It helps that Peugeot has made a number of useful tweaks, with a revamped layout for the steering wheel binnacle controls and the ability to customise both the digital instrument display and the 10in infotainment touchscreen. On higher trim levels, the digital display features a 3D effect, which is neither as bad as it sounds nor quite as good as Peugeot possibly thinks it is.
The touchscreen looks slick but it isn’t as intuitive or well laid out as the Golf’s (at least when Volkswagen’s software works properly). Notably, the 308 has been designed to take over-the-air software updates.
The interior is perfectly practical for family use, with comfortable seats and reasonable space in the back, thanks in part to the wheelbase having been stretched by 55mm. There’s also a competitive 412-litre boot, although that shrinks to 361 litres in PHEV models. Peugeot also claims 34 litres of storage in various in-cabin cubbies.
The hybrid powertrain proves well integrated, starting typically silently and smoothly in EV mode, with minimal jolting when the ICE kicks in. The combined 266lb ft of torque means progress is brisk, and unless you really attack the throttle pedal, the ICE shows strong refinement.
In a competitive class, the 308 can certainly hold its own when it comes to ride. On 17in wheels, it’s excellent, soaking up bumps with aplomb and combining with the smooth, quiet powertrain to offer a smooth ride and generally pleasing drive. The additional weight of the PHEV system (which makes our test car more than 300kg heavier than some 308s) doesn’t seem to overly burden the car, thanks in part to the extra power. In fact, it rides better than the lighter 1.2 Puretech petrol we tested on 18in wheels.
The steering is responsive, and the 308 can be genuinely rewarding to thread down the right kind of road. It can’t match the Focus for driver engagement (its slightly floaty, light steering is better compared to that of the Toyota Corolla), but it’s certainly no slouch, while remaining easy to drive in urban areas and capable ofeliciting a smile on faster roads. The 308 very definitely feels rejuvenated, with a verve and spirit that the model line has been lacking for some time and which moves it firmly back towards the sharp end of the C-segment hatchback market.