2022 Peugeot 308 SW Allure Premium 1.5 BlueHDi 130
You’re not going to mistake the new Peugeot 308 for anything else on the road but, while the design-led exterior is cutting edge, there’s not much that’s innovative about the diesel parts that sit under the swish bodywork. It sits on top of the EMP2 platform, a chassis development that underpins everything from a DS 9 luxury saloon to the Citroën Dispatch van. It also shares the same 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel engine that’s seen service in many other Peugeot, Citroën, DS Automobiles and Vauxhall and Opel cars.
Peugeot 308 SW Allure Premium 1.5 BlueHDi 130 FIRST TEST
The basics then are rather predictable. The chassis is generally impressive, with independent suspension at the front and twist-beam suspension at the rear, which allows for safe and secure handling. It’s rather good at handling twisty roads, if not quite a sector leader, with the front end turning in enthusiastically and leading a well-balanced car around the curves. Find a more straightforward road and it gets even better, with the car dealing with urban potholes and surface cracks without any issue. At speed, the ride becomes gloriously smooth, with long motorway undulations being barely perceptible.
The sense of refinement is increased further by the soundproofing that Peugeot has fitted to the car. Perhaps we got lucky with road surfaces, but without getting noise meters out, it feels like one of the quietest cars in its class, with barely a peep from the engine, a notable absence of wind noise, and only minor road noise creeping into the cabin.
But that’s all shattered when the engine is worked hard, however, with the 129bhp of available power barely up to the job of lugging the 308 around. It’s wonderfully refined and smooth at a cruise, but even the slightest of incline sees the car dropping a gear or two on its eight-speed automatic gearbox, with the revs rising and the engine protesting. It’s a shame therefore that an automatic gearbox is the only option in the latest 308 for the UK market; petrol, plug-in hybrid and diesel.
It’s frugal, with the trip computer showing 50.4mpg during our time with the car. That’s some way down on the best economy figure of 65.0mpg, but says more about our press-on driving style than the car itself. On a gentle cruise along the nation’s motorways, where the car works at its best, we wouldn’t be surprised if 60mpg was regularly seen on the 308’s instruments.
The cabin is a rather more special place, although there’s good and bad to contend with. The angular dashboard, full of straight lines and contrasting surfaces sweeps from side to side, grabbing attention and diverting your gaze from the i-Cockpit. Peugeot is persevering with this setup, which has a tiny steering wheel sitting low, underneath a small digital instrument panel. We’ve always got on with this, despite protestations from others, but this time it’s not quite so well resolved and there was no position we could find where the whole panel was visible.
The display itself is full of bright, sharp, colourful graphics. It looks fantastic, but it’s fiddly to use. The overwhelming amount of information provided in a small space, with little regard to clarity, makes it impossible to assimilate the information quickly.
While that’s a triumph of style over function, the new infotainment system is a huge step forward. A 10-inch touchscreen controls everything, with functions hidden behind menus. However, a row of six shortcut buttons can be configured to your needs, so you’ve always got instant access to the functions you desire. It’s a genius idea that’s been well executed, as you’re only ever one finger tap away.
Those in the front seats get plenty of space to lounge around in, with especially cossetting seats fitted, holding you in place and leaving you very well supported. The steering wheel and seats offer a wide range of adjustments too, so you should have no problem getting comfortable. There are large door bins, a big cubby hole in the centre, two cupholders and even a flat smartphone-sized recess (with a wireless charging pad on Allure Premium models and above).
Those in the back don’t get such a good deal. Legroom is tight for all, and headroom isn’t particularly generous. Two adults will fit in the back, but won’t enjoy the journey. A pair of Isofix attachments means two child seats will fit well though. And it’s a similar story for the SW estate, despite an additional 57mm of legroom. It would seem that the extra space has been utilised for the boot. And that’s pretty impressive, with 412 litres for the hatchback and 608 litres for the SW estate. Fold the rear seats down and these extend to 1,323 and 1,634, respectively. Impressively, the additional carrying capacity of the estate has been added without any appreciable different to the performance, economy, handling or ride of the 308, compared to the hatchback.
Please note, the photographs depict a manual gearbox car, though our test car was an automatic.
A more expensive but far more refined option is the plug-in hybrid. A choice of two power outputs marries a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 109bhp electric motor, to deliver either 177 or 221bhp, depending on version. With a 12.4kWh battery pack, there’s a realistic 30 miles (Peugeot claims 37 miles officially) pure-electric range available before you’ll need to burn any fuel, while our rather binary driving style during testing saw the vehicle return 122.8mpg, according to the instrument binnacle. Handling isn’t quite as sharp as the diesel, but it’s quieter, has greater refinement and is more powerful.
FACT & FIGURES
- On sale Now
- In showrooms January 2022
- Prices £25,400 to £40,000
- Bodystyles 5-door hatchback and estate
- Engines 1.5-litre diesel automatic (129bhp), 1.6-litre petrol plug-in hybrid automatic (177bhp and 221bhp)
- Trim levels Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT, GT Premium
- Also consider Ford Focus, SEAT Leon
- Version tested SW Allure Premium 1.5 BlueHDi 130
- List price £29,350
- Built in Mulhouse, France
- Codename P5 Platform EMP2
- Bodystyle 5-door estate, 5-seats
- Layout Front-wheel-drive
- Powerplant 1,499cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbo diesel
- Gearbox 8-speed automatic
- Stop-start Yes SCR Yes
- Max power 129bhp @ 3,750rpm
- Max torque 221lb ft @ 1,750rpm
- Top speed 129mph
- 0-62mph 10.9secs
- CO2 emissions 121g/km (Euro-6d RDE2)
- Economy (combined) 56.9-65.0mpg
- Fuel tank 52 litres Range 744 miles
- Insurance group tba
- BIK rate (2021/2022 tax year) 28%
- Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,636/2,062mm
- Boot space (min/max) 608/1,634 litres
- Kerbweight/max towing 1,400/1,500kg
- Euro NCAP crash rating Not yet tested
- Spare wheel (Full-size/spacesaver/run-flat/ self-sealing/repair kit) No/no/no/no/yes
- Warranty 3 years/60,000 miles
- Verdict A style-focussed technological tour de force, but Peugeot hasn’t forgotten the basics. Luxurious and refined, but space is once again tight in the back for families.
- DrivesToday rating 8/10