Read Caroline’s Peugeot 308 review for everything you need to know about the latest version of Peugeot’s popular hatchback to reach Ireland.

The new Peugeot 308 launched in Ireland earlier in 2022 and marks a new chapter for the French brand. Peugeot has chosen the new 308 as the first model to wear the brand’s new ‘lion shield’ logo. Combined with a striking new design, digital interior and a range of on-point engine options, the 308 heralds a new generation of Peugeot cars that move the brand on once again in terms of design and quality.

It’s been a long journey but Peugeot has been on the rise for some years now. Models like the Peugeot 2008 and the 3008 have become a regular sight on Irish roads, while the brand has also fully embraced the electric revolution with a range of new electric and hybrid models including the Peugeot e-208 and the 3008 Hybrid.

The Peugeot 308 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Peugeot 308 on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the new Peugeot 308?

The latest generation of the 308 makes strides forward in design, technology and powertrain, with the introduction of a new plug-in hybrid for the very first time. We can also expect a full electric 308 before the end of 2023.

The new 308 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €31,765, which is a bit more than rivals like the Ford Focus or Opel Astra. But the 308 is more upmarket than both when it comes to the finish of the car. And all 308s sold in Ireland now come as standard with an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Blessed by good looks, the new 308 has an immediately arresting presence. At the front, the grille is large and impressive, wearing the new Peugeot lion shield logo. LED headlamps and dramatic hook-like daytime running lights add impact. It’s a little bit lower than the car it replaces, and appears sleeker and sportier. At the rear, there are new light clusters. Look closely and you’ll see that they have a new ‘claw’ effect signature.

Olivine Green is a signature colour for the new 308 and comes as standard at no extra charge. All versions get alloy wheels, with mid-range Allure models sporting some lovely 17-inch diamond cut alloys.

Inside we see the next generation of the sporty Peugeot ‘i-Cockpit’, with a glossy new touchscreen and digital driver display.

Plug-in hybrids are the most expensive of the range but you can charge the battery and drive the 308 hybrid on electric power only for a range of up to about 60 kilometres.

But what’s the 308 like in its simplest form, with a 1.2-litre petrol engine with 130hp? There was only one way to find out.

The new 308 goes on sale in Ireland from €31,765
The new 308 goes on sale in Ireland from €31,765

Driving the 308

The new 308 sits on a new multi-energy platform that means it can be sold with petrol and diesel engines, as a plug-in hybrid, and as an upcoming electric e-308.

So the 308 offers buyers lots of options, if you like the look of the car. The entry into the range is the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with 130hp. It’s an award-winning engine and one we’ve tested many times in various different vehicles.

But it suits the 308 exceptionally well, feeling more powerful than what you might expect from a small capacity engine. Nippy and responsive, the 308 offers a new found maturity on the road. It’s not the sharpest handling of these hatchbacks – an Opel Astra or a Ford Focus feel a bit more athletic on the road.

But the Peugeot majors on comfort and refinement, offering quite a high-end driving experience from behind the wheel, with the ease of an 8-speed automatic.

It’s efficient too for a petrol automatic, averaging about 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres during my time with the car. But if you do a lot of high speed motorway driving, you might be interested in the 1.5-litre diesel with 130hp.

The 308 hybrid uses a 1.6-litre petrol electric powertrain and is available with two different power outputs – 180hp or 225hp.

The interior of the new Peugeot 308
The interior of the new Peugeot 308

Inside the Peugeot 308

The new Peugeot 308 is available in Ireland in three trim levels – Active, Allure and GT. It goes on sale priced from €31,765 for a 308 Active 1.2 petrol automatic with 130hp.

The mid-range Allure model is one of the best equipped and goes on sale from €35,705. But all versions get a new 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Allure models also get new ‘i-Toggle’ switches so you can create easy shortcuts to popular menus, like the ventilation controls for example.

Behind the wheel, the new 308 feels very upmarket and driver-focused. A lot of that is down to the new version of the Peugeot ‘i-Cockpit’. You look over a new compact steering wheel at the new digital driver display. The graphics have been updated and there are a number of different views available. The driving position is unique but different, so worth getting in behind the wheel to make sure it’s comfortable for you.

The design of the dashboard and centre console is stylish and quite avant-garde for the segment. The material quality also makes it feel a cut above some more mainstream rivals. Allure models get lovely ambient lighting and part-leather upholstery to make it feel more high-end.

The 308 will seat five but a longer wheelbase means there is now a bit more legroom than before. It’s not the largest C-segment hatchback on the market, but it does offer adequate seating for adults in the rear. The boot opens to reveal 412 litres in petrol and diesel models, which is good for the segment. But in 308 hybrid models that is reduced to 360 litres. There’s also the Peugeot 308 SW estate on sale that offers just a bit more practicality and looks great too.

The 308 offers a great choice of engines
The 308 offers a great choice of engines and hybrid for the very first time

Did you like it?

The Peugeot 308 has grown up and matured. It’s one of the best-looking cars in the class, and that’s probably a big reason why you will be attracted to it in the first place.

On looks alone, it can compete with other high-end hatchbacks like the Mazda 3 and Audi A3.

While it now commands a higher list price than some key rivals like the Astra and Focus, it’s in the cabin where your money goes. The 308 offers a much more salubrious cabin experience, with a cosseted, quality feel throughout. The new i-Cockpit and 10-inch touchscreen look more stylish and modern than many rivals too.

The new 308 offers a great complement of practical power options, while being comfortable and refined. But it makes a lot of sense in its simplest form as a lively 1.2 petrol. The 8-speed automatic adds the premium touch.

The Peugeot 308 has come a long way. It’s now one of the most stylish and quality hatchbacks you can buy, and a compelling alternative to the usual suspects in the compact class.

The new Peugeot 308 is a stylish companion to modern life
The new Peugeot 308 is a stylish companion to modern life

Model tested: Peugeot 308 1.2 Allure
1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 130hp
Torque: 230Nm
Top speed: 210km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.7 seconds
Motor Tax: €200 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year