Car Reviews

2020 Peugeot 308 GT review

What is the Peugeot 308 GT?

Another stylish addition to Peugeot’s lineup, the GT is a limited edition 308 with just 140 examples going on sale in Australia. It’s a proper warm hatch with some fun factor, though not quite the same gripping hot hatch ability of the GTI. But because of that, it’s a bit cheaper to buy yet still has a lot of the same feel with perky performance and sharp handling.

What does the Peugeot 308 GT cost and what do you get? 

The 308 GT starts at $39,990 plus on-road costs, which is pricey but this is the highest spec 308 with an automatic transmission; the GTI is manual only. And the auto is Peugeot’s new eight-speed unit and there’s plenty of equipment to justify the outlay.

Inside is a 9.7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, satellite navigation and DAB+ radio. The seats are finished in suede and leather trim, the dash is enhanced with piano black elements and the steering wheel is wrapped with leather. 

Outside are LED head and taillights and a sporty yet understated body kit around 18-inch alloy wheels. And underneath is sports suspension, making this more than a wannabe warm hatch.

Interior

Typical of the French, this Peugeot presents a cabin with plenty of design flair – Peugeot calls its particular layout ‘i-cockpit’ – but thankfully it has been well-executed and, mostly, the ergonomics are very good. The flat-bottom steering wheel is small – something that might take some getting used to – but as a city car it feels nice in the hands and the dash in front presents useful information clearly. For this six-foot-tall frame, the steering wheel seemed to block some of the dash dials, though others said it was fine.

The fabric and leather finish on the seats is a nice touch too, and although the bolstering is tight and sporty, both front pews are comfortable on longer trips.

How much can I carry in the Peugeot 308?

The boot in the Peugeot 308 GT measures 470-litres large, which is plenty of space for shopping bags and luggage. Compared to competitors, the 308 offers one of the largest boots in the segment.

Despite the relatively large space, the Peugeot 308 GT did not pass the golf club test, too small to fit a full-size set of golf clubs in the boot. But the handy 60:40 split-fold means you can drop one side of the rear seats down to fit it in longer items, and still lug an extra passenger.

Where can I put my stuff?

The cabin feels pretty cosy and there’s not a lot of storage for odds and ends… even the glove box is pretty compromised because of its narrow design.

Between the two front seats where you’d expect to find two cupholders is just one, which leaves the passenger without anywhere to put a drink except for a shelf in the glovebox. And the lone cupholder inside the centre console is deep, which means coffee cup lids are easily popped off (unless you buy large cups). 

Other cabin storage includes a small shelf underneath the dash that’s handy for holding your phone.

You’ll get some small goods in the centre console bin – like some CDs (yes, there’s a real CD player inside the little Pug) – but you won’t be fitting a tablet or much else inside.

Does a baby seat fit in the Peugeot 308?

Yes, there are IsoFix anchor points on the two outer rear passenger seats but the middle cushion is too narrow to bother fitting a car seat. It feels a bit squashy in the back with the front seats in a normal position and the roof is pretty low. And this is certainly not a family-friendly hatch, with very limited rear-seat space that diminishes once the front passenger slides their seat backwards.

What’s the infotainment system like?

The infotainment system is a large 9.7-inch screen with high-definition graphics and a glossy display. It looks great and comes with digital radio, satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It’s intuitive to use which lifts the digital experience for entertainment, and the sound system was punchy and clear with a variety of music styles.

There is no option for wireless phone charging which you do find in some competitors at this price point. For wired charging and connecting to a mobile phone, there is only the one USB port underneath the dash, though a 12v socket provides options for juicing up other devices too.

Driving

What’s the Peugeot 308 GT engine like?

Underneath the bonnet is a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol motor that is good for 165kW and 285Nm. Power delivery is smooth and performance feels lively through the eight-speed automatic, which upshifts quickly and picks the right gear be it cruising for economy or having some fun in the hills. There are also shifters for that, though they are a bit small for column-mounted paddles.

And when you’re having a go there’s a sport mode that changes the automatic shifting algorithm, increases throttle response, and adds a rumbly exhaust note.

What makes this particular engine special in Australia is that it comes with a petrol particulate filter. That sort of technology is fitted to diesels here but not petrols, because Australia’s fuel quality isn’t good enough. But using a special filter Peugeot has made it work, albeit the car must run on 95 RON unleaded, which isn’t entirely unusual.

The stated fuel economy is 6.0L/100km, Practical Motoring managed 8.2L/100km with a variety of freeway crusing and ‘spirited’ driving.

What’s the Peugeot 308 GT like to drive?

As you’d expect for a little hatch the 308 turns into corners quickly and has exciting agility even around town which makes it great for daily driving and parking. But the tuning runs deeper than that.

The steering is quick and accurate with a reasonable honesty in feedback from the road, with a touch of torque steer when you push too deep on the throttle mid-corner. But it’s well tamed for the most part. And it’s a lot of fun. The eight-speed transmission is quick-witted and we didn’t find much need to flick on the paddle shifters, though when you do the gears will hold onto revs.

The balance between ride comfort and agility is a good mix of bump control and a calm enough ride over coarse surfaces that’s not jarring. Reasonably light for a medium hatch the 308 is quick to settle when changing direction and is a perfect example of what a warm hatch should be. It’s a lot of fun.

How safe is the Peugeot 308 GT?

The active safety spec is quite good, too. There is AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and a reversing camera.

Adaptive cruise works well, lane departure warning isn’t too intrusive and blind-spot monitoring was fine. But the reversing camera has a low refresh rate, so the video stream looks a bit choppy. That’s not great for a 2019 car. 

Peugeot 308 GT ANCAP rating

The Peugeot 308 has not been tested by ANCAP.

Peugeot 308 GT alternatives

Volkswagen Golf, Renault Megane, Mazda 3, Mini Cooper, Audi A3.

2020 Peugeot 308 GT pricing and specifications 

Price $39,990+ORC Warranty five-year warranty, unlimited kilometre  Safety Not tested Engine 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo Power 165kW at 5500rpm Torque 285Nm at 1750rpm Transmission eight-speed automatic Drive front-wheel drive Dimensions 4253mm (L) 1804mm (W) 1472mm (H) 2620mm (WB) Boot Space 470 litres Spare Space Saver Fuel Tank 53 litres Thirst 7.7L/100km

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Editor's Rating

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It asks for the sort of money you could buy a budget hot hatch with but the 308 GT delivers plenty of unique feel and character inside and underneath. The eight-speed automatic is a great match to the spritely engine too and the combination is perfect for some warm hatch fun.

Alex Rae

Alex Rae