2023 PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Review
Korean, Japanese, and German brands such as Kia, Toyota, and Volkswagen have moved up a price bracket in the wake of a full-blown assault on the entry-level car market by Chinese-owned entrants from MG, Haval, and Chery. However, PEUGEOT thinks there’s still room for a French player in the $40-50k AUD price bracket and they don’t want to be left behind. They aren’t.
I jumped behind the wheel of the 2023 PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch – priced from $48,990 AUD plus on-road costs – to see if the brand’s intentions are as strong as the star of its new product line-up.
Table of contents
- PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch at a Glance
- What Powers the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch?
- How Does the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Drive?
- What’s the Interior Like on the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch?
- Man of Many’s Verdict on the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch
- 2023 PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Australian Specification
PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch at a Glance
|PEUGEOT has nailed the suspension setup in the 308 GT, it’s compliant, it doesn’t beat you up, and it’s a pleasure to sit in every day on your morning commute.
|Depending on your height, the steering wheel can completely block the digital driver’s display. I rather like the look of the PEUGEOT i-CockpitTM with its 3D effect, but the steering wheel completely blocks the view. If you’re any taller than 190cm you’ll need to test-fit yourself in the car.
|It’s quirky, it’s French, but the more time you spend with the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch the more you come to appreciate the suspension, comfort inside the cabin, and technology that fills the interior.
How Much Does the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Cost?
Pricing for the PEUGEOT 308 GT range in Australia starts from $43,990 AUD plus on-road costs. Our test car was a PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch grade that starts from $48,990 AUD plus on-road costs.
- PEUGEOT 308 GT Hatch – from $43,990 AUD plus on-road costs.
- PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch – from $48,990 AUD plus on-road costs.
- PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Wagon – from $50,490 AUD plus on-road costs.
I’m excited to see the PEUGEOT 308 GT Sport Hatch Plug-In Hybrid arrive later this year. “Looking forward to 2023, we are particularly excited that the PEUGEOT 308 GT Sport Hatch Plug-In Hybrid will allow us to continue our electrification journey and enter into the electrified small car segment for the first time in Australia,” said PEUGEOT Australia Managing Director, Kate Gillis.
What Powers the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch?
|2023 PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Performance Figures
|1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol
|96kW @ 5500rpm
|230Nm @ 1750rpm
|Eight-speed torque converter automatic
|0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds
By the numbers, the 1.2-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine in the PEUGEOT 308 GT doesn’t sound like much of a powerhouse. However, you’d be doing the car a disservice if you were to judge the book by the cover. The claimed 0-100 km/h of 9.7 seconds hardly backs up my opinion, but I was genuinely surprised at the willingness of the small engine.
You’ll only be wanting for more power off a set of traffic lights, but when you get the car up and going the 8-speed automatic does a great job of keeping the car in the powerband. If you test drive a 308 GT and find the power underwhelming, wait for the Sport Hatch Plug-In Hybrid that’s due to arrive later this year, it puts out a rather impressive combined power figure of 165kW and 360Nm, with 59km of EV range on the WLTP cycle.
Of course, it’s right to say that you can get much quicker cars in this price bracket if that’s what you’re looking for. Car’s like the Hyundai i30N are priced from around $54,000 AUD drive-away, but they offer a completely different driving experience. The PEUGEOT 308 GT is far more ‘sensible’ to put it bluntly.
How Does the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Drive?
That leads me to the driving impressions of the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch. I’ve already mentioned that the engine is more than capable of day-to-day activities (and very frugal at that) but the real treat lies in the suspension. French cars have had a history of comfort since the famous Citroën 2CV of the late 1940s and that history seems to carry through to today.
PEUGEOT has nailed the suspension setup in the 308 GT, it’s compliant, it doesn’t beat you up, and it’s a pleasure to sit in every day on your morning commute. The car absorbs all kinds of road bumps and only falls victim to sharper potholes as the 18-inch wheels are running a lower-profile tire.
That’s not to say the suspension is ‘soft’ either, there’s no excessive body roll and the steering feel is good on centre and off, I just wish the rack was a little quicker. PEUGEOT has given the car a smaller heated steering wheel, but the rack is too slow to compensate for the size of the wheel. You have to shuffle steer more often than you’d like.
Ultimately, I’m being a little picky here with my critiques because the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch is a fun car to drive. It proves you can’t always judge a car by the numbers and if can sort out the steering wheel it will become a serious competitor. Now, a little more on that wheel.
What’s the Interior Like on the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch?
You expect the interior of a $50,000 AUD car to be elevated beyond the expected leather and Apple Carplay. And when you’re talking about PEUGEOT or Citroën, you can add ‘French’ to the equation. In other words, there are a few things that are going to take some getting used to.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, the ergonomics and driving position. Depending on your height (I’m 6ft), the steering wheel in the 308 GT can completely block the digital driver’s display. I rather like the look of the PEUGEOT i-CockpitTM with its 3D effect, but the steering wheel completely blocks the view. In order for me to feasibly fit into the car I had to rest the steering wheel on my thighs. It’s like you’re sitting in a lounge chair, the seats are very comfortable, but you’re constantly frustrated that you can’t see half the display.
Ok, I might be exaggerating a little here, but if you’re any taller than 190cm you’ll need to test-fit yourself in the car. Here’s hoping the 308 Sport Hatch Plug-In Hybrid has a different steering wheel.
Now, back to those seats. Only the driver’s seat is electronically adjustable, however, both the driver and front passenger get heated AND massage seats in the ‘Premium’ variant I had on test here. The seats are trimmed in black full-grain Nappa leather with a ‘Tramontane’ charcoal grey top stitch, they’re very comfortable.
Other features that I came to appreciate were the keyless entry and push button start, the panoramic opening glass sunroof, FOCAL premium 10-speaker audio system, and the location of the wireless charging pad under the physical switches below the infotainment. Funnily enough, they’re VERY Porsche 911 style.
The overall layout of the cabin is great, everything is within arms reach, while the design is equally premium-looking and very modern with soft-touch materials used throughout. Full marks, bar the steering wheel.
Is the Infotainment System Modern, Does it Have Apple CarPlay?
Yes, the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch has both wireless Apple CarPaly and Android Auto. It’s a full-screen layout for both devices, while the screen itself is a 10″ HD colour touchscreen. You do have to set up a profile to get the whole system to actually work. However, once all that’s done you can move along and start mirroring your phone seamlessly. I had no trouble pairing my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra on any occasion.
To elevate the infotainment experience to the next level, I would like to see a few extra parking functions. Namely, a true 360° colour reversing and front camera that can be moved around the car, not the in-between system found in the 308 GT today.
Man of Many’s Verdict on the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch
Let me just adjust the steering wheel… Ok, is the PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch worth the $48,990 AUD plus on-road costs that the brand is asking for? I think so, especially if you’re looking for one of the best hatchbacks on the market that isn’t a ‘sports-focused’ option.
The 308 GT has all the standard kit you would expect for a hatchback at this price point and some nice surprises that lift it above cars like the VW Golf, a car that I still can’t give much credit to after it replaced half the interior with scratchy plastic. I’d go as far as to say that its French characteristics become ‘charming’ the longer you live with it and the suspension and ride comfort is something you appreciate each and every time you get behind the wheel. If you can actually fit behind it that is.
Overall, I loved my week with the 2023 PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch. I haven’t even mentioned the awesome paint! The car attracts looks, more so than some supercars I’ve driven recently, and that’s a good thing for both your own self-esteem and PEUGEOT Australia. They’re back people.
2023 PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Australian Specification
- 3-cylinder, 1.2L turbocharged petrol engine
- 8-speed automatic transmission
- 96kW of power and 230Nm of torque
- PEUGEOT i-CockpitTM
- 10″ HD colour touchscreen
- Full LED matrix headlights
- Rear full LED 3D PEUGEOT ‘claw effect’ lights
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Blind Spot Detection (long range)
- Adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function
- Keyless entry & push button start
- Wireless Apple CarPlay® & Android AutoTM connectivity1
- Fraxx knit Tri-Material Alcantara with ‘Isabella’ leather effect and ‘Adamite’ green top stitch
- 18″ ‘Kamakura’ alloy wheels
GT Premium Hatch Adds
- Active Lane Positioning Assist (semi-autonomous driving)
- 360° HD colour reversing & front camera
- FOCAL® premium 10-speaker audio
- Electric driver’s seat
- Heated driver & front passenger seats
- Driver & front passenger massage seats
- Panoramic opening glass sunroof
- Black full grain Nappa leather2 seat trim with ‘Tramontane’ charcoal grey top stitch
- 18″ ‘Portland’ matte black alloy wheels
PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch Paint Options
The PEUGEOT 308 GT Premium Hatch is available in the following colours.
- Standard metallic paint – Olivine Green
- Metallic paint colours – Artense Grey, Nera Black
- Premium metallic paint colours – Pearl White, Elixir Red, Vertigo Blue
Further information on the 308 GT Sport Hatch Plug-In Hybrid including pricing and further specification will be announced closer to launch in the first half of this year.
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