SPORTY versions of family cars have been on our roads for decades and created a whole new category of vehicle – the hot hatch.

Think Golf GTi, Escort XR3i and Peugeot 205GTi which all became motoring icons and the tradition continues today with Peugeot’s latest 308GT.

I got to try out the hybrid version that has a 1.6 turbo petrol engine and electric motor which, working together, deliver 180bhp giving a sprightly 0 to 62 time of 7.6 seconds and top speed of 139. There is an even more impressive 225bhp model which shaves a little off the 0 to 62 time but delivers less electric only range.

However, unlike its prestigious predecessors this hot hatch can return up to 250mpg and drive on its electric motor alone on a full charge for up to 35 miles.

Both 308 Hybrid models are front-wheel drive combining a 109bhp electric motor with that turbo petrol engine.

The new car is a little bigger than the outgoing model with 55mm more wheelbase and is over 100mm longer as well as wider and slightly taller yet has a more sporting stance.

Peugeot’s i-Cockpit control system has been with us for more than a decade with its raised instrument cluster and low-set small squared off steering wheel which works well with the 308’s smart geometric interior featuring quality metallised trim finishes and appealing materials.

Also there is a long list of standard equipment, much of which was not even thought of when those first four wheel legends hit the streets, including adaptive cruise control, three driving modes (Eco, Sport and individual), parking sensors all round and a rear view camera.

Peugeot’s latest-generation infotainment system i-Connect, is touchscreen but enhanced by a row of ‘i-toggle’ manual switches below.

Safety kit is comprehensive and includes driver attention warning, an SOS and assistance system, blind spot detection and electronic stability programme.

A firm yet comfortable ride, excellent brakes and a slick 8-speed auto box (there is no manual option) all add to the driving experience.

I got to give this GT a true Grand Touring test during a 300 mile round trip to the Cotswolds where it performed impeccably. I even emerged after a few hours at the wheel feeling fresh and comfortable with my experience.

Prices for the 308 range start from a 1.2 petrol model at a shade under £30k but the plug in hybrids in GT spec are around £10k more with our test version in a striking Olivine Green being £42,170 on the road with options including a panoramic opening glass roof with interior blind and special 18” alloy wheels.

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By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth