Road test – Peugeot 308 GT Puretech 130 Auto; the brand returns with style and substance
The latest 308 hatchback from the French brand Peugeot reminds me of a stereotypical car salesman. Smooth and suave and in a sharp suit with an equally precise command of the right numbers to persuade you to sign on the dotted line.
From the outside, the car is very pleasing to the eye with flowing lines and relaxed curves, which not only look good, but are designed to help the car achieve excellent aerodynamics. The entire body, such as the bumpers, body pillars, exterior mirrors, extended roof spoiler and even the wheels, has been designed to improve airflow.
But step inside and the landscape changes dramatically to sharp angles and sharp corners in what I’ve been told is a trapezoidal theme.
The designers have done a brilliant job creating one of the best looking new cars to come out of lockdown.
From the outside, the car, both as a saloon or SW estate, is a smart addition to the landscape, especially in the test car’s “olivine green” paintwork, one of seven spectacular color options. proposed.
It has a powerful front and a neat rear and a big improvement over previous models that carried the 308 name.
The new 308 is the first to display the new Peugeot brand logo on the boot lid and grille – hiding the radar sensor – retaining the lion theme but as a roaring head rather than a full-fledged animal. It’s a clear statement of the company’s new approach to the future where four new models are on the near horizon and the whole range will have an electric element by 2025.
It’s longer than the previous model, which means there’s more room for passengers in the back.
LED headlights are standard across the range with vertical daytime running lights while the rear lights feature full LED technology and the iconic three-claw signature.
On the road, the car has excellent stance and feels much more meaningful than the outgoing model, and while the test car’s three-cylinder petrol engine was remarkably capable, it seemed surprisingly loud at low speeds when more punch was sought.
It felt fully confident on the road and the eight-speed automatic was a delight, but even more important is the interior with a very sleek look across the width of the car’s dashboard, which exudes clean efficiency .
For the driver, the 10-inch, eye-level digital instrument cluster displays clear information and the GT test car cluster has a 3D display that might be too complicated but is superbly crisp and concise.
In the center of the assembly is the small multifunction steering wheel of the Peugeot brand.
Higher grades come with configurable virtual i-toggles next to the center display that are touch sensitive for a shortcut to functions like climate control and phone contacts without having to scroll through a menu.
The car’s dynamic controls have a selection of reverse, neutral or drive pulse and the drive style selector for electric, hybrid, eco, normal and sport modes depending on model and powertrain.
The voice control system uses voice recognition for hands-free access to many functions while the climate control constantly monitors the quality of the air entering the cabin and the top models have a treatment system air that automatically filters polluting gases and particles.
The trunk has a useful capacity of 412 liters, with 28 liters of storage in a compartment hidden under the floor. With the rear seats folded flat, that increases to 1323 litres.
There are five trim levels and four power options – two plug-in hybrids, a 1.2-litre petrol engine, which was in the car shown, and a 1.50-litre diesel. There should be a full electric version next year.
It’s a competitive sector of the market with alternatives like the VW Golf or Seat Leon, but 308 buyers will be attracted by excellent residual values when they come to trade in their car or replace it on their PCP contract.