by Sandy Myhre
There has to be a good reason why the Peugeot 308 won the Women’s World Car of the Year for 2022. In fact, there are several.
Importantly for Peugeot, it was the 308 that the company chose to unleash their new lion’s head badge, quite a significant move since the badge, in many iterations, goes back to 1810. Back then it was a family business making hand tools and kitchen equipment (like the now world-famous pepper grinder which has a life-time guarantee).
It then turned to bicycles and the first car was built in 1890 with a Panhard-Daimler engine.
That brings us to the 308, described as a small family car and which was unveiled in June 2007. It replaced the 307, naturally enough, and is positioned below the 508 and above the small 208. It is logical in a French kind of way.
The second-generation model was unveiled in 2013 and the third model, the one we’re talking about, was launched in 2021.
On the outside it looks sleek. The press release says it “strikes more road stance that its predecessor”. We can’t comment since we didn’t drive its predecessor but it certainly plays the part of being aerodynamically efficient.
What is striking is the colour. Yes, I know men think women only think of colour (and they don’t) but the olivine green had everyone talking, both men and women saying how, well, striking it is.
There are three models in the range, the entry level Allure, the higher-spec GT petrol and the GT PHEV (plug in hybrid electric vehicle) which is more expensive and has an estimated 59kms of zero-emission running for about town. Likely in 2025 the e-308 will be available. We had the mid-range GT.
It looks sporty with pronounced wheel arches covering 18-inch alloys and a tapering roofline adding to the profile.
This has all the safety acronyms you could want – ABS, ESP, LED (headlights), lane assist, driver alert and AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection! It means you can be relatively safe from your own inattention.
The 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder engine is married to an eight-speed gearbox. It’s amazing that the relatively small engine can deliver what it does. It’s perfectly adequate for all seasons and reasons and because it has 5.2 l/100lms fuel efficiency it is eligible for the New Zealand rebate.
The driving position feels low and the steering wheel is small, which is designed to make you feel you are racing. It does 0-100km/h in 9.7 seconds so you won’t be. Most car testers put a lot of store in that figure but women don’t care and it sure feels like you’re in race mode behind the wheel.
The 10-inch touchscreen is functional and contains most minor controls. While most car companies are opting for touchscreens there’s a strong argument for knobs and dials because research shows they are speedier to operate.
The instrument cluster is 10-inches as well, it is reasonably personalised and changes colour with each of the drive modes.
The cabin is spacious, the seats are leather. I’ve said it before and will say it again – Peugeot make the most comfortable seats in the world and in this 308 the contrast stitching gives the seats a decidedly sporty look.
This is a car with personality. It is most fun in Sport mode, test drive it and you will see what we mean. It has a lot going for it which is why it earned the right to be Women’s World Car of the Year 2022.