 diesel. This latest car's chassis (an evolved version of the PSA Group's EMP2 platform) can support a full-electric variant, but the Group already has the Citroen e-C4 in this segment, so at launch the 308 goes PHEV with two Plug-in Hybrid variants, the Hybrid 180 and the Hybrid 225. As we mentioned in our 'On The Road' section, up to 44 miles of battery running is claimed in each case, while CO2 is rated at 24g/km.
From a household plug, both PHEV variants will be replenished in just over seven hours. You'll find 3.7kW single-phase charging supported as standard, which means recharges will take three hours and 50 minutes. A 7.4kW on-board charger is available as an option and plugged into a wallbox, the battery will take one hour and 50 minutes to be topped up. The plug-in hybrid 308 variants offer a thermal pre-conditioning function too. Via the MyPeugeot smartphone app or by using the vehicle's touchscreen, owners can schedule a wake-up time for the battery. This means that the cells can be at the optimal temperature for efficiency from the time you start up, plus of course the interior can also be pre-cooled or pre-heated too.
Peugeot isn't just building a car with this third generation 308. It's building a reputation. For too long, this much-loved brand lost sight of what made people want its products. Now, it's setting out to build desirable machines once more, models that aren't simply playing catch up or trying to copy the big sellers. Sure enough, this is vehicle with a definite feel of its own. It's not going to appeal to everybody, but it is now a car that the company can rightly feel proud of - a contender good enough to worry the best in the business.
After all, it gets so many things so right. French family hatchbacks in this class haven't always been able to justify themselves, either in terms of quality or in the harder discipline of pounds and pence running costs, but this one performs beyond expectations in both these areas. Overall, what's on offer here is a car that's continuing to restore Peugeot's reputation for building elegant, comfortable and understated vehicles. A car that gives the brand a shot at making good on its upmarket aspirations. It's been a long time coming.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Peugeot 308 through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local Peugeot dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.
This month, these Peugeot 308 New models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: