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Driving report Peugeot 308: The new compact is so good

To start with, we could now formulate a comprehensive the lion is back intro, turning to the new coat of arms and the rumbling Stellantis corporation. Especially since Peugeot attaches great importance to the fact that the 308 is really "Made in France" at the first driving date (in France). More precisely in Mühlhouse and not in Rüsselsheim.

But we won't do it, because the new edition has a lot to offer. The most important finding: the 308 (sedan and SW) now springs much more supple, treats its occupants more gently and can only not properly absorb joints that are driven over slowly and road damage. It is fair to say that hardly any compact car has excelled here so far. Adaptive dampers are still not available. At the same time, the steering lacks bite.

That's not as bad as it reads, because the previously excessively direct steering, significantly supported by the small steering wheel, didn't even match the rather moderately agile handling of the predecessor. No, this 308 steers carefully, gives sufficient feedback, but places little value on alternating curves whizzed through quickly and neutrally. In particular, the station wagon pushes over the front wheels early on in tighter bends. The sedan, which is 27 centimeters shorter, can be driven more energetically than the station wagon. But the Frenchman is a long way from the refreshing agility of a VW Golf or Kia Ceed.

Grown in length and undauntedly diverse engines

The limousine, which has grown by eleven centimeters, and the estate car that is now six centimeters longer, can be equipped with a petrol engine in two power levels (110 and 131 hp), a diesel with 131 hp (1.5 l BlueHDi 130 ) and in two plug-in hybrid versions with a system output of 180 or 225 hp. Peugeot deliberately stages the powerful PHEV in a sporty way. Only available as a GT and GT Pack at prices starting at 44,550 euros (SW: 45,550 euros), it looks even more aggressive, rolls on 18-inch wheels and lights up the night with LED matrix headlights.

We already know the hybrid drive from the 3008 and 508. A 1.6 liter petrol engine (181 hp, 250 Nm) and an 80 kW electric motor work more or less harmoniously together with an electrified eight-speed automatic transmission. As long as the driver stays in classic hybrid mode and doesn't put too much strain on the combustion engine, the station wagon accelerates powerfully and quietly. But anyone who spontaneously and forcefully presses the accelerator pedal from cruising via the electric motor will get to know a robust petrol engine, which, however, starts a little hesitantly, and an automatic that doesn’t appreciate quick gear changes. So if you want to consciously move quickly, then the sport mode is the best choice. As usual, both engines are ready to power and the Peugeot also moves forward accordingly quickly (0-100 km/h: 7.6 seconds, 235 km/h top). However, slight traction problems under full load show that the front wheels are then at their limit.More efficient? Better not.,

After all, the 308 is really leisurely in pure electric operation. With 80 kW, the electric motor is suitably powerful and pulls the Peugeot along as quietly as a whisper. If desired, up to 135 km/h fast. The associated lithium-ion battery has a solid capacity of 12.4 kWh. A 3.7 kW on-board charger series. A charger with 7.4 kW (450 euros) is available as an option. The PHEV can also charge while driving. Of course, the latter is not particularly environmentally friendly. Peugeot states a range of up to 60 kilometers.

Such a classic engine is also good sometimes

Too complicated to handle? The 308 drives much more carefree with its 130 hp three-cylinder plus eight-speed automatic transmission (from 27,100 euros). Charismatic sound, decent traction, quick shift changes - yes, even a small 1.2-liter turbo engine can be fun.,

The four-cylinder diesel is hardly less interesting - it does suffer from a considerable starting weakness and the six-speed gearbox should be a little smoother, otherwise it is a classic, powerful and cultivated diesel. A torque of 300 Nm is simply still good for a light compact car. 100 km/h can be reached in around ten seconds. The top speed is 207 km/h and the WLTP consumption is a maximum of 4.5 l/100 km. Accordingly, he should shine in everyday life with high economy; without asking the driver too much for help. An eight-speed automatic - with converter - costs 2,000 euros extra.

The SW remains true to itself

So much for the driving experiences. Finally, a look inside the car. Or better: in the trunk. Because here, too, the 308 surprises; in two ways. Despite its sharp design, the SW remains a classic station wagon with all the trimmings it needs. With 608 to 1,634 liters, it offers a load volume that is typical for its class (PHEV: 548-1,557 liters), the roller blind fits under the shop floor and the rear seat backrest can be folded forward in three parts via remote unlocking. There should also be a twelve-liter underbody compartment for the plug-in charging cable.,

The smaller limousine, as mentioned, is completely different, with its rear overhang being 21 centimeters shorter. The loading volume is 412 to 1,323 liters (PHEV: 361-1,271 liters). A thin felt floor and a very narrow hatch should do. Not enough to stand a chance against future competitors from Kia and VW. The rear is also less airy compared to the SW. It is also noticeable that it offers SW a much better all-round view thanks to a small lookout.

Chic interior

Otherwise, all occupants can look forward to a chic interior and the driver and front passenger can adjust to the latest variant of the much-criticized combination of small instruments and small steering wheel. Colleague Bernd Conrad has already reported more on this. Ultimately, it's a matter of taste or the i-Cockpit simply has to fit your own stature.

A highlight, and the last surprise in this text, is the great combination of a 10-inch touchscreen and a panel underneath with five touch-sensitive buttons (i-Toogles), which can be configured in many ways but without any complications. And profound. Not only can classics such as radio, navigation and telephone be stored, but also a specific telephone number, the home destination, the lane departure warning system and much more. ,

Conclusion

With the 308, Peugeot has a compact model in its range whose suspension comfort may not match the distinctive look, but customers should like it. At the same time, the range of space, modern extras and engines fits. The only thing missing is a lively PSE with direct steering and all-wheel drive.

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