Electrical automobiles (EVs) and hybrids are actually the ‘it women’ proper now, with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) all the time enjoying third fiddle.
However the expertise has been round for some time and is as prevalent as ever, significantly amongst the European marques given they carry out favourably in official gas exams and are incentivised of their dwelling areas.
Additional, there are usually extra performance-focused purposes than standard hybrid choices, and the usage of combustion engines within the drivetrain guarantees extra standard driving traits and engagements than full-electric alternate options if you wish to have some enjoyable.
Right here now we have two plug-in hybrid small hatchbacks that promise a steadiness of dynamism and luxurious for $60,000-$70,000, and hope to lure patrons who could initially have an interest their combustion-engined equivalents however wish to make the step into electrification with out going full EV.
Each are pretty recent to our market too. The Cupra Leon VZe has been in Australia for simply over a 12 months now, and is principally the closest factor you will get to the Volkswagen Golf GTE proper now given they share chassis and drivetrains.
Cupra is one in all few manufacturers in Australia which have reported stable uptake of its plug-in hybrid fashions, with round 10 per cent of first 3000 orders break up throughout the Leon and Formentor VZe e-Hybrid fashions.
In the meantime the Peugeot 308 GT Sport Plug-in Hybrid is probably the most highly effective model of the French model’s standard (a minimum of abroad) small hatch staple.
The place its Spanish rival focuses on dynamism and spirited efficiency to rival one thing like a Golf GTI, the Peugeot is extra measured in its strategy to efficiency whereas balancing that with an opulent cabin atmosphere that might rival a Mercedes-Benz A-Class – sure… actually.
Two very totally different takes on an analogous components, however they’re additionally each nameplates which can be small gamers in what remains to be Australia’s greatest passenger car section, with distinctive electrified powertrain choices within the Australian market.
How a lot?
The Cupra Leon VZe is the extra inexpensive of our two rivals, priced from $61,690 earlier than on-road prices for MY24. It’s up $1700 on MY23 pricing, although picks up normal DAB+ radio and a brand new out there possibility package deal.
Value noting is that Cupra Australia has aligned pricing of the VZe with the 221kW VZx halo mannequin, although drive-away pricing for the plug-in hybrid is determined by the state or territory you reside in – in contrast to the petrol-powered Leon vary.
Our MY23 take a look at automobile was fitted with the $2050 Leather-based Package deal, which for MY24 turns into the $2550 Leather-based and Sound Package deal which brings – you guessed it – full leather-based upholstery with powered entrance seat adjustment, heated entrance seats in addition to a nine-speaker Beats premium audio system. A panoramic sunroof prices $1850, whereas our take a look at car’s Graphene Gray premium paint provides $490.
Nevertheless – totally optioning the Cupra, which is required to match the specification of its French rival, brings the asking worth to $66,090 earlier than on-roads, which truly makes it the dearer possibility right here with out premium paint.
In the meantime the Peugeot 308 GT Sport Hatch Plug-in Hybrid (breathes) is priced from $64,990 plus on-road prices, giving the Cupra a $3300 head begin. Not like the Cupra, nevertheless, there are not any choices apart from premium paint.
Our take a look at automobile’s Pearl White is an exxy $1050 further, bringing the as-tested sticker to $66,040 plus on-roads, making this fairly an excellent match up certainly.
What do you get?
Cupra Leon VZe highlights:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Tyre restore equipment
- LED headlights
- LED daytime working lights
- Fog lights with cornering operate
- LED tail lights
- Automated headlights
- Automated high-beam
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Rear tinted home windows
- 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit cluster
- 12-inch touchscreen infotainment show
- Wi-fi Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- Wi-fi telephone charger
- 4 x USB-C ports
- Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Heated, energy folding aspect mirrors
- Paddle shifters
- Configurable ambient lighting
- Black headliner
- Fabric sports activities bucket seats in Black
- Driver profile choice
- Dynamic Chassis Management
- Progressive steering
- Keyless entry and begin
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- 3-zone local weather management
- Illuminated sill panels
- Aluminium pedals
- Semi-autonomous parking help
Leather-based and Sound Package deal: $2550 (V, VZ, VZe)
- Nappa leather-based upholstery
- Heated entrance seats
- Driver energy adjustment incl. reminiscence
- Mirror reminiscence operate
- Dashboard with copper stitching
- 9-speaker Beats premium audio
Electrical sunroof: $1850
Premium metallic paint: $490
- Want Crimson, Graphene Gray
Peugeot 308 GT Sport Hatch Plug-in Hybrid highlights:
- Acoustic car alert system
- Hybrid drive mode
- Kind 2 cost cable
- 18-inch Portland matte black alloys
- Panoramic opening glass sunroof
- Fingers-free electrical tailgate (GT Premium Wagon solely)
- Nappa leather-based with charcoal gray high sew
- Electrical driver’s seat
- Heated entrance seats
- Therapeutic massage operate for entrance seats
- Two-position adjustable boot ground (GT Premium Wagon)
- Energetic Lane Positioning Help (centring)
- 360-degree HD cameras (entrance, rear)
- Focal 10-speaker premium audio
- Matrix LED headlights
- LED tail lights incl. 3D claw impact
- Peugeot 3D i-Cockpit
- 10-inch 3D digital instrument cluster
- 10-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system
- Wi-fi Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- AM/FM/DAB radio
- Leather-based multifunction steering wheel
- 8-colour ambient lighting
- Frameless electrochromatic rear-view mirror
- Auto local weather management with clear air operate
- Electrical, heated, energy folding mirrors
- One-touch electrical home windows entrance, rear
- Acoustic tinted windscreen
- Keyless entry, push-button begin
- Wi-fi telephone charger
- 6-speaker audio
- 2 x USB entrance (1 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C)
- 2 x USB rear (1 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C)
- Entrance, rear parking sensors
Metallic paint: $690
Premium metallic paint: $1050
Are they secure?
The Cupra Leon wears a five-star ANCAP security score, based mostly on Euro NCAP testing performed on the SEAT Leon in 2020.
It obtained an grownup occupant safety score of 91 per cent, a toddler occupant safety score of 88 per cent, a susceptible highway person safety score of 71 per cent, and a security help score of 80 per cent.
Customary security gear consists of:
- 10 airbags incl. front-centre, driver’s knee
- AEB incl. Pedestrian, Bike owner detection
- Adaptive cruise management with cease/go
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Driver fatigue monitoring
- Lane preserve help
- Proactive passenger safety (pre-cash)
- Reversing digital camera
- Protected exit warning
- Journey Help
- Adaptive cruise management
- Adaptive lane steering (centring)
The 308 wears a four-star ANCAP and Euro NCAP security score, and a part of the explanation it didn’t fare in addition to it might have is all the way down to the grownup occupant safety in a crash, which at 79 per cent, isn’t terrific.
Different scores included little one occupant safety (86 per cent), susceptible highway person safety (68 per cent) and security help (82 per cent).
Customary security options embrace:
- 6 airbags
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Low-light Pedestrian, Bike owner detection
- Auto post-collision braking
- Adaptive cruise management incl. cease/go operate
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Driver consideration warning
- Lane preserve help
- Reversing digital camera
- Pace signal recognition, advice
- Tyre strain monitoring
308 GT Premium provides:
- Energetic Lane Positioning Help (centring)
What are they like inside?
Being based mostly on the identical MQB evo structure because the VW Golf and Skoda Octavia, there’s a robust sense of familiarity if you hop contained in the Leon.
The minimalist design focuses on straight traces and a pared again strategy to bodily switchgear, which means key cabin capabilities are accessed by way of the touchscreen.
Whereas we’re usually fairly essential of the VW Group’s present crop of touch-heavy interiors, Cupra’s take appears to be the higher strategy, with a extra user-friendly interface with devoted shortcuts within the touchscreen.
Nonetheless, the contact sliders for temperature and quantity aren’t backlit which may be annoying should you’re attempting to regulate on the fly, however you may also simply simply ‘set and neglect’ and the quantity may be toggled by way of steering controls, too.
The elective leather-based seats in our take a look at automobile with energy driver adjustment are beautiful, with the conceal feeling easy and supple to the touch, whereas the extendable thigh cushion for the motive force is significantly appreciated. You additionally get reminiscence presets for the motive force, which additionally saves the mirror positions too.
One-piece backrests add a racy contact, together with embossed Cupra logos within the headrests. It’s a disgrace the passenger seat isn’t powered, however each entrance seats function heating.
The massive 12.0-inch touchscreen beats the Peugeot for outright measurement, however the 308’s 10-inch unit seems to supply higher decision and readability, maybe helped by its clear end versus the Cupra’s extra anti-glare show that dulls crispness considerably.
That stated, I’d argue the Cupra’s unit is snappier and gives extra fluid animations. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay related faster too, although it was additionally extra inclined to dropouts in identified Melbourne useless spots.
I’d additionally decide the Leon’s 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit digital cluster over the Peugeot’s 3D unit daily of the week, which has its French rival beat for readability, configurability and ease of use. My private favorite structure is the only central tachometer dial which harks again to Audi’s R8 supercar.
Storage between the 2 is about par, with devoted cabinets for wi-fi telephone chargers, respectable cupholders and respectable bins beneath the centre armrest and within the doorways. Each have their centre consoles freed up by means of stubby little shift-by-wire selectors.
Perceived materials and construct high quality is sweet in isolation, but it surely doesn’t really feel anyplace close to as posh because the Peugeot.
There’s a superb ratio of extra yielding soft-touch surfaces, however the plastic brushed components masquerading as steel in addition to the trims lining the centre console positively don’t really feel significantly costly.
I’ll add that the Cupra’s extra open plan design feels much less driver targeted than the Peugeot’s extra wraparound structure and better belt line which cocoons you in. Many will desire the Leon’s extra standard steering wheel and instrument cluster positioning, nevertheless.
The Leon is the clear winner should you’re recurrently carting individuals round within the again, with sufficient head, knee and leg room to suit 6’1 me behind my very own most popular driving place – the 308 is noticeably tighter within the rear.
You even have further runs on the scoreboard because of the third zone of local weather management, which is toggled by way of the touch-capacitive buttons on the rear of the centre console. A pair of USB-C energy retailers function too.
Different rear seat facilities embrace a fold-down armrest with cupholders, ISOFIX anchors on the outboard seats with top-tethers throughout all three rear positions, in addition to decent-sized bottle holders within the doorways. You additionally get map pockets behind the entrance seats.
Maybe the one actual gripe in regards to the rear seat lodging is the very fact the chunky sports activities seats up entrance restrict ahead visibility from the second row, which means nausea-prone passengers could not have the perfect time. Fortunately, the large rear home windows let in loads of mild.
Maybe the Leon e-Hybrid’s greatest downfall within the change to an electrified drivetrain is the impression it’s had on the boot space. At 270L with the rear seats in place, it’s smaller than most mild hatchbacks and 110L down on petrol variations – and almost 100L off the Peugeot.
The area itself remains to be extensive and sq., but it surely’s a disgrace that the environmentally-friendly possibility is so compromised within the boot. There’s a ski port as effectively to permit longer objects to take a seat between the 2 rear passengers, and when the second row seatbacks are folded, they lie fairly flat.
Having the battery mounted beneath the boot ground additionally means you lose the space-saver spare tyre that’s normal in different Leon fashions, as an alternative that includes a tyre restore equipment.
Preliminary impressions of the 308 if you first hop in are très magnifique.
The swathes of Nappa leather-based upholstery and matching padded leatherette sections all through the inside make this fairly the luxe little small automobile, and I’ve gone on document beforehand to say this has the nicest inside presentation of any small passenger car in the marketplace proper now – premium manufacturers included.
It feels a minimize above within the perceived high quality stakes, with extra luxurious trimmings unfold out extra liberally. It ought to dispel the notion that French manufacturers can’t match the Germans for cabin presentation and high quality.
Just like the Cupra there’s electrical adjustment for the motive force’s seat with reminiscence presets – though it’s normal within the Peugeot – in addition to an extendable thigh cushion. Each entrance seats are heated as normal, too.
Peugeot’s i-Cockpit inside structure can be somewhat bizarre for some – the small wheel and high-set devices make this really feel somewhat like a racing simulator than an precise automobile, and sure physique sorts could discover it onerous to get the steering wheel right into a place that doesn’t impede the cluster while additionally not knocking your knees – I managed, however not everybody does.
I felt perched somewhat greater within the Peugeot than the Cupra, however the seats up entrance are very snug and assist you from each angle – the extendable backside cushion for the motive force is nice for leggy drivers like myself.
The ten-inch 3D digital instrument cluster must be a match for the Leon on paper, but it surely’s tremendous slim and nowhere close to as brilliant or as detailed in its data presentation. In saying that, it’s a cool and distinctive design that’s an evolution of the newest era of Peugeot merchandise if that’s your factor – you may change to 2D if the three-dimensional look is somewhat an excessive amount of for you.
Peugeot’s funky strategy to steering wheel controls additionally means it’ll take a number of goes so that you can work out toggle by way of the assorted menus and layouts of the cluster, in addition to skip audio tracks and the like. When you get it although, it’s simple.
The ten-inch central touchscreen will get an enormous thumbs up for brightness, readability and determination – however, it’s not fairly as snappy as Cupra’s system. The flamboyant configurable contact bar beneath means you may set shortcuts in your most popular capabilities.
It has normal related companies too (three-year subscription), which the Cupra can’t match, providing net-based options like on-line navigation with dwell site visitors routing and updates, automobile park data and gas costs (refreshed day by day), in addition to internet map search and velocity digital camera alerts. It additionally will get month-to-month wi-fi map updates from map supplier TomTom, and helps over-the-air software program updates.
Most homeowners will bypass the native system to make use of wi-fi Apple CarPlay or Android Auto anyway, and this labored seamlessly your entire time we had the 308.
Whereas the Leon can now be had with a nine-speaker Beats premium sound system for MY24 – which in different fashions we’ve noticed as being good if not fairly standout – the Peugeot’s 10-speaker Focal premium Hello-Fi setup has higher depth and bass, feeling a bit extra high-end.
Storage is sweet too, with cupholders hiding beneath a sliding drawer, a shelf in your telephone full with a wi-fi charger (although your telephone tends to slip round a bit), a double-lidded cubby beneath the armrest, and deep door bins that may swallow bigger bottles.
The 308 prioritises boot area over rear seat room, so should you recurrently have taller passengers hopping in with you they may be somewhat squished again there.
Knee room is the primary difficulty, as I used to be pretty brief on it when attempting to take a seat behind my most popular driving place. Youngsters and smaller adults must be wonderful, although.
There are rear air vents, door bins and map pockets, however there’s no fold-down armrest with further cup holders – once more proof that this isn’t as targeted on carrying second-row passengers.
It does match the Cupra in providing ISOFIX anchors and top-tether factors, although the decreased area within the rear could make it more durable to suit bigger little one capsules – there’s a 308 Wagon with longer wheelbase, but it surely doesn’t have a PHEV possibility in Australia.
With 361 litres of baggage capability behind the second row, the 308 PHEV simply bests its Spanish rival and virtually matches non-hybrid variations of the Leon. Peugeot additionally quotes 1271L with the rear seats folded.
It’s solely about 50 litres off the non-PHEV 308 Hatch, and is a properly extensive and sq. area. It additionally has a netted aspect part for stowing free objects, which the Cupra additionally lacks.
All variations of the Peugeot 308 have a tyre restore equipment fitted.
What’s beneath the bonnet?
Energy in VZe variations of the Leon and Formentor comes from a 1.4-litre turbocharged plug-in hybrid system that drives the entrance wheels by way of a six-speed DSG dual-clutch (moist sort) computerized transmission.
The 1.4 TSI is the 110kW/250Nm unit from the Volkswagen Golf and Tiguan, and a litany of different VW Group fashions for that matter, paired with an 85kW electrical motor and 12.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack. System outputs are rated at 180kW and 400Nm, basically matching that of the Leon VZ 2.0 TSI (180kW/370Nm), with 0-100 taking a claimed 6.7 seconds – 0.3 seconds off the lighter petrol-only VZ.
Cupra claims the Leon VZe can journey as much as 67 kilometres on a full cost, with mixed gas consumption rated at a miserly 1.8L/100km and an emissions score of 40g/km. For reference, the Leon VZ quotes 6.7L/100km and 153g/km. The official power consumption declare is 11.3kWh/100km on the extra NEDC cycle – WLTP specs stipulate 15.1-15.9kWh/100km relying on how the car is optioned.
The Leon VZe has a 40 litre gas tank in comparison with the 50L unit in different variants, and the drivetrain is Euro 6 licensed, together with a petroleum particulate filter (PPF) like the broader vary – one thing differentiating Cupra from most native Volkswagen Group fashions. Minimal 95 RON gas is crucial.
The plug-in hybrid GT Sport includes a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 132kW of energy, teamed with an 81kW electrical motor and eight-speed computerized transmission.
The transmission is a spinoff of the Aisin-soured EAT8 auto utilized in different Peugeot fashions, however with the torque converter within the transmission being changed by a clutch pack. It’s front-wheel drive solely.
System outputs are 165kW and 360Nm, which is a good whack greater than you get out of the petrol-only fashions, which have a 1.2-litre turbo-triple pumping out 96kW and 230Nm. The 0-100km/h declare is 7.5 seconds, which is 0.8s off the Cupra.
It’s hooked as much as a 12.4kWh lithium-ion battery which quotes as much as 60 kilometres of electrical vary on the WLTP take a look at cycle. The official mixed cycle gas consumption determine is a formidable 1.3 litres per 100 kilometres.
The utmost AC charging price is 3.7kW. Peugeot claims the battery will recharge from 0-100 per cent in roughly 3.5 hours from a wallbox, and approx 5.5 hours from a home family plug. You get a cable for that included with the automobile.
How do they drive?
From the second you get in and begin rolling, the Leon VZe makes it clear it’s the sportier of the 2 automobiles right here.
The plug-in hybrid Leon is pitched as a correct scorching hatch, with an influence output matching the petrol-powered VZ which is successfully Cupra’s model of the Golf GTI – 180kW – and 30Nm extra torque (400Nm v 370Nm). Take into accout, nevertheless, the Leon PHEV is 130kg heavier than the 180kW Leon VZ.
Whereas the outputs are spectacular on paper, there’s loads at play right here, and the Leon PHEV has a number of totally different sides to it relying on the way you’re driving and which of its modes you’re utilizing.
By itself the e-motor, mounted between the six-speed DSG and 1.4 TSI petrol engine, makes 85kW and a wholesome 330Nm – the latter on faucet just about from the second you contact the throttle pedal. In different phrases, the Leon PHEV in electrical mode has comparable punch to what you’d anticipate from an entry-level Euro diesel, minus the noise.
Whereas it by no means feels significantly quick when in EV mode, the VZe is responsive off the road and is completely able to getting as much as freeway speeds while not having the help of the petrol engine. Often you’ll really feel the dual-clutch auto shift by way of cogs as you get going, but it surely’s something however unrefined or jarring.
On start-up the Leon VZe defaults to EV mode and can prioritise its Consolation profile, which in regular driving might be finest. Journey consolation even on massive 18-inch wheels is spectacular, and insulation from wind and highway noise is likewise good, even with the absence of engine noise more often than not.
The controls are mild and correct, which means it’s simple to pilot in on a regular basis conditions and received’t be a process to park. The great thing about having well-calibrated drive modes means you may dial issues up or down as you see match, permitting the car to have one thing of a Jekyll and Hyde persona.
Pop it into Cupra and it companies up a bit, with out being uncomfortable or overly heavy within the controls. Be extra liberal with the throttle and the 1.4 TSI petrol engine entails itself extra, and if you bury your proper foot it’ll mild up the tachometer in blue because it engages Enhance mode, providing up all 180kW and 400Nm out there.
It pulls onerous, feeling about as fast by way of the seat of the pants because the model’s 6.7-second 0-100 declare suggests, and extra aggressive drive modes pump a synthesised engine be aware akin to a brassy V6. Whereas we all know it’s a four-cylinder beneath the bonnet, the muscular lower-end and linear response proper by way of to the highest finish isn’t far off the response you’d get out of a six, so I suppose it really works.
The partaking soundtrack and powerful efficiency is definitely fairly addictive, and I tended to go away the Leon in these modes when on extra spirited stints. It’s noticeably extra keen than the Peugeot, and looks like a correct efficiency providing by comparability.
When issues get twisty, the Leon VZe doesn’t really feel fairly as lithe and pointy as its combustion-engined steady mates, but it surely’s greater than able to placing a smile in your face. Throughout the context of this comparability, it looks like a bonafide scorching hatch in comparison with the Peugeot, which whereas nimble and responsive by way of the motive force controls doesn’t really feel prefer it enjoys being punted up a winding highway.
For probably the most half there’s good grip, however on the restrict you’ll really feel the entrance wheels scrabble for traction because it tries to place all 400Nm to the tarmac, however like talked about above it’s the dynamic decide in comparison with its French rival. This doesn’t get the right electromechanical entrance diff like its petrol siblings, but it surely does supply torque vectoring by way of braking.
You too can take management of gears your self utilizing the paddle shifters, and the Leon’s DSG does a superb job at responding to inputs as you’d anticipate from a non-hybrid scorching hatch.
As for battery and vary, we constantly managed between 50 and 60 kilometres in blended driving situations, in addition to colder Melbourne temperatures. I drive 10km early within the morning to go to and from the gymnasium, then my commute to the CarExpert Melbourne workplace is 24km every approach.
I’d have the battery nearly to expire of EV vary as I received dwelling on the finish of the day, equating to 58km of real-world EV vary – about bang on the WLTP declare of 55-60km.
As soon as the battery runs out of usable EV vary, it should default to working like a Toyota-style hybrid, utilizing the electrical motor to set off and drive beneath low throttle, and firing up the petrol engine as soon as the onerous work setting off is completed – it’s fairly environment friendly when working on this mode too.
Each automobiles supply a full suite of lively driver help methods, and the Cupra’s entry to Volkswagen’s tech suite pays dividends. Journey Help stays one of many headline acts, combining adaptive cruise and lively lane-centring options to facilitate Stage 2 autonomy on the freeway.
It’s one of many extra intuitive and correct methods in the marketplace, although I did discover the adaptive cruise management generally is a little conservative if somebody cuts into the lane forward of you, or is travelling a number of km/h decrease than your set velocity.
Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are all useful to have, however aren’t’ essentially any higher or worse than what the Peugeot has to supply.
Just like the Cupra, the majority of my time within the 308 was spent commuting to and from the workplace, which meant I spent most of my time utilizing the EV portion of the PHEV drivetrain acronym.
Melbourne’s chilly winter temperatures little doubt had an impression on electrical driving vary in each automobiles, and I couldn’t handle any higher than 45-50km within the Peugeot earlier than I heard that 1.6-litre petrol engine quietly hearth as much as help.
When working as an EV, the Peugeot appears to have rather less responsiveness and refinement than the Cupra, with a little bit of lag in response off the road and the occasional jerkiness at parking speeds. Regardless of the electrical motor providing 81kW and 320Nm which is effectively inside attain of the Cupra’s 85kW/330Nm, it feels notably extra relaxed.
As soon as transferring, although, the silent driving traits of EV motoring mixed effectively with the 308’s extra luxurious pitch – it’s positively leaning into that GT badge.
It feels firmer than the Cupra in regular driving because it lacks the Leon’s adaptive dampers, and it additionally runs a stiffer torsion beam rear axle in comparison with its rival’s multilink rear. Because of this, at occasions will probably be somewhat sharper over issues like tram tracks, however is much from crashy or unrefined.
The little steering wheel is attached to a fairly responsive and direct steering system that’s received a fairly fast ratio, which makes the Pug’s entrance finish really feel pointy and eager to show in. Couple that with a taut chassis tune and the Peugeot does the Euro agency factor fairly effectively, balancing consolation and dynamics properly if somewhat on the firmer aspect on the town as famous earlier.
Each of those automobiles are fairly mild so far as PHEVs go, quoting tare plenty of round 1.6t. The Peugeot’s tighter tuning makes it really feel that little bit lighter on its ft for day by day duties, but it surely’s not the extra athletic of the 2 because the speeds rise.
The Peugeot is happiest when cruising on the freeway or down easy suburban streets. Its lack of a entrance differential that vectors torque means it’s liable to understeer in more durable corners, and the 308 PHEV’s range-friendly Michelin Primacy 4 tyres sacrifice outright grip within the pursuit of low rolling resistance and most EV vary.
When driving as a hybrid versus an EV, the Peugeot falls behind its Spanish rival. The 1.6-litre motor is sort of gruff on chilly begin and doesn’t have the identical meaty torque wave that shoves you within the again regardless of it providing a not-insignificant 165kW and 350Nm on paper.
Peugeot additionally hasn’t engineered any type of sound synthesiser for the engine be aware, which means the petrol engine may be fairly thrashy and unrefined should you gun it. With that stated, it’ll rise up and boogie should you want it to, and flicking it into Sport mode sharpens every thing up noticeably.
The 308’s Energetic Lane Positioning Help combines with the adaptive cruise management to supply a semi-autonomous freeway driving mode, and just like the Cupra’s Journey Help it really works relatively effectively, taking the load off longer journeys. The Peugeot’s 360-degree digital camera view bests the Leon’s rear solely digital camera, and it matches its rival’s inclusion of blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection – all working effectively too.
I can even be aware the Peugeot was higher insulated than the Cupra on the open highway, doubtlessly all the way down to the distinction in tyres (Bridgestone Potenza S005 v Michelin Primacy 4), in addition to higher sound insulation.
Price of possession
Like the broader Cupra vary in Australia, the Leon is roofed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre guarantee.
For fashions with high-voltage battery parts, there’s an extra eight years or 160,000 kilometres cowl in opposition to manufacturing defects or “extreme lack of web battery power”.
Cupra additionally throws in three years of complementary scheduled servicing with all fashions, which represents a saving of round $1200-$1500 based mostly on what Skoda and Volkswagen cost. You may add a two-year Service Pack to increase protection to 5 years or 75,000 kilometres – pricing for plug-in hybrid fashions is $1400.
I managed an indicated 2.6L/100km over 194km of blended driving, although there have been a few events the place I ventured additional than my typical routine which exceeded the EV driving vary. With nightly charging and common use, you may simply match Cupra’s 1.8L/100km declare.
There’s a five-year, unlimited-kilometre guarantee for the automobile, and the PHEV’s battery pack is roofed by an eight-year/160,000km guarantee – assured to have 70 per cent capability by the tip of the guarantee interval.
Servicing is required each 12 months or 15,000km, whichever happens first.
The model gives a few comparatively inexpensive servicing plans should you pay forward – there’s a three-year plan at $1200, or 5 years at $2000. So, $400 a 12 months for upkeep for a French hatch.
I spent somewhat extra time within the Peugeot over the course of the week, often charging nightly and doing my typical commuting with some further errands thrown in right here and there. Over 436 kilometres, the journey laptop was exhibiting a formidable 2.3L/100km.
Do you have to spend extra time on the freeway, the Peugeot’s further two cogs over the Cupra doubtless give it a slight effectivity benefit, significantly as soon as the petrol engine is in play.
Whereas these two electrified hatchbacks seem to have similarities on paper, they’re aimed toward very totally different patrons.
The Cupra Leon VZe does the higher job at emulating precise scorching hatches in the way in which it performs and handles, so should you’re a eager driver and wish one thing involving that is also environmentally acutely aware, it’s the higher decide right here.
It additionally gives higher real-world electrical driving vary, has a better-rounded drivetrain that feels extra refined, and it’s additionally higher at carrying individuals. However, the very fact it requires choices ticked to match the Peugeot’s normal specification which additionally sees it lose its base worth benefit, in addition to a cheaper-feeling cabin are relative gripes.
Conversely, if you’d like one thing with a little bit of punch and responsive controls however desire extra luxurious and refinement for the mundane day by day stuff, the Peugeot shapes because the extra compelling alternative.
The cabin is attractive; it’s enjoyable and quirky and particular in the way in which its designed in and out, and has the larger boot on take a look at. It additionally gives the next degree of ordinary specification, and positively feels costlier even when the Cupra is totally optioned.
However the Peugeot additionally has its drawbacks. It has much less driving vary, much less efficiency, much less outright grip and dynamism, and the very fact its overtly French strategy to every thing simply received’t enchantment to everybody.
We got down to discover the perfect plug-in hybrid scorching hatch right here, and the Cupra is the clear winner in that regard. That’s to not say the Peugeot is a unhealthy automobile, however between these two area of interest choices, it’s the Spaniard that ought to have broader enchantment.
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