Everything’s got more expensive, and nothing more so than cars. A combination of shortages in supply, rising raw material costs, and the general soup of everything costing more has seen car prices soar. Case in point — the cheapest new Peugeot 308 hatchback now costs €31,765 — it’s not THAT long ago that a five-door family hatch such as this would have had a starting price closer to €20,000.
Still, you do get a fair bit for your money. Great looks for a start.
Perhaps it’s not quite right to call the new 308 properly pretty, as it’s arguably a little to aggressive for that. Striking, though, and seriously handsome in this ‘Olivine’ metallic green paintwork.
The cabin’s handsome too, fitted out with new ten-inch screens for both instruments and infotainment. Those screens get slick new software, which is not only an improvement on what Peugeot previously offered (and still does in other models), but which is also better than what you get from Volkswagen right now.
It’s a bit tight in the back though, not exactly cramped but not with the sort of wide-open space that you might hope for. The boot on this particular model is also a little small — 361-litres.
Mind you, that’s because this one, a mid-spec Allure version, is a plug-in hybrid, so it’s packing a hefty 12.4kWh battery under the boot (1.2 petrol and 1.5 diesel versions get a 412-litre boot, and there’s a roomy and exceptionally good looking SW estate version coming too, which is definitely a better choice than that SUV you were considering).
Now, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV if you prefer) is pricier still — €44,325 for this one, but that’s not out of line with rivals such as the VW Golf eHybrid. Fully charge the battery and you can run for around 60km on electric power, according to Peugeot, and that should translate into a real-world range of 50km or thereabouts. Enough for the daily commute, and as long as you can charge at home, it could be as much electric car if you need.
It’s not too thirsty on the open road, either. On one long two-hour motorway run, starting with an almost-flat battery, we managed 5.6-litres per 100km, which is more than decent. Even driving fairly carelessly, you should do no worse than 6.2-litres per 100km, enough for around 650km out of a full tank of petrol. The official CO2 emissions are a tax-friendly 24g/km.
You’ll want to do those long journeys too, as the 308 is both hugely refined and comfortable (great ride quality) and really quite enjoyable when the road gets twisty (sharp steering and good balance to the chassis).
Worth the money? Just about. Being good-looking is its own discount.
Key Facts on Peugeot's new 308
How much? Starts at €31,765. The one we drove was €44,325
How far? 60km from a fully-charged battery
How thirsty? Official figure is 1.0-1.3-litres/100km, realistic figure is 6.2-litres/100km
What do you get? Two ten-inch screens, automatic aircon, automatic gearbox, cruise control as standard
How big? 361-litre boot (if you get the hybrid), slightly small in the back, so get the estate
Plus: Great looks, smooth ride, fun to drive, quality cabin
Minus: Small in the back, you need a home charger to get the best from it
Equals: Classy French hatch