After years of promising that Peugeot would return to America, parent company Stellantis last month announced that those plans have been canned in favor of focusing on the brands that already exist in the US. And that’s a shame, because Peugeot just unveiled the new 308 hatchback and it looks awesome.
While the styling isn’t a radical change, it is an evolution of Peugeot’s already wild design language, so the new 308 certainly stands out. The huge front grille has a cool dotted pattern and features Peugeot’s new logo, which is a modern interpretation of a roaring lion’s head. The emblem houses the sensors for the 308’s active-safety systems, and the 308 also gets the new shield badge on the front fenders like a Ferrari.
Slim LED headlights are standard and have a vertical spear element that extends almost to the front splitter, cutting through the angular air intakes. The 308’s squat stance and proportions make it look slightly rear-wheel drive (even though it isn’t), and I loved the boxed fender flares, reminiscent of 1980s rally cars. The rear end features a raked hatch with an integrated spoiler, and there are super cool LED taillights, inspired by a cat’s claws. But the best part is the optional Olivine Green paint you see in these photos.
The new 308 rides on an updated version of the EMP2 platform that underpinned the old car, the same platform used by other Stellantis models like the new DS 4. It’s over 4 inches longer than the old 308 and rides on a 2-inch-longer wheelbase, and it’s lower as well. There’s more space for rear-seat passengers, and cargo space has been improved as well. Peugeot put a focus on aerodynamics, with things like a more raked windshield and new wheel designs helping to achieve a lower drag coefficient of 0.28.
On the inside is where the 308 really gets wild. Peugeot is trying to go more upmarket, and its latest i-Cockpit interior design is a great start. Available materials include embossed leather and Alcantara and there’s some sweet contrast stitching and color options. The combination of a 10-inch 3D digital gauge cluster and 10-inch touchscreen control the majority of functions, though there is a cool row of customizable virtual toggle switches below the touchscreen, as well as some physical controls including a volume knob. A new “OK, Peugeot” voice control system also can control lots of infotainment functions. The redesigned steering wheel contains sensors to detect the driver’s grip when systems like adaptive cruise control are on, and the electronic gear selector is small and simple to maximize interior space.
The 308 is available with either a gas or diesel powertrain, but more interesting are the plug-in-hybrid options. Both PHEV options pair a gas engine with an electric motor and a 12.4-kWh battery pack, with the 150-horsepower option having a WLTP electric range of 37 miles and the more powerful 180-hp setup getting a 36-mile range. Peugeot says it takes just under two hours to charge using a 7.4-kW wall charger. Every version of the 308 is front-wheel drive, but there may eventually be a hot AWD hybrid version with around 300 horses.
Available features include adaptive cruise control with stop and go and semiautomatic lane changes, lane-keeping assist, long-range blind-spot monitoring, wireless phone charging, a 360-degree camera, a heated steering wheel, a fancy air filtration system, and even massaging seats. There’s also a new smartphone app for owners that can precondition the car and schedule charging on PHEV models.
The new Peugeot 308 will go on sale later this year in Europe. It will be available to buy fully online, with potential owners able to configure their 308, get a trade-in estimate and schedule a home delivery all virtually.