Peugeot 308 long-term test

The plug-in version of Peugeot's 308 family car can officially travel up to 37 miles on electric power. However, now we're finding our what it's actually like to live with...

Peugeot 308 LT header

The car Peugeot 308 Hybrid 180 Allure Premium e-EAT8 Run by Kiall Garrett, senior videographer

Why it’s here To find out if the plug-in hybrid version of this family hatchback can be an efficient day-to-day workhorse

Needs to be Comfortable on long journeys and uber-efficient on short ones while having the space for lots of camera equipment

Mileage 12,184 List Price £37,610 Target Price £35,185 Price as tested £38,460 Official economy 281.1mpg Test economy 51.3mpg Private price £21,074 Dealer price £21,879 Running costs £511.79 (fuel),  £190 (tyre change), £63.02 (electricity)

22 November 2023 – The hatchback lives on

Will SUVs take over the planet? That’s what I was wondering at the start of my time with the Peugeot 308.

Looking back at the top 10 cars sold this year so far, where only three are not SUVs, it sometimes feels as though humble family cars like my 308 aren’t long for this world. So with the 308 now gone from my driveway, do I think cars of its kind deserve a future?

Kiall with the Peugeot 308

I feel well-placed to investigate this, with my previous car being the high-riding Citroën C5 Aircross family SUV –  and given my space requirements as a What Car? videographer, I was a tad worried about the downsize in boot capacity moving to the 308. Throughout my time with the Peugeot, however, I have been relentlessly impressed with what it can store in its more compact boot.

Sure, getting used to 361 litres of storage in the Peugeot versus 580 litres of storage in the Citroën took some compromises. But I was never left frustrated with the amount of space on offer – after all, as well as carrying my camera gear, the 308 also helped me to move house. 

Loading the Peugeot 308 boot

Plus, the smaller size of the 308 definitely had its benefits. With most of my time spent queuing in traffic to get in or out of central London, the visibility and easily-judged dimensions of the 308 meant it was never a stress driving it on clogged-up routes.

All of those points are sound reasons for choosing a traditional family car, but what really endeared the 308 to me – and ensures that it should survive for years to come – was the fact that it was electrified. Indeed, with an official 38 miles of electric range, my plug-in hybrid 308 should have easily managed my commute. I say should, because the most I ever managed to travel in the 308’s electric mode was 24 miles in town – on faster roads, that fell to around 18 miles.

This is not a Peugeot-specific criticism by any means – pick any other plug-in hybrid, or indeed any other electric car, and there will be a big discrepancy between the official range and the real-world range. Still, even the 308's real-world range meant much of my commuting mileage could be done without using any petrol.

Home charging the 308

The cost of this efficiency didn’t impress me, however. At 34p/kWh to charge at home – which I did whenever I could – it cost me about £3.74 to charge up. For 20 miles of range that makes it roughly 19p per mile – a petrol-powered car would need to achieve a modest 38mpg to cost about the same.

But running on electric power had other benefits. The calm, silent, responsive progress when running on electricity was a real boon around town. And when the petrol engine needed to kick in to help, the transition was always pretty seamless.

Regardless of what was powering the 308, it was a nice car to drive. I found the steering to be accurate and nicely weighted, and the ride was well controlled even on bumpy British B-roads. While the 51.3mpg I achieved isn't close to the official 281.1mpg fuel economy you'll see in the 308's official documentation, it's still very competitive for a family car.

Peugeot 308 on b-roads

I was happy with my mid-spec trim choice of Allure Premium trim, too, because it gave me a lot of useful kit – including the driver assist pack, keyless entry and wireless Apple CarPlay

And the interior generally was a plush place to spend some time. The classy look is backed up by premium-feeling materials, and I never had an issue working the car’s simple and responsive infotainment system. I was especially grateful for the customisable shortcut buttons below the main screen, and for the large icons on the car's touchscreen menus.

Peugeot 308's I-Toggles menu

Do I wish I had an SUV instead, then? Definitely not. The 308 was a classy, compact companion which was definitely practical enough for my challenging needs, and while the plug-in hybrid element of it didn’t result in very cheap running costs, I was very happy with the electric experience it delivered. All in, the 308 presents a versatile family car recipe that, I hope, will live long into the future.

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