You can buy a lot of fuel for roughly $20,000.
That’s the price difference between the petrol Peugeot 308 and the new plug-in hybrid version.
The little petrol-electric hatchback is available in one fully-loaded GT Sport grade priced at $64,990 or more than $70,000 on the road. That’s about $5000 more than rival machines such as the Cupra Leon VZe or twice the price of conventional hybrids such as the Toyota Corolla.
The brand says the 308 is attracting older female buyers and the steep price rise hasn’t been a barrier, as it’s not chasing huge volumes.
Kate Gillies, Peugeot Australia’s boss, is expecting most buyers to choose the petrol versions but says the plug-in is appealing to customers who aren’t ready to go full electric.
The plug-in hybrid uses a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine combined with an electric motor and 12.4kWh battery to make a combined 165kW and 360Nm. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
The battery allows the 308 to travel up to 60km on pure electric power, which is more than the average Australian daily commute.
This means Aussies can drive to and from work on electric power, charge up at home and use the petrol engine for longer trips.
It also drinks a headline grabbing 1.3L/100km. This figure is misleading, though, as once the battery is depleted the vehicle relies solely on the petrol engine.
Regenerative braking adds juice to the battery and an e-Save mode uses the engine to recharge the battery on the go. The trade-off is higher fuel use.
An onboard charger that allows the petrol engine to replenish the battery restricts the re-charging rate to 3.7kW.
This means fast DC charging is off the cards. Instead owners will make do with regular household power points or an installed home or public AC wallbox charger.
Peugeot says the battery can be replenished in between 3.5 and 5.5 hours.
The 308 is a handsome hatchback with modern, clean styling.
Smooth lines and a prominent front grille match well with sharp looking matrix LED headlights, 18-inch matt black alloy wheels and understated badging.
Inside, passengers are greeted by plush Nappa leather seats. The front pair are heated, massaging and electronically adjustable. A heated leather steering wheel, ambient lighting and top-notch materials across most surfaces help to elevate the cabin. Below the eyeline there is a more extensive use of hard wearing plastics.
Peugeot’s 10-inch 3D digital cockpit looks impressive and is combined with a 10-inch central screen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A mix of physical buttons and digital shortcuts on the dash makes it easy to navigate climate and infotainment controls.
A 10-speaker Focal stereo delivers crisp sound, while a wireless charging pad and four USB ports – two front and rear – will keep your devices fully juiced on the go.
The back seat is tight, with legroom at a premium for taller adults, but there are two aircon vents. Boot size is par for the course
The 308 PHEV can be driven in three drive modes: electric, hybrid and sport.
In electric mode its silent propulsion is zippy as there is instant access to the electric motors substantial torque reserves.
Hybrid mode is the pick of the bunch.
The electric motor and petrol engine work well together delivering plenty of oomph.
It’s a seamless combo and it’s hard to notice when the petrol engine kicks in, the turbo growl only entering the cabin under hard acceleration.
Switch to Sport mode and it becomes a more engaging drive with a more responsive throttle.
It’s a sweet steering little hatch, although the suspension is a bit firm compared to mainstream small cars, delivering regular jolts through the driver’s seat on pockmarked streets.
There can be a decent amount of tyre roar too over poor quality roads but the cabin ambience improves over smoother surfaces.
Peugeot guarantees its vehicles with a five year/unlimited warranty. The battery is covered for eight years/160,000km and to a working capacity of 70 per cent.
It’s covered by a capped price servicing program that costs $2960 over five years or $2000 if you prepay at time of purchase. Service intervals are long at 20,000km/12 months.
A sweet driving and ultra efficient small car but the price will put it out of reach of most.
PEUGEOT 308 GT SPORT PLUG-IN HYBRID
PRICE $64,990 before on-road costs
ENGINE 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder and electric motor, 165kW and 360Nm
WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years/unlimited km, $2000 five years prepaid
SAFETY Six airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control, driver attention warning and 360 degree camera
SPARE Repair kit
LUGGAGE 361 litres
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