Car reviews - Peugeot - 308 - PHEV
Plug-in hybrid arrives to spice up the 308 range… but will price be a barrier to success?
3 Apr 2023
By PHILIP LORD
PEUGEOT is well on its way to electrification with the arrival of its third PHEV on the Australian market, the Peugeot 308 GT Hatch PHEV. This is the first plug-in hybrid hatch to arrive from the French brand, and its most expensive hatchback to date.
The new Peugeot 308 range begins with the $43,990 plus on-road costs 308 GT Hatch, then $48,990 +ORCs for the 308 GT Premium Hatch and the conventional petrol range tops out at $50,490 +ORCs for the 308 GT Premium Wagon.
This plug-in hybrid 308 GT Hatch PHEV is an eye-watering $64,990 +ORCs.
While arguably not the same style statement as the Peugeot, there is another similar hybrid (though not plug-in) you can buy – a Toyota Corolla, with its price of $38,120 +ORCs. Even the more comparable Cupra Leon 1.4 VZe Hybrid costs less, at $59,990 +ORCs.
Also, if you want to go to full-electric, spending this kind of money gets you right in there, with change.
The Polestar 2 Standard Range Single Motor and a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range each cost $63,990 +ORCs. Even though these two cars are not direct competitors to the Peugeot and are in a size-class above it, they are premium and carry the fully electric BEV price premium.
They are still cheaper than the Peugeot, making Peugeot’s pricing hard to understand.
Sure, you do get a fair bit of kit. There’s leather upholstery, a leather and heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, privacy glass, electro-chromatic rear vision mirror, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, one-touch power windows front and rear and power-adjustable, power-fold and heated side mirrors.
You even get a power adjustable driver’s seat (although not passenger’s), heated front seats with massage function, panoramic opening glass sunroof, Nappa leather seat trim and a Focal premium 10-speaker audio system.
There is no rear cross-traffic warning or AEB here though... The resultant four-star ANCAP result is not a great result when you’re paying top dollar.
The launch test drive was a brief 33km drive loop taking just under an hour in the mostly built-up Northern Beaches area of Sydney, with four different speed zones and, at times, plenty of traffic. Hardly a good long hard look at the new Peugeot – rather, a glance.
We will no doubt come back to it for a week-long extensive review…
With that caveat, the new 308 hybrid appears to not be a bad thing to drive. Its ride quality is almost like the legendary Peugeots of old – although, given a deep enough pothole or ridgeline to bump over and it quickly loses its polish.
The P51-series 308’s EMP2 suspension is an adaptation of the previous model, the T9 308. That means it has a MacPherson strut front and torsion beam/coil spring rear set-up. The torsion beam rear is often chosen over a multi-link by engineers because it is cheaper to design and make. This means a bump mid-corner will upset the chosen line slightly, and the rear suspension bangs loudly over a sharp bump.
In any case, the new 308 has responsive steering and while the 1.2-petrol models have firm suspension, this hybrid variant seems a little softer.
While there are three driving modes – Sport, Hybrid and Electric – we drove mostly in Hybrid.
Fuel consumption averaged 1.2L/100km. There was a 40km electric range showing on the trip computer to begin with, with 16km remaining after the 33km test loop.
As for recharging, the 12.4kWh lithium-ion battery can be recharged with a regular 240-volt household power point in about five hours or by using an AC charger with the maximum charging rate of 3.7kW. That favours a regular AC powerpoint, and this would make an evening or overnight charge for a typical 30-40km urban run quite favourable and cost-effective (rather than investing in a home wall charger).
Initial impressions were of great throttle modulation for the electric only operation, and a fairly seamless transition to petrol power when you put your foot into it.
The petrol could be heard doing its thing, but at the city speeds we were doing it didn’t seem intrusive. While electric power step-off response was good, you become aware that the 81kW electric motor doesn’t have the beans to really get up a boogey much at all. Yet neither does the 1.6 petrol engine appear to offer the oomph when it’s called in to help out, when overtaking with full throttle, for example.
The combined petrol/electric 165kW/360Nm total output seems a bit ambitious, but we’d need more wheel time to confirm.
The 2023 Peugeot 308 is pretty to look at, and its interior is just as attractive, and for the most part, functional. It persists with the i-Cockpit, dash over small steering wheel theme, which you will either love or hate.
The seats offer ample support and controls mostly easy to find. Like many recent cars, this is not one you will be able to jump into and drive and discover all its screen controls immediately. The graphics are good, but the menu logic is not always easy to follow when coming in uninitiated. It’s here that something like a physical i-Drive controller seems very old-school, but far less distracting and more useful than stabbing blindly at a touchscreen on a bumpy, unfamiliar road.
All up the new Peugeot 308 GT Hatch PHEV is a good thing, and provides a cheap and economic commuter – as far as fuel costs go – for mid-distance urban runs.
Yet the lack of safety features, lack of a five-star crash score, its less than premium suspension and what the rest of the market offers for the same or less money, makes you wonder how many of these cars Peugeot Citroen Australia really expects to sell. Time will tell.
27th of March 2023
Peugeot electrifies 308 hatch
New plug-in hybrid GT Sport variant arrives priced from $64,990 plus ORCs
24th of November 2022
2023 Peugeot 308 review
Peugeot 308 small hatch and wagon make premium-priced comeback for a new generation
21st of October 2022
Peugeot 308 here by Christmas
Order books open for Peugeot 308 hatch and wagon, priced from $43,990 + ORC
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