New Peugeot 308 hatchback arrives with two plug-in hybrid versions

Latest generation of family car is first to wear new retro Peugeot logo, and comes with hybrid technology for the first time

Peugeot 308

This is the new, third-generation Peugeot 308 hatchback: the first car to wear the French brand's revamped retro logo and the first 308 to be offered with plug-in hybrid power. That makes it a rival for the Volkswagen Golf GTE, SEAT Leon e-Hybrid, Skoda Octavia iV and Renault Megane E-TECH.

Outside, it sports Peugeot's latest design language, first seen on the facelifted 3008 family SUV. The new car is 11mm longer overall than its predecessor and its wheelbase has been stretched by 55mm; it also looks sleeker than before thanks to a 20mm height reduction and longer bonnet. A total of seven colour options will be offered initially.

Slim LED headlights and a dramatic grille outline mark out the front end, while cameras and sensors for the car's driver-assistance systems have been integrated within the badge. Alloy wheels will be offered in sizes from 16 to 18 inches. An 'SW' estate version is set to appear before long, and Peugeot's familiar Active, Allure and GT trims are also expected to continue on this new 308.

Exact UK pricing and specifications have yet to be revealed, however, and it's likely to be October or November 2021 before UK customers can place an order. Prices for the basic petrol are anticipated to start at around £23,000; the hybrid can be expected to cost in the region of £30,000.

New Peugeot 308 plug-in hybrid engines, electric range and performance

The less powerful 'HYBRID 180' setup combines a 148bhp PureTech petrol engine with a 110bhp electric motor and 12.4kWh battery for a total output of 178bhp and CO2 emissions of 25g/km. The more powerful 'HYBRID 225' option ups the engine power to 178bhp and overall output to 222bhp while retaining the same motor-and-battery combination. CO2 emissions here are 26g/km; both have an electric range of around 37 miles.

Both also come with 3.7kW on-board chargers as standard; this can be upgraded to 7.4kW at extra cost to take advantage of the maximum charging speed of typical home wallbox chargers. Recharging the battery fully will take a shade under two hours at 7.4kW, a little under four hours at 3.7kW and just over seven hours from a standard domestic socket.

In addition to the two plug-in hybrid engine options, the new 308 will also be available with conventional petrol and diesel power, comprising three 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrols of varying power outputs and a single 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel – although it's not yet known if all these engine options will come to the UK.

Interior and practicality

Up front, the 308's seats promise comfort and a wide range of adjustment. They can optionally be equipped with 10-way electric adjustment, seat heating and an eight-pocket pneumatic massage system.

In the back, the lengthened wheelbase should mean more leg and kneeroom for occupants, which was a weak point of the outgoing 308. Rear-seat passengers also get their own air vents, a pair of USB ports and a fold-down armrest with integrated cup-holders and a phone slot.

The new car has a 412-litre boot – one of the largest luggage spaces in the class – although that figure is likely to be smaller in the plug-in hybrid variants than it is in the petrols and diesels. Folding the rear seats folded down expands the available room to 1,312 litres, with the same caveat for the plug-ins as above.

On-board technology

Inside the new 308, there's a series of technology improvements, including Peugeot's 'i-Cockpit' digital dials and a new infotainment system known as 'i-Connect Advanced', as well as eight colours of LED ambient lighting. The i-Cockpit 10-inch instrument cluster ahead of the steering wheel displays 3D graphics on higher trim levels, and can show information related to navigation, radio, media, driving aids and the engine's power flow.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is offered, as well as the option to simultaneously pair up to two phones for making and receiving calls using Bluetooth. Voice commands can also be issued to the car, using the waking phrase 'Okay, Peugeot'.

The steering wheel incorporates sensors that can detect your grip, while the wheel also has controls for many commonly used functions, such as radio, multimedia, phone and driver aids. The air vents have been placed high up on the dashboard, which Peugeot says is the best position for occupant comfort, while the 10-inch central infotainment screen below them is said to sit at the driver's hand level, for easier operation.

In place of physical air-conditioning controls, the 308 employs 'i-toggles' – these are touch-sensitive 'shortcut keys' that can be programmed to activate modes or functions that the driver specifies. The centre console, meanwhile, incorporates a wireless phone charging slot, two large cup-holders, two USB ports, an armrest and a 34-litre storage area.

The new 308 features a slew of advanced driver-assistance technology, including an optional 'Drive Assist 2.0' pack that brings semi-autonomous driving capability. This incorporates adaptive cruise control with a stop-and-go function, along with lane-keeping assistance, semi-automatic lane changes, anticipated speed recommendations and speed adaptation for corners.

Other technology available – either standard or as options – includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, driver attention alerts, automatic high beams, traffic-sign recognition, long-range blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a 180-degree reversing camera, 360-degree four-camera parking assistance and hands-free engine start.