In radiant Vertigo blue, the 225-hp Peugeot 308 plug-in hybrid whizzes into our underground car park - and we take it out for the test, freshly charged with electricity, in the bright autumn sun.
Yes, yes, the French Golf, again and again ... This foreign attribution and the associated clichés are slowly getting boring. Especially since the meanwhile third Peugeot 308 deserves to be regarded simply as itself. What we want to do with this based on the top model.
Top model - a sports fan then? No, a plug-in hybrid: The two most powerful drives are part-time electric vehicles. Peugeot wants the high-torque variants to be understood as diesel alternatives. After all, they could be moved just as sparingly. And in addition even locally emission-free, at least for 49 kilometers, as we determined on our E-lap. So if you regularly plug the compact one into the socket, you'll be buzzing cheaply through everyday life.
However, if you find the constant plugging in annoying, you shouldn't buy a plug-in hybrid. Because then the heavy electrical engineering brings almost only disadvantages. Approximate weight: The tested 308 weighs 1,659 kg on all four wheels with a full tank but without passengers.
If no wallbox can be installed at home, one would have to rely on the public charging offer; Peugeot offers a contract with Free2Move with access to over 200,000 charging points. From experience we say: All well and good - but a cumbersome alternative to your own petrol pump if you want to drive electrically as often as possible. Especially since the socket on the car is installed on the left and thus on the street side. Not exactly ideal for drawing current from lanterns.
Our editorial wallbox has 22 kW in three phases, of which the 308 only consumes around 6.5 kW in one phase. The 12.4 kWh battery is then fully charged after about two hours. The test car channels the electrons through its on-board charger, which is subject to a surcharge (450 euros), otherwise it would only be 3.7 kW with a correspondingly longer waiting time. In pure electric operation, it then slides pleasantly, but not laudably economical. The E lap results in an average consumption of 24.5 kWh/100 km. Driven in hybrid mode, it is 7.7 l/100 km. Assuming an annual mileage of 15,000 kilometers, two thirds of which are short trips, the result is 2.1 l plus 17.9 kWh. All not excellent values.
So Peugeot isn't squeezing the last ounce of efficiency out of the powertrain. If you take it easy, you will discover another advantage: the four-cylinder starts smoothly in hybrid operation and is hardly talked about. On the other hand, he reacts very deliberately to accelerating, and the automatic weighs the choice of its eight gears first. Which doesn't bother you as long as you're not in a hurry.
If it weren't for the sports business and a certain expectation of the 225 horsepower.Well, these horses don't exactly snap you out of the saddle at a gallop, evidenced by a rather mediocre 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 7.4 seconds.
If the electric motor can no longer bring its 320 Nm to the hooves due to a lack of battery juice, the 308 only trots tired. In other words, the remaining 181 combustion horsepower together with the 250 Nm struggle noticeably with the around 1.7 tons. The 308 doesn't really like storming off that much. Not even decelerating, because the brake pedal is difficult to dose. Of course, the transition from recuperation to mechanical deceleration in hybrid models is an art in itself - but other manufacturers are better at it.
All-round carefree chassis
The tuning of the chassis, on the other hand, is quite successful - a kind of all-round carefree package of sure-footed handling and balanced suspension. A solid 80 percent interpretation, so to speak. Although the 308 does not stop with the first response, it then metabolizes long bumps in the depths of its dampers.
Accordingly, annoying rolling is not an issue in the driving dynamics tests; so up on the home track. But here the steering makes little desire for curves. On the one hand, this is due to the steering wheel itself: It is small and needs to be set low so that you can see the instruments above it. To put it exaggeratedly, it shoves over the thighs of many colleagues. Recommendation: Definitely try a test drive to see if the 308 can be formed into a reasonable triangle of pedals, seat and steering wheel.
In addition to the position that takes getting used to, there is a stubbornness - the feedback from the front wheels hardly goes beyond a certain shaking when braking on bumps and pulling when accelerating in corners. On the other hand, the front axle steers unexpectedly sharply even from the middle position, which makes correcting in crosswinds a matter for fingertips. Sensitive natures, who build their relationship to the vehicle primarily through the steering, will be at odds with this interpretation.
On the other hand, if you just want to glide through everyday life with the 308, you shouldn't be too bothered by it. Enjoy other things instead: for example, the nicely done interior. And possibly the new infotainment.
It appeals to digital natives - if you have to look up this expression, you're not one of them. No problem, as long as you have at least appointed your smartphone as a life companion. If you know how to push, wipe and pull, so to speak. Because that's exactly how the 308 wants to be served.
Alternatively, there is voice input. Although Peugeot is still a long way from the servility of the Mercedes system. The virtual lady often hesitates when she freely formulates her request, which causes her finger to tremble across the screen while she is driving.
The distraction intensifies with the small icons of the sub-functions.Tablet-type operating concepts are currently considered progressive, but are a step backwards in terms of road safety. Only the large-scale top menus are easy to hit - five squares at the bottom of the touchscreen. After all, you can optionally assign them to favorites.
If there were still the three-dimensional effect of the fittings; basic elements such as tempo digits are highlighted with a floating effect. The feature can be dismissed as a gimmick and switched off. Or, depending on your personal predisposition, explore further - you will find various preconfigured displays, you can customize them further.
With that, in addition to trying to take it easy, we've identified another feature: the 308 wants to give visual pleasure. And, all around the cockpit, also be a little different. Whereby with being different we would have ended up with a cliché that is felt to be dug out of the phrase folder every time a French vehicle is tested.
Speaking of rummaging: We also want to praise the numerous compartments for those who love order, blame the loud ventilation of the air conditioning system, and mention the various setting options in hybrid mode. For example, different e-ranges can be reserved or even saved for driving in the next city center. And then there are the pleasantly supportive sports seats, which the top model has as standard – as it generally rolls out of the yard very well equipped. But is that reason enough to invest so much money?
What speaks against the strong hybrid: It is only available from the GT line, i.e. from 44,550 euros - even after deducting the subsidy of 7,178 euros, it remains a high amount worth considering. Alternatively, you could order the 180 hp version in Allure trim and treat yourself to the comfort seats for 590 euros and the steering wheel heating (150 euros). Even the Drive Assist package, including the recommended blind spot assistant, would be in there for 550 euros, and the whole thing would be around 4,000 euros cheaper.
In any case, it seems smarter to us to choose the lower-priced Hybrid 180 - with the same drive combination. Then the 1.6-liter is throttled by 31 hp, but the system delivers unchecked high torque. And the Nm drive, not the horsepower. However, the top model does not drive us to make a top recommendation.
The hybrid drive pleases with soft crossfading, but does not set any highlights in terms of consumption and propulsion. The infotainment lures with many gadgets, but is distracting because it is touch-based.