What is this?
It takes a while to find out who the manufacturer of this model is, after all, this is the first Peugeot without the familiar lion on the nose, but a shield with a more abstract image of the animal. This makes the 308 more or less the game divider of the range. After all, the previous generation was the first to use the EMP2 architecture of the then PSA, which (along with the equally recent DS 4) keeps the youngest variant of it under the font. A base that is ready for full electrification, that EV version of the 308 will come by 2023. The short summary:
- 11 centimeters longer
- New platform
- Benzine, diesel and PHEV
- Modern gadgets on board
- From 25,000 euros
The test condition:
- The interior of the Côte d’Azur, north of Cannes.
- Color: Olivine green
- Options: unknown
- Tires: 205/55 R16, Goodyear Efficientgrip (not pictured)
- The 308 was developed to also be allowed on the American market. Peugeot had plans a few years ago to cross the ocean again, but they have since been put away again.
Doesn’t it immediately look like a Peugeot?
With that new logo, it is mainly the pointed vertical (but as with the 208 optional) LEDs in the front bumper that betray the origin, together with the silhouette, which bears almost the same C-pillar as the previous 308. At the back it is again search for recognisability, with a renewed pattern in the rear lights. As is the trend, the French opted for a more aggressive style, although certain details are a bit overworked, especially on the estate version (SW).
The previous 308 was one of the smallest cars in its category, the new one got a portion of growth hormone. The wheelbase became 5.5 centimeters and the body no less than 11 centimeters longer. The A-pillar was moved back a bit to make the hood longer. The roof has been lowered by 2 centimeters, but there is still enough headroom for adults at the rear.
How is it inside?
Those lavish lines and angles can also be found inside, with an exuberantly sculpted and driver-oriented dashboard, a bit à la Audi A3, which continues in the style of the 3008 and co. Although with a new multimedia system with a standard screen of 10 inches. The basic versions have physical buttons for the air conditioning underneath, the others have a panel with shortcuts. A digital counter part is also standard, optionally with 3D projection, as in the 208.
Striking: the French tricolor is subtly incorporated at the bottom of those counters. We have seen it more often recently, for example Volvo, Mini and Alpine also refer to their country of origin in this way.
You sit a bit lower than in the previous 308, encapsulated by the dashboard, and with plenty of storage space in the center tunnel. The materials used generally feel nice, a step forward compared to the previous version.
The suitcase has a volume of 421 liters. At the same time as the regular 308, Peugeot also immediately brings the station wagon version (SW). It has a longer wheelbase and is 27 centimeters longer, with a minimum boot volume of 608 liters.
What’s under the hood?
The number of engine options is surprisingly limited: a 1.2 petrol with 110 or 130 hp and a 1.5 diesel with 130 hp. In addition, two PHEVs (180 or 225 hp), each with 1.6 petrol, and from 2023 also a fully electric variant.
There will be no more GTI. The French are still toying with the idea of offering a hybrid sports version, by analogy with the 508 PSE, but they are not yet giving a definitive answer.
We tested the entry-level version, the 1.2 three-cylinder 110 hp petrol with a manual six-speed gearbox (not in the photos). A snappy engine that satisfies, thanks to the well-spaced gearbox ratios. The adjustment of the clutch pedal could be better, we noticed that it was difficult to change gears smoothly.
As in any other model in which it is mounted, the 1.2 operates economically. In this case, we noted an average consumption of 6 l/100 km.
How does the 2021 Peugeot 308 drive?
The previous 308 had excellent and entertaining handling, as we have come to expect from Peugeot, and the new one builds on that, with a sharp front end that responds quickly to orders from behind the wheel. The longer wheelbase makes it clearly less playful. The centering tendency of that handlebar, as usual with a small rim, could be a little better, however.
The damping comfort is good, without a doubt. Our test sample rode on 16-inch rims, the larger sizes are a bit stiffer.
What we couldn’t test yet is the semi-automatic pilot (Drive Assist 2.0). It only comes in combination with the eight-speed automatic transmission and will only be available from the beginning of 2022.
And the price?
The base price for this 1.2 is exactly 25,000 euros, and that is relatively competitive, when you compare, for example, with the VW Golf, the best-selling in this category. The diesel is 3,500 euros more expensive, the PHEV with 180 hp immediately costs 36,250 euros.
For that money you have, among other things, an air conditioning with 2 zones, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and the two large color screens, albeit without navigation.
Interesting options include heated steering wheel, ergonomic and leather-trimmed seats, heated windscreen and a 10-speaker Focal stereo.
The AutoWorld verdict?
The Peugeot 308 is back with the times, with an upgraded interior and multimedia that is a lot more usable than that of the previous generation. The extended wheelbase also provides some extra seating space in the rear. The engine range is remarkably limited, but actually fills all needs, with an EV variant on the way by 2023. All in all, a more than capable range that can more than withstand the comparison with the omnipresent VW Golf.
I hope you are in health and well.
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