Same recipe, different taste
Peugeot wants to make the barrier to electric driving as low as possible. That is why it is not introducing separate electric cars, but new models are available with petrol, hybrid or all-electric drive. Since electric drive was already taken into account in the design, the batteries could be incorporated in the floor and the choice of engine does not affect the appearance or interior space.
The e-308 is therefore also sleekly designed with a combination of wavy lines interspersed with sharp angles. The grille is closed because an electric motor does not need an air intake. Closing the grille improves the streamline.
Maybe the most important reason to choose a Peugeot is the so-called "i-Cockpit". A small and unusually low placed steering wheel pokes into the interior as if the 308 were a sports car. And just like in a sports car, this set-up forces the driver into an active posture. While in other Peugeot models an ideal seating position can be found quickly, in the 308 it took a long time to find a comfortable seat in the low seat and behind the small steering wheel. It is as if the 308's interior space lends itself just a little less to the i-Cockpit. And speaking of space, it is good in the front and only reasonable in the rear.
The small steering wheel not only provides better control of the car, it also allows the clocks to be placed on the steering column, putting them more in the field of view than clocks behind the steering wheel. Moreover, for the test car, these are 3D clocks. By placing two displays behind each other, the most important information can be shown at the front and the less important information at the back. The idea behind this is that essential information can thus be distinguished more quickly. In practice, this works, but the effect is limited.
Below the central display is a row of virtual buttons ("i-Toggles") that allow commonly used functions to be activated quickly. Since these are virtual buttons, the driver can choose which functions are frequently used and determine their position in the row himself. The display of these virtual buttons is so high-contrast that it looks like they are physical buttons.
The equipment is rich and modern, but not remarkable or innovative. The 308 does everything that can be expected of a car in this price segment, but never does it better or smarter than average.
At launch in 2021, Peugeot already promised an all-electric e-308, but it took two years to arrive. Tthere was an all-new electric powertrain announced from parent company Stellantis and Peugeot wanted to take advantage of that immediately. Because one of the ways the e-308 aims to distinguish itself from other electric cars is through exceptionally low energy consumption.
The battery, control unit and electric motor all focus on efficiency. Thus, from a battery with a capacity of 54 kWh, the e-308 achieves a driving range of 410 km. During this test under average weather conditions on a twisty track with a lot of city traffic, it was even 422 km. This includes a test consumption of 15.1 kWh per 100 km, which is very economical indeed.
Despite this, performance is excellent. The e-308 is not only quick, but when asked, even fast. When the electric motor unleashes all 156 horsepower on the front wheels, they can easily handle the power. When driving calmly, the e-308 is far superior to the internal combustion engine version. Anyone who steps into a petrol-engined 308 after a test drive with the e-308 will therefore immediately experience it as a step back in time.
Autozine has repeatedly urged Peugeot to recover more energy by reducing speed when releasing the accelerator. This was listened to, as the e-308 manages to convert significantly more kinetic energy into electricity in so-called "brake mode" than, say, the Peugeot e-208. This contributes to its low consumption. However, the e-308 does not brake so strongly on the engine that it can be driven with one pedal (a further advantage of electric driving).
Because of costs, Peugeot opts for 400-volt technology (800-volt charges faster but is more expensive). Under ideal conditions, this allows charging at 11 kW at a public charge point and 100 kW at a fast charger. Both are decent values for a car in this price range and with a battery of this capacity.
Once upon a time, "French comfort" stood for a car with soft seats that almost glided over the road surface on soft springs. That was a very long time ago, but for the e-308, Peugeot goes one step further. To disguise the high weight of the batteries, the e-308 is on a relatively firm chassis. An added benefit is that the e-308 feels unusually solid for a French car and can even rival German cars (more on that later).
Then again, it is the i-Cockpit that defines the e-308's character. Thanks to the small steering wheel, a small flick of the wrist is enough to steer a turn. And when a small movement has a big consequence, it automatically gives a superior feeling. Thereby, the e-308 is very agile and even invites the car to drive faster and wilder on twisty stretches. This is satisfying and proves time and again that the e-308 has excellent roadholding. At speeds at which other cars would slide over the front wheels ("understeer"), the e-308 maintains grip.
To make a comparison with other cars: Peugeot and Vauxhall share the same parent company and therefore the Peugeot e-308 and Vauxhall Astra Electric are technically almost the same cars. However, the i-Cockpit and the specific tuning of the suspension make the e-308 a livelier and more challenging car, while comfort is of the same high level.
Does the Peugeot e-308 drive differently from other compact electric cars? As with other electric cars, the driving characteristics are determined by the quietness, agility and power of the electric motor. And like other electric cars, the high weight of the batteries and low centre of gravity result in a stately and stable handling.
And yet the e-308 is definitely different! This is thanks to the "i-Cockpit". The set-up with a small steering wheel and an active seating position ensures better control and a superior feel. Next, handling is excellent. In short: basically, the e-308 has the same character as other electric cars, but the superior control makes for a different experience.
- Successful design
- Quick, powerful, quiet and economical
- Unique driving experience thanks to iCockpit
- Moderate space in the rear
- Driving with 1 pedal is not possible