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Road tests

New Peugeot 308 2022 review

We try the all-new Peugeot 308 on British roads to see if it stands a chance in the competitive hatchback class

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

Peugeot’s all-new 308 feels even more like a premium product, in keeping with the brand’s push upmarket. The French hatch has plenty in its armoury to trouble the likes of the VW Golf and Ford Focus, not to mention the many SUVs that have stolen sales over the past decade. But an awkward driving position and a lack of interior space slightly undermine the comfort, refinement and technology that the 308 offers.

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The humble family hatchback has fallen out of favour with buyers craving an SUV, but all the major brands still have something to offer in the segment – not least because hatchbacks still sell in reasonable numbers. Which is why Peugeot has introduced a new 308. We’re driving the 1.2-litre PureTech here, which is likely to be the best-selling model.

We won’t dwell on the car’s looks for too long, although Peugeot has worked hard to give the 308 a distinctive style that makes some of its competitors look a tad dull. The firm’s trademark ‘fang’ daytime running lights sit astride pinched LED headlights that flow into the grille, and there are plenty of creases and slashes in the bodywork heading to the rear, which features ‘three-claw’ rear lights.

It all looks very premium, and this feel continues inside, with our GT Premium-spec car boasting a classy mix of fabric, piano-black plastic and man-made leather.

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There are plenty of storage bins dotted around, too, although you’ll lose a tiny bit of room underneath the armrest in the hybrid models. Boot space also shrinks should you choose the hybrid, from a decent 412 litres to just 361 litres.

The latest 308 is based on the same EMP2 platform as the previous-generation car, plus many other models in the Stellantis group. However, while the platform offers some flexibility in layout, rear legroom in the 308 is cramped if you’re sitting behind someone tall. Thick C-pillars make it feel a bit claustrophobic in the back, too.

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GT Premium models offer heated and electrically adjustable seats as standard. You also get Peugeot’s Drive Assist Pack Plus with lane positioning and adaptive cruise control, along with a 360-degree parking camera, lane assist and heated front seats with massaging function.

There’s a 10-inch digital dash and a 10.1-inch touchscreen, below which are Peugeot’s ‘i-Toggles’ that act as shortcuts to certain menus. They’re big and easy to use on the move, but sometimes you can accidentally press them if you rest your hand to use the main screen.

It all works relatively well, with decent graphics and responses, plus lots of features. But the i-Cockpit set-up means you have to sit quite high up so you can see the full driver’s display, otherwise some information will be completely blocked off by the flat-topped steering wheel.

On the move, the standard auto box delivers smooth shifts. The 128bhp 1.2 PureTech petrol engine isn’t especially pokey meaning a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds, so performance is best described as adequate, feeling lethargic at times. However it’s relatively quiet both around town and at motorway speeds.

The small steering wheel does give the 308 a sporty feel, but while the rack itself is quick and direct, there’s not a tremendous amount of feedback.

Peugeot has managed to mix sportiness with a comfortable ride, too. There’s plenty of grip and not much body roll, while even on the largest 18-inch wheels it glides relatively well over rough roads.

The 308 range starts from £24,635, but you’ll want to move to at least Allure Premium, which starts at £27,385, to really make the most of the Peugeot’s classy interior. Granted, most will be looking for a finance deal, and the Peugeot 308 looks even better on this front.

Based on an annual limit of 10,000 miles, an Allure Premium model will cost £285 per month over 48 months with a £5,000 deposit – a similarly specced Golf will cost £300. Step up to this high-spec GT Premium version, and you’ll be looking at £358, which still looks like reasonably good value.

Model:Peugeot 308 PureTech 130 GT Premium
Price:£31,520
Engine:1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque:128bhp/230Nm
Transmission:Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive 
0-62mph:9.7 seconds
Top speed:130mph
Economy/CO2:43.5mpg/131g/km
On sale:Now
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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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