Contrary to what was previously announced, the third generation of the 308 will arrive in dealerships only early next year. The delay compared to the initial programs was caused by the difficulty in supplying semiconductors that is afflicting all car manufacturers and which has slowed down the building up of the initial stock necessary for a commercial launch worthy of a model that aspires to large market numbers.
On the other hand, it will be available immediately both as a 5-door sedan – a configuration that represents 65% of requests in the C segment – and as a station wagon, a formula that suffers the fierce competition of SUVs but still attracts a substantial audience.
It must be recognized that a Peugeot with such a muscular line already in the versions at the base of the range, which differ little from the more characterized ones, had never been seen.
Even if the exquisitely sporty version – hybrid and with all-wheel drive – will arrive only next year (microchip permitting), one wonders whether the intrinsic sportiness of this model will not conflict with that of the future compact Alfa Romeo, since both brands they are part of the same group and will have a lot in common.
The new 308 has a low set-up, a vaguely threatening nose, prominent wheel arches and a generous supply of aerodynamic appendages, even in the case of the SW. The change of approach compared to the previous generation, which focused on discretion to counter the VW Golf on its own field, is evident. The 308 has also become longer (11 cm for the sedan, 6 cm for the SW) but lower by a couple of centimeters and this has given it more momentum.
Like the exterior, the dashboard is also very personal, clearly looking for a style that is distinctive and immediately attributable to the brand. The electronic equipment is wide both in terms of entertainment and for the instrumentation which is virtual and, in the most complete set-ups, even holographic. The final effect is fascinating, but it takes a bit of apprenticeship to get to the immediacy of the consultation.
Obviously the i-Cockpit is re-proposed, now a Peugeot workhorse, that is the high dashboard, to be looked at above the small steering wheel, which has the dimensions of a racing car. Also in this case, compared to a traditional driving seat, it is a bit more laborious to find the optimal adjustment of the column and seat, but the result is a feeling of control and involvement above average.
The overall rich and rewarding appearance of the passenger compartment is contrasted by some less precious plastic elements, such as the rigid panel on the center tunnel or the upper area of the rear door panels, but overall the 308’s premium ambitions are well placed.
The availability of driver assistance systems is state-of-the-art as regards the C segment and the same applies to the infotainment, which provides a high level of integration with smartphones even in wireless mode and an effective system of voice commands.
The engine range is similar to that of the other models of the former PSA group: 1,200 three-cylinder turbo petrol engines with 110 or 130 HP, 1,500 four-cylinder turbodiesel with 130 HP and 1,600 turbo petrol plug-in hybrid with 180 or 225 HP. Then, in 2023, the all-electric variant will arrive.
The 180hp hybrid, designed for companies and fleets, already has an energetic performance. The electric motor is ready at the bottom and is enough for almost all normal driving needs. According to the company, with the 12.4 kWh battery charged, you can travel with “zero” emissions even for about sixty kilometers. The set-up is not rigid but very composed makes it an easy and intuitive car even when all the cavalry is exploited. Which, in fact, the driving posture makes you want to do. Those who prefer to move in peace can count on a remarkable fluidity, with the thermal engine and the electric one that alternate and combine in an almost imperceptible way. To access the hybrid range you need at least 36,750 euros, net of any incentives, but already the 1,200 turbo with 130 HP, reachable from 24,550 euros, guarantees a mature and almost surprising aplomb compared to the displacement. And the 300 kg less all feel in terms of agility. Even the turbodiesel shows a pleasant brilliance, because the “small” 1,500 revs with ease despite not having the extension of its petrol-powered brother and is also a noisier one but, obviously, consumption is on his side.
Peugeot 308, the card
What it is: It is the third installment of Peugeot’s C-segment model, after the 2007 and 2013 editions. It is born on a completely different platform and ready for electrification. It is now available with both hatchback / 5-door bodywork and station wagon.
Dimensions: length 4,367 meters (SW: 4,636 meters), width 1,852 meters, height 1,441 meters (SW: 1,442 meters), wheelbase 2,675 meters (SW: 2,732).
Rivals: Audi A3, BMW Serie 1, Citroën C4, DS4 Ford Focus, Hyundai i30, Kia Ceed, Mazda3, Mercedes Classe A, Renault Megane, Seat / Cupra Leon, Toyota Corolla, VW Golf
Engines: 1,200 turbocharged petrol with 110 or 130 hp, 1,500 turbodiesel with 130 hp, 1,600 turbocharged petrol plug-in hybrid with 180 or 225 hp. The all-electric version will arrive in 2023.
Advantages: Original and distinctive exterior and interior style, remarkable comfort, ample customization possibilities, fun road character.
Defects: Rear roominess inferior to the best in the category, some economic internal plastic.
Production: Mulhouse (France).
Prices: The sedan starts at 23,750 euros while the station wagons cost 1,000 euros more with the same set-up and engine. For the diesel version you need at least 26,550 euros. The hybrid range starts at 36,750 euros.