2023 Peugeot 308 review: Australian first drive

Stunning styling inside and out, with fun-to-drive dynamics help the new Peugeot 308 range stand out from the small car pack.





AddIcon

What we love
  • Fun to drive
  • Design inside-and-out
  • Comes as a wagon!
MinusIcon

What we don’t
  • Underpowered
  • Expensive
  • 3D gauge cluster is gimmicky and distracting

Peugeot’s 300-series has been in continual production for over 90 years and the brand has built over 15,000,000 examples in that time.

If you do a quick google search on the 1938 Peugeot 302, you’ll notice that it’s also been avant-garde over a similar period of time. The 2023 Peugeot 308 is much the same too, with a striking and rule-bending design both inside-and-out.

Some more good news is that the compact station wagon version has survived to fight another day. With brands pulling out of this segment left, right and centre, it’s nice to see a Peugeot committing to the cause.



It rides on a heavily-revised version of the brand’s EMP2 platform, and one ready for electrification finally, too.

Let’s explore it’s price, cost and features, before seeing what it’s like to drive.

How much does the Peugeot 308 cost in Australia?

The 2023 Peugeot 308 comes in three variants: 308 GT hatch, 308 GT Premium hatch and 308 GT Premium wagon (or SW in Peugeot-speak).



Prices are up significantly (check our full price and specs here), but so is standard equipment. The range starts from $43,990 before on-roads and costs for the 2023 Peugeot 308 GT, or around $48,400 drive-away.

Thankfully, that beautiful Olivine Green green comes as standard on the hatch, with a selection of six other colours costing anywhere from $690 to $1050 depending on the colour. Note that the SW body type doesn’t come in green, but instead a wagon-exclusive ‘Avatar Blue’ that’s equally as stunning (and with no additional charge!).

Next up are the 308 GT Premium pair, with the hatch starting from $48,990 and the wagon $50,490 before on-roads costs. That makes them worth around $53,700 and $55,278 drive-away respectively.



The whole range is powered by a carry-over 1.2-litre three-cylinder ‘Puretech’ petrol motor with 96kW/230Nm and the same eight-speed torque-converter auto as the previous generation car.

There is a Peugeot 308 GT plug-in hybrid model coming, but we’re told pricing and specification will be revealed early next year. We expect it’ll cost in-excess of $60,000.

Thankfully, there are no equipment options across the range, meaning the what you see is what you get.

Key details 2023 Peugeot 308 GT Hatch 2023 Peugeot 308 GT Premium Hatch 2023 Peugeot 308 GT Premium Wagon
Price $43,990 $48,990 $50,490
Drive-away price $48,400 $53,700 $55,278

How much space does the Peugeot 308 have inside?

Peugeot’s interior philosophy often divides the crowd.

The brand calls it ‘i-Cockpit’, and places the gauge cluster up high in your line of sight, and the steering wheel low-down in your lap. It means you peer over the steering wheel, and not through it.

Some love it – others hate it – but after some time you do become accustomed to driving with the steering wheel adjusted a pinch lower than usual. Something we all agree on however is the quality of the cabin, both in terms of its aesthetic design and build quality.

It looks high-end and befitting of a car that costs twice as much The material selection is diverse and quality, presentation class leading, and arguably a slidce of what’s to come in more mainstream cars soon enough.

All models in the range feature a 10-inch digital instrument cluster with three-dimensional graphics. Although it looks cool when stationary, it can be received as cluttered and busy when trying to be read on the move. Luckily you can turn it off via in the in-car settings.

The Alcantara and pleather trimmed seats found in the 308 GT are beautifully comfortable and feature manual lumbar adjustment, whereas 308 GT Premium models go one further with fine nappa leather trim, electric adjustment with two-position memory, heating, massage function and electric lumbar.



They’re a nice get, and the massage function unique to the Peugeot 308 in its class. We spent over two-hours driving the range through the South Coast and Southern Highlands districts of New South Wales on manufacture-picked drive routes and found the seats wonderful and supportive to spend time with.

Over in the second row, space is okay for the size of car. Sitting behind my own seating position (I’m 183cm tall), I found my knees close to the seat backs, and feet unable to squish under the seat in front.

Others competitors offer more room. What’s also noticeable is that the wagon has less legroom than the hatch, with space in the back geared toward cargo-carrying capacity.

It’s a lifestyle vehicle after-all. All cars in the range feature rear air vents and two USB-C charging ports, and there’s no fold-down arm rest in the rear of the wagon.

Boot space comes in at 412L for the GT hatch, 384L for GT Premium hatch (due to the Focal premium audio system), and 608L for the wagon. The cargo area is well proportioned and easy to use, but sadly all vehicles feature a tyre repair kit and no spare wheel.

2023 Peugeot 308 GT Hatch 2023 Peugeot 308 GT Premium Hatch 2023 Peugeot 308 GT Premium Wagon
Seats Five Five Five
Boot volume 412 L seats up
1323 L seats folded
384 L seats up
1295 L seats folded
608 L seats up
1634 L seats folded
Length 4365 mm 4365 mm 4635 mm
Width 2062 mm 2062 mm 2062 mm
Height 1465 mm 1465 mm 1475 mm
Wheelbase 2675 mm 2675 mm 2730 mm

Does the Peugeot 308 have Apple CarPlay?

All Peugeot 308 models feature a 10-inch infotainment system with wireless and wired Apple CarPlay and Android auto, two USB-C ports, and wireless phone charging.



The infotainment system is awesome in that it’s highly customisable. You can configure the main screen with varied-sized widgets for your favourite functions, and then go one-step further but altering the five ‘digital toggle’ switches underneath with even more specific ones.

It makes accessing things like climate control, media, start stop, and other driver assist systems one-touch away and adjustable to your taste. Another nice addition to the Australian Peugeot 308 range are connected services, meaning its infotainment system is both functional and smart.

In the evident of an accident, the car will dial SOS. The in-built navigation has some smart services too, like fuel and parking prices as well as accurate weather information.

After three-years of ownership, Peugeot do charge a subscription fee to keep the connected services alive. If you value car audio, you’ll be forced into the 308 GT Premium model with 10-speaker Focal audio system.

It’s a high-quality sound system that rendered Preoccupations’ Viet Kong with twang, brightness and space.

Is the Peugeot 308 a safe car?

The Peugeot 308 range has not been tested by Australian crash test authority ANCAP safety.



However, it was tested by European equivalent Euro NCAP, where it scored four stars out of five. In this test, the 2022 Peugeot 308 scored well for child occupant safety (84 per cent), but fell down in terms of adult occupant protection (76 per cent)

2023 Peugeot 308
ANCAP rating Unrated

What safety technology does the Peugeot 308 have?

There’s a decent amount of active safety inside a Peugeot 308, including autonomous emergency braking with low-light pedestrian and cyclist detection, active lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and speed sign recognition.

And, for the first time, it also features rear-cross traffic alert – something missing from the Peugeot 308 range beforehand. Its advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) are well-calibrated and don’t get in the way of a pleasurable driving experience.

How much does the Peugeot 308 cost to maintain?

Peugeot offers service plan pricing, meaning it’s up-front, transferrable and the cheapest way to service one.

You can also package up the costs via your novated lease, if that’s how you intend to purchase. Three years or 45,000km costs $1000, and five years or 75,000km costs $1800.

That makes it cheaper than the Volkswagen Golf, but more expensive than mainstream rivals from Korean and Japanese brands.



We were unable to get an insurance quote due to the press launch embargo meaning information to official parties (like insurance companies) is on hold.

At a glance 2023 Peugeot 308
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $1000 (3 years)
$1800 (5 years)

Is the Peugeot 308 fuel efficient?

Peugeot claims a fuel efficiency figure of 5.3L/100km, however we were driving the car mainly through good, hilly and higher-speed country roads.

It resulted in a fuel consumption figure of 8.4L/100km, miles-over the official claim. I checked another two cars on the press launch that both had numbers over eight, too.

Consider this an anecdote for now, as we need to test the car over a mixed conditions of road on a longer duration loan to come to a proper conclusion. Stay tuned.

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 5.3L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 8.4L/100km
Fuel type 95-octane premium unleaded
Fuel tank size 65L

What is the Peugeot 308 like to drive?

My biggest gripe with the package is the powertrain.

It’s well calibrated and smooth, however could do with a few more kilowatts. With one person on-board it’ll take a while to accelerate up to 80km/h, so be wary when you merge into areas with faster speed zones.



You need to flex the engine and rev it out; something exacerbated after you load it up with more adults, kids and luggage. Peugeot offers this car globally with a peppier 1.2-litre engine (110kW+) or feistier 1.6-litre turbo globally, which both would’ve been better suited to the package here in Australia.

If you’re going to be buzzing around a metro area and rarely leaving the big smoke, you’ll probably be less concerned than I am. The eight-speed torque converter auto is a treat however. It’s made by Japanese power transfer specialist Aisin and is ironically the same transmission used by its key competitor – the 2023 Volkswagen Golf.

It shifts smoothly, always finds the right gear, and helps reduce emissions due to being as lossy as a regular six-speed manual. Handling is good too, with the car feeling nimble and agile through the curvier sections of road we were driving on.

Peugeot has a great and long history making cars that steer with confidence, and this new 308 continues that theme. The fast and low-effort steering no doubt contributes to its sense of deftness, and the suspension tune is supple enough to absorb bumps without unsettling the car.

It took water-damaged roads in its stride, and those course-chip countryside roads equally so. Comparing hatchback to wagon for a second, I found the wagon feeling busier over the same sections of road than the hatch.

I have a feeling it’ll settle down with some weight in the back however, and that’s something we plan to test when we get our hands on one for longer than a couple of hours. Road noise heard in the cabin is pretty low too, and you get the sense Peugeot have tried to move the 308 upmarket with how it feels on the road and in-line with its new pricing.



It feels akin to the class-leading VW Golf, and certainly a tier-above mainstream Japanese and Euro competitors; but it’s just a shame that the engine isn’t on the same page as the rest of the car.

The rest of the car absolutely is, making the new Peugeot 308 worthy contender for the segment crown. 

Key details 2023 Peugeot 308
Engine 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol
Power 96kW @ 5500rpm
Torque 230Nm @ 1750rpm
Drive type Front wheel drive
Transmission Eight-speed torque converter automatic
Weight 1880kg hatch
1890kg wagon
Spare tyre type Tyre repair kit
Tow rating 1400kg braked
680kg unbraked hatch
710kg unbraked wagon

Should I buy a Peugeot 308?

If you value design and quality, this is your best bet in the segment. The exterior and interior design will blow your socks off in the showroom, and the drive probably will be enough to get you over the line, too.

However, make sure you give it a blat through some faster speed zones and through hillier areas, or at least bring the family along on the test drive to see how it feels in your exact conditions.

If you’re a SINK or DINK, go straight past go and collect your 308. I’m also chuffed to see the wagon being continued for another generation, as I honestly think it makes for a better alternative to a compact SUV.

Our test drive experience at the launch was brief, however we will be spending more time with the 2023 Peugeot 308 range soon, for more thorough testing.



Ratings Breakdown

Peugeot 308

7.6/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

After more than a decade working in the product planning and marketing departments of brands like Kia, Subaru and Peugeot, Justin Narayan returned to being a motoring writer – the very first job he held in the industry.

Read more about Justin NarayanLinkIcon

Leave a Comment