green machine | 

We finally got behind the wheel of Peugeot's new 308 and it was worth the wait

308’S tweaks make a stunning car

The Olivine 308

Daragh Keany

There was a lot of anticipation among motor journalists and enthusiasts ahead of the big unveil this week.

As Peugeot finally unleashed their new 308 on us there was a collective sigh of relief. This won’t be their top seller but it is a crucially important car for the company and its success will signify why they are pitching themselves directly at VW, especially in the C-Segment where this 308 now sits.

It is the first Peugeot with the new badging and a whole host of new as-standard features and they are even brazenly (I sincerely hope it doesn’t end up being foolish) putting their hopes in a new paint colour called Olivine. Traditionally green cars don’t sell well but the boring days of silvers and blacks are behind us as car buyers look for a wow factor. And this has that. In bucket loads.

Weirdly, when you compare this third-gen 308 to the last the change isn’t as dramatic as some of the other Peugeots in the range. But with each slight tweak to the lines and angles and dimensions they have created a stunning car that will surely catch the attention of VW who seem to have forgotten about the Golf while their ID mini brand flies out of showrooms.

Available in all three trim lines (Active, Allure and GT) the 308 will come in 1.2 and 1.4 litre options and has three distinct powertrains to choose from also…petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid. The PHEV gives around 60km in range by the way, which is on the upper end compared to other cars in the market.

There will be no manual gearboxes in any form in any trim so if that is a deal breaker for you (and it really shouldn’t be) then maybe look elsewhere.

One of the big soundbites from Wednesday’s launch was the entry level asking price of €31,765 but realistically you have to start drifting into the Allure trim line to see the real price of the car as the manufacturer rightly predicts that a large portion of their sales will be from that trim. So, think of this as a €35,705 car.

And also know that there will be a fully-electric version next year as well as plans to introduce the estate version (they like a lot of car companies call it a station wagon) later this year. Incredibly, you will only be asked to fork out an extra €1k for the pleasure of a gorgeous looking estate car.

Luckily for us car fans the company hasn’t gone crazy and changed the interior too drastically. The as-standard iCockpit has been upgraded to have a few 4D features and there is also now an iToggle section which is stupidly easy to use and can be fully personalised to gain easy access to your most in-demand features.

The wireless Apple CarPlay is also a welcome feature for anyone who is overly dependent (like me) on their phone apps.

The drive modes remain the same too with Eco, Normal and Sport. The design and aerodynamics of the new 308 leaves you in no doubt that it wants to go fast, but for the large majority of today’s driving, it is perfectly comfortable in urban commuting too.

The drive modes come in their own colour scheme too which only adds to the graphics on your mesmerising iCockpit.

Peugeot make gorgeous cars. They make fun cars. They make great cars. It is a highly underrated brand but the more and more people that are bold enough to test one out and buy one will remain loyal.

The 208 and 508 are amazing cars and their three SUVs sell really well consistently. They are a brand on the up and now that the latest version of the 308 is available they are a force to be reckoned with.

Myself or Robbie will get a full week long test drive in the 308 and possibly the 308 SW later in the year and will report back.

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