This is Peugeot’s first attempt at electrifying its 308 hatchback to go up against the likes of the Volkswagen ID.3 and MG4.
This was never going to be easy, but Stellantis has a track record of making great small electric cars – just look at the 2023 Vauxhall Corsa Electric.
Electrifying an existing model is a bit like trying to teach an old dog new tricks – let’s see how the e-308 gets on.
Reasons to buy:
Feels familiar, unlike many EVs
It’s immediately apparent behind the wheel that it does things differently from its two key rivals.
Yes, this is the more expensive car so you’d expect quality, and you do get a much nicer interior.
Even the way you sit in the seat and the way you’re surrounded by the interior – rather than feeling like you’re perched on it like the ID.3 – adds to the overall experience.
Just from looking inside the cabin, we think this will appeal to those making the switch from petrol to electric because it’s familiar and not highly futuristic like your Teslas and Mercedes electric models. It just feels like a Peugeot, and we like that.
The new i-Cockpit display sits flush and wraps around the dashboard, cocooning you into the driver’s seat and giving it a sporty feel.
Along with this, you also get nifty 3D graphics in front of you and a really fast and reactive infotainment screen in the centre that can connect to your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Having said that, Peugeot’s system won't disappoint.
Below the central screen is a refreshing set of shortcut haptic buttons and physical buttons that control the heating, A/C and hazard warning lights.
This is something we do miss when it comes to so many modern cars, so it’s great that Peugeot has listened to those who like a tactile control button.
When it comes to parking, you get a reversing camera that’s the same quality as what you’d get in higher-grade Peugeots such as the 508, and that makes reversing into tighter spaces a doddle.
The interior does feel a step above its rivals – not just because of the hefty price tag you need to foot, but also because of the mix of materials.
You get softer touch plastics in contact areas and then a nice satin finish in other parts, and some suede as well, which adds to the car’s upmarket appeal.
Yes, a fully-specced MG4 (even the hot XPower) won’t break the £40,000 mark like the e-308, but if you want a solid interior that feels German in terms of quality and feel, then it’s hard to ignore this model.
Like with the 508 SW PSE we tested, you need to have the steering wheel lower than you’d like to be able to see the digital gauge cluster properly, which takes some getting used to.
This will vary depending on your preferred seating position, however.
We think this will appeal more to those making the switch from petrol to electric because it’s familiar and not highly futuristic
When it comes to driving, this car is more comparable to the Volkswagen ID.3 in that it gets you down the road easily and sensibly with linear electric power delivery, unlike the MG4, which feels more dialled-in and sportier.
This is precisely why we think the Peugeot is better for most people, and makes it a great daily driver.
It’s powered by the same layout as its Vauxhall counterpart, with a front-mounted electric motor mated to a 54kWh battery that produces 156hp and 270Nm of torque.
From this, you get a respectable claimed 257-mile range. This is almost 70 miles fewer than the MG4, however, and that car costs £6k less.
So, brand loyalty aside, you may wonder why anyone would choose the Peugeot – but there’s a good reason.
Predictably, it drives very well. There’s really no such thing as a poor car to drive anymore given that technology and engineering are at their peak.
There are also some nice touches Peugeot has added to the e-308 to make the driving experience feel as normal as a petrol car's.
This includes smooth acceleration with linear power delivery, which makes a change from the ‘shove in the back’ style of some other electric cars, where one toe-touch of the throttle can feel like a rocket ship launch.
This normalises the driving and means it’s very refined and not jerky.
The ride quality itself is good. You get a sense the 18-inch alloy wheels are quite heavy on this particular GT model, and there are moments when you feel the car thudding into holes in the road, but this doesn’t impact ride quality.
This has been improved by an advanced suspension system that smoothes out this 1,684kg EV’s mass (which is less than many of its rivals thanks to a 100kg battery weight-saving).
Alongside this weight-saving comes handling, which for the e-308 is dynamic – minimising body roll – with a quick-reacting front-end and strong composure around the bends, reaffirming its ease of use.
We can’t say it feels like a hot hatch – it's more like a warm hatch, with a nippy 0-62mph time of 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 106mph.
When you accelerate or are at speed, the whole car feels very quiet and refined, with no powertrain noises or whines coming from any part of the car, making it feel rather luxurious.
Most of this is down to the well-insulated cabin, however.
Despite being an ‘average car’, the e-308 has some different driving modes, with the most popular being Eco and Sport.
Flick it into Eco Mode and instantly your claimed range will jump up a few miles as the car gets softer and lighter to drive.
In our testing, we gained five miles when switching this mode on from 114 miles at 54% battery to 119 miles.
Move into Sport Mode and this stiffens up the suspension and tightens the steering rack to make it more direct and agile, but we doubt the average owner will ever use this mode, if at all.
There’s also ‘B’ mode, which gives you strong regenerative braking – this is ideal for driving around towns and cities and can be heightened or scaled back depending on how much you want.
Speaking of city dwellers, the turning circle is a strong point for this mid-sized hatchback, so getting in and out of tight spaces will be a breeze.
All you’d hope is that Peugeot made the e-308 as easy to live with as the petrol-powered 308 – and it has.
Very little has changed in terms of practicality and storage space when comparing these two cars.
Both the plug-in hybrid and the EV get the same 361-litre boot, which is slightly less than the petrol’s 412-litre boot but you also get space under the boot floor to hide cables, keeping your boot free for shopping and luggage.
The rear seat area doesn’t feel as spacious as in the ID.3, so if it’s space you want in the back of your electric hatchback, then it’s the VW you want because of the added legroom.
The one annoying thing is that, while it’s not in use, you do still have a transmission tunnel running down the middle of the car as the 308 is based on an internal combustion engine car.
This makes space for the rear middle passenger pretty tight, so it’s the classic case of a comfortable four-seater with the fifth passenger pulling the short straw.
While electric cars don’t have to be that expensive to run on a day-to-day basis, the initial purchase price is something else.
The starting price for the Peugeot e-308 is £39,995, rising to £42,250 for the GT version we tested.
This is an awful lot of money for a small hatchback, but once put in perspective, it’s a little easier to stomach.
Just don’t go comparing this to the MG4’s price tag, because then you will be torn.
Read our Vauxhall Corsa Electric review
The second cost to consider is charging, which will vary depending on where you plug it in.
If you do use one of these 100kW chargers, you can see an increase from 20-80% battery in just 28 minutes, but this will be more expensive.
Once fully charged, you should get up to 275 miles on a single charge, which is very good considering the size of the battery.
Being a new car, you'll also benefit from Peugeot’s three-year warranty, which would cover any issues you may have.
Being electric, however, we don’t expect there to be any problems due to it having fewer moving parts than a traditional internal combustion engine.
Written by Ben Welham
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We really wanted this car to be good, and we’re glad it actually is.
It might not be quite the best in terms of bang-for-your-buck and agility, but it does enough to stand out from its two arch-rivals.
The Volkswagen ID.3 is sensible but a bit boring, whereas the e-308 is nothing short of luxurious, which is down to the way it looks and therefore how it makes you feel.
It rides nicely and it’s not sporty, but we think Peugeot has done a very good job in allowing this car to stand apart from its competitors – and the people who want this car probably don’t want those more futuristic and sportier models anyway.
This review was