android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The 308 rides on 18-inch alloy wheels. (GT Premium variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The 10.0-inch touchscreen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (GT Premium variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

There's a 10.0-inch digital driver display. (GT Premium variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The GT Premium adds Nappa leather seats. (GT Premium variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The 308 is the first Peugeot to wear the brand's new badge. (GT Hatch variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The 308 has plenty of road presence. (GT Hatch variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

In our opinion the wagon looks better than the hatch. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The wagon is perfectly proportioned. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The wagon has 608 litres of boot space. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

Cargo capacity grows to 1634L when the back seats are folded. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

What we like

Stylish design, inside and out Clean, crisp tech offering Engaging engine note

What we don’t

Can feel lightly powered at times Not always the smoothest drive experience More premium pricing

What we like

Stylish design, inside and out Clean, crisp tech offering Engaging engine note

What we don’t

Can feel lightly powered at times Not always the smoothest drive experience More premium pricing

Peugeot makes no bones about exactly where in the new-car hierarchy its all-new 308 sits, with the French brand promising that its city-friendly hatch or wagon is right on-par with Australia’s premium players.

And it has certainly got the European looks, and – less happily – the European price tag, to live up to that claim.

But what else has it got? And should you take a step off the usual new-car path to put a French city car on your shopping list?

Let’s find out, shall we?

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

Okay, so that pricing I mentioned. The Peugeot 308 arrives in two pretty-well equipped trims, kicking off at $43,990 for the GT, and stepping up to $48,990 for the GT Premium. The Wagon only comes in GT Premium guise, and it will set you back $50,490. All prices are before on-road costs, too.

How does that compare? Well, that depends on whether you agree Peugeot is a true premium offering

If you don’t, then it’s looking more expensive than, say, a Mazda3, which, in its simplest automatic-equipped form, starts from around $28K. But on the other hand, it is cheaper than the equivalent BMW or Mercedes-Benz, especially when standard specification is taken into account.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The 308 rides on 18-inch alloy wheels. (GT Premium variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The 10.0-inch touchscreen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (GT Premium variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

There's a 10.0-inch digital driver display. (GT Premium variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The GT Premium adds Nappa leather seats. (GT Premium variant pictured)

To Peugeot’s credit, there really isn’t a stripped-back model in the 308 family. Even the GT models get a 10.0-inch central touchscreen and a second 10.0-inch digital driver display, the latter also arriving with a 3D effect that takes a little getting used to. You also get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which pairs nicely with the wireless device charging, Alcantara and leather-look seats, 18-inch alloys and a six-speaker stereo.

Stepping up the GT Premium hatch adds things like Nappa leather seats which are heated and deliver a massage in the front, a much better FOCAL 10-speaker stereo and a panoramic glass roof. For some reason, though, the GT Premium wagon still makes do with the six-speaker stereo, despite sharing most of the other upgrades with its hatch sibling.

All 308s get Matrix LED headlights, taillights and DRLs, and all get three-years of connected car services, which are mostly just live maps and weather for now, after which you’ll have to pay to continue them.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

Peugeot talks a lot about road presence when it talks about the new 308. And I’ve got to say, the little hatchback offers plenty of it, mostly centred around the kind of complicated, but still premium-looking, front-end, which is also adorned with the new Peugeot badging for the first time.

But my controversial claim for the day? I reckon the wagon looks better, with it somehow managing to look perfectly proportioned and not like an extension has been built out over the back tyres, which is sometimes the case with smaller hatches that are turned into wagons.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The 308 is the first Peugeot to wear the brand's new badge. (GT Hatch variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The 308 has plenty of road presence. (GT Hatch variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

In our opinion the wagon looks better than the hatch. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The wagon is perfectly proportioned. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

The lighting all looks very high-end, too, especially the narrow strips that frame the front end of the vehicle.

The cabin of the 308 is a funky and fairly premium-feeling space. Of course it’s all screens, but the material choices, and the way they’re combined, all work nicely, the vision is pretty good out of most windows, and you do feel comfortably locked away from the outside world.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review
The 308’s interior has a premium feel to it. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

There’s simply no escaping the fact that this remains a city-friendly hatchback (or wagon), but I got to say, I’ve been in tighter backseats than this one.

The 308 measures 4365mm or 4635mm long, 2062mm wide, and 1465 or 1475mm high, depending on whether you opt for the hatch or the wagon, but the extra space is concentrated over the rear axle, not the backseat, and so passenger room is similar enough across both vehicle shapes.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review
Space is limited, but decent. (GT Premium variant pictured)

Sitting behind my own 175cm driving position, I found I had plenty of plenty of knee room and enough ahead room to not feel too claustrophobic back there. You might struggle to get three adults across the back, not least of which because of the tunnel that runs along the centre of the floor, but you will get two back there fairly comfortably.

Elsewhere, there’s four USB-C ports, two in the backseat, where you’ll also find rear vents but no temp controls, and an ISOFIX attachment point in each window seat.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review
Back seat space is similar in the wagon and hatch. (GT Premium variant pictured)

How much boot space you get depends on which model takes your fancy, with the GT Hatch delivering 412 litres, and the GT Premium hatch serving up 384 litres with the back seats in place.

But when it comes to boot space, there’s really no beating a wagon, and the 308 is no exception. Open the auto-opening boot, and you’ll find a truly useable 608-litre space, which you can make a bit deeper with the adjustable shelf, or use it to hide valuables beneath.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

The wagon has 608 litres of boot space. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

android, peugeot 308 2023 review

Cargo capacity grows to 1634L when the back seats are folded. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

Fold the seats flat and you’ll find a very good 1634 litres of luggage space, which should be enough to carry anything your should need to.

I also really like the little row of buttons beneath the central touchscreen, which are super configurable and can do almost anything at the push of a button. Whether it is idle-stop start, deactivating safety systems or setting the cabin temp, you just push a button and it shall be done.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

There’s only one option for now, and that’s a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol shared across all grades, which produces 96kW and 230Nm.

It’s built for efficiency over out-and-out speed, and it pairs with an eight-speed automatic feeding the front tyres.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

Peugeot says the 308 should sip 5.3 litres per hundred kilometres on the combined cycle, and emit 120 grams per kilometre of C02.

All of which means, if you can match those claims, that a near 1000km driving range is on the cards from the 308’s 52-litre fuel tank.

What’s it like to drive?   7/10

Before we even begin to talk about the drive experience, I can tell you that, on first impressions as you slip into the driver’s seat, the Peugeot 308 does mostly live up to those premium aspirations.

The seats in the top-spec model are heated, and they offer a massage function, you’re faced with a wall of quality screens, and the cabin does feel fairly high-tech wherever you turn.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review
The 308 offers a pleasant driving experience. (GT Hatch variant pictured)

Set off, though, and you encounter the first good side/bad side proposition of the Peugeot 308, and that being that it’s fitted with a tiny three-cylinder engine, ostensibly to achieve better fuel economy.

The bad? It means progress isn’t exactly effortless. Bury your right foot and 100km/h will arrive in a smidge under 10 seconds, which isn’t iceberg-forming slow, but it’s not particularly quick either.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review
The 308 is easy to see out of and easy to park. (GT Premium Wagon variant pictured)

The good? The engine produces a lovely little soundtrack that permeates the cabin when you really get enthusiastic with the accelerator, which has the added benefit of making the Peugeot feel a little sportier than it actually is.

Elsewhere though, it’s a predictably pleasant drive experience. The ride, which can be a bit crashy over really harsh bumps, irons out normal road surfaces petty well, striking that balance between delivering a connection to the road surface while still providing decent comfort.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review
The Peugeot 308 is a genuine alternative to a small SUV. (GT Hatch variant pictured)

For mine, it’s a better car in its Normal drive mode, with Sport feeling a bit to responsive and jerky, and Eco pouring too much cold water on your inputs, with its Normal driving settings striking the best balance between both those worlds.

It’s easy to see out of, easy to park, none of the pillars are too obtrusive, and most of the noise of the outside world stays locked beyond your windows when you’re on the move.

android, peugeot 308 2023 review
The three-cylinder engine produces a lovely soundtrack. (GT Premium variant pictured)

But it’s not the easiest car to just get in and drive, either. It will take a moment to get your head right around the French take on driver controls and infotainment settings, but also the steering is super sharp, with even the gentlest of inputs creating movement in your lane, and delivering a turn-in feel that takes some getting used to around corners, too.

But the more you drive it, the more familiar it becomes, and the Peugeot 308 stands as a genuine alternative to the front-of-mind brands in the small SUV space.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

It’s a pretty safety offering here, with every 308 getting front, side and rear curtain airbags, and a host of high-tech safety stuff – think AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise with stop and go, lane keeping assistance and a 360-degree surround-view camera – as well as blind spot warning that can now see up to 70 metres.

It’s yet to be ANCAP rated, but it scored a four-star result in Euro NCAP testing.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

The 308 is covered by Peugeot’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with servicing required every 12 months or 15,000kms.

Speaking of servicing, the brand’s new service plans offer some decent discounts to those willing to pre-pay for their maintenance. Choose to do so, and the first three years will cost you $1000, while five years will set you back $1800.

Verdict

Peugeot is not the first name that springs to mind when the search for a new car begins, but the all-new 308 does enough to put it itself on your consideration list – and it does it in a stylish, funky and French sort of way.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with meals provided.

Keyword: Peugeot 308 2023 review

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