Peugeot is one of the brands that have won many international automotive awards, built iconic cars over the years and have been around for over a century, so how come they are not a very desired automotive brand in the UAE?
The past few generations of Peugeot have not really kept up with their competitors in my opinion and this is where the new 308, and specifically the 308 GT and GTI comes in.
Special thanks to PerceptGulf for a week with the lovely Peugeot 308 GT.
In the UAE, Peugeot has a bit of an image issue that they have been working hard to change, and hopefully the new generation of Peugeots can change people’s perspective, especially the younger generation that typically flock to the cliche of the car world *cough* Golf *cough* GTI *cough*
Starting off, the 308 GT is their top of the range 308 model, soon to be topped by the 308 GTI. The 308 GT is the sportiest of the current series and carries an interesting 1.6 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine pushing out a little over 200 HP in a car that weights about 300 KG more than the similarly powered VW Golf GTI.
The 0-100 kmph time is around the 7.5 seconds mark, which is justified considering the extra weight. The extra weight does come with more “car” in theory as the car may be a hatchback but it has the dimensions of 4253 x 2043 x 1457 mm (length, width, height) which is a bit bigger than its rivals.
The 308 GT has the new generation of AISIN 6-speed automatic gearboxes which uses Quickshift technology, for faster gear changes and smooth operation, delivering superb driving pleasure and exceptional fuel and CO2
A new page in Peugeot’s design language, coupled with decent engines and build quality could mean Peugeot is looking towards to some interesting sales figures.. or will it? Lets find out!
The 308 GT on the outside
There is no denying that even though the looks might be slightly understated, it is quite a handsome little hatchback. I can picture the same bling on a black version would look totally hot!
Simply put, the car feels like no corners were cut, which is usually a major turn-off in the automotive world. The all new design includes a lot of chrome trim, lowered body kit (In fact the 308GT is 7mm lower at the front and 100mm lower at the rear), and a decent amount of technology such as keyless entry, electronic folding side mirrors, parking sensors, rear camera, led lighting all around and more.
There is subtle GT badges around the car to show people this is special.
I particularly loved the LED lighting. It isn’t just the daylight running lights that are LED, the actual headlight itself is LED which brings unmatched visibility and clarity at night. Cornering lights are LED too.
The rear looks more predictably Peugeot but not a lot, they have changed quite a bit to make it look new and fresh.
The wheels on the GT are unique and are 18 inches which gives it more of a sporty look. Side skirts are also an addition to the GT line.
They have given the 308 GT a twin exhaust which is attached to the piano black finished lower bumper. Quite modern and sporty indeed.
The 308 GT also came with a beautiful panoramic sunroof (cannot be opened) but brought in very nice lighting, and since all the rear windows are tinted, it was just the right mixture of lighting. Hard to tell from the pictures, but there is a sticker on the rear window that says Car of the Year. Peugeot are getting international awards and are not afraid to flaunt it!
Rear trunk space is 470 litres without blocking the rear window and 501 litres filled to the roof and 1309 litres with the rear seats folded down. That is actually larger than most of its competitors, specifically with the rear seats up.
With the front seats set for average height, there is little room in the back. It is a bit clearer now where they got the larger boot space from.
The 308 GT on the inside
Starting off, I will be covering this section in a video I recorded on the way back from Abu Dhabi but before we get to that, here are a few quick points I wanted to cover.
The interior is definitely far superior than any Peugeot model before, with modern looks, quality finishes and interestingly high quality materials used.
Not a huge fan of the floating instrument panel, but after a few days of use, I got used to it rather quickly!
The seats and the leather used in the seats are just superb! Loved the contrast stitching, soft materials and overall comfort of the seats. They are fairly supportive but you are not taking the 308 GT to the race track anyways.
And here is the video breaking down the interior and drive of the 308 GT
If you’re interesting in checking out the info-tainment system of the 308 GT here are some thumbnailed shots of the screens I have talked about in the video
Driving and living with the 308 GT
I have to admit, at first, I was not too intrigued about the drive as much as I was of the overall car but surprisingly the 308 GT gave me a completely new outlook on the capabilities of Peugeot.
Firstly, let’s talk about “sportiness”. The car is fairly quick, although there is slight lag when not in the right gear. I would usually keep the car in sport mode as it provided the best and most efficient amount of torque and stuck to gears longer, which resulted in good power delivery most of the time. Aside from power delivery, the car has good steering that is soft (I would personally prefer harder and more precise steering) but fairly sporty.
The chassis, suspension, wheels and tyres come together for a grippy driving experience with good balanced handling. I constantly tried to push the GT further towards its limits and even when the tyres would be screeching, the car was always very easily managed. Definitely a well behaved car.
Living with this car is the main point to talk about and being a hatchback, the 308 GT is great! It is well sized and is easy to see out of and park, has plenty of trunk space making it a good shopping car and if you have one or two children in your household, the rear seats should be enough. The build quality and materials seem top-notch and I would doubt this car would start falling apart anytime soon after purchase. Peugeot are also offering fairly great packages these days so be sure to shop around!
It is priced fairly reasonably starting around 75,000 all the way up to around 95,000 for the GT. Although this may sound a bit high, do not forget that you’re getting a very well built car, with a lovely engine, a very good drive and a price that is fair compared to its rivals.
Overall, I think Peugeot have done a very good job with the updated 308 GT and it is definitely a very promising look into the 308 GTI, which could, in theory, take on the more popular hot hatches! If you’re looking for hatchbacks, do give the 308 GT a test drive and you’ll be quite surprised how quickly it grows on you. As for me, I cannot wait to get behind the wheel of the 308 GTI!