Peugeot 308SW: road test

Posted on May 28th, 2014 by James Luckhurst

Easily one of the best small estates on the market.

Peugeot 308SW: road test

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What is it?
The estate version of Peugeot’s European Car of the Year award winning 308. The 308SW is not only bigger in the boot, but also for rear seat passengers.

How safe is it?
For a car in the C-segment it’s very safe. The 308SW has a five-star Euro NCAP score and is well equipped with safety kit on all but the base trim level.

Who should buy one?
Anyone who needs a big, well-equipped and comfortable estate car; be they dog-owners, parents or those with outdoor pursuits. The Peugeot 308SW has Tardis-like properties.

Tristan Young’s review: Good Motoring, Summer 2014

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Peugeot 308SW: road test
As well as being a new body shape, the 308SW also brings with it several new engines including a 130bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine offered under the BlueTech badge.

The BlueTech engine is a three-cylinder turbocharged unit with some impressive on-paper stats. Designed to be an all-rounder of an engine for everyone except those doing ultra-high miles (who’d then pick the new, and £1,150 more expensive, 1.6 diesel).

The 1.2, however, is hardly inefficient. With an official combined fuel figure of 60.1mpg it’s a real alternative to a diesel. What’s more the 1.2 is also powerful enough to provide a fun drive or enough shove to overtake safely, with 0-60mph coming up in 10.6 seconds.

And because it’s a three-cylinder engine it also has two other advantages. It is light weight which both helps efficiency and also the balance of the car, this also helps the car easily turn into corners. In fact, should you hustle the 308SW along a twisty B-road the experience is rewarding and confidence inspiring, thanks to supple suspension without too much bodyroll.

The steering is light and accurate, although ultimately lacking in feedback.
The second advantage to the three-cylinder petrol is that while refined at most speeds, if you do work it higher in the rev-range the thrummy engine note is appealing without being too intrusive.

At motorway speeds the refinement levels are good with only slight wind noise in the cabin. However on the optional larger 18-inch wheels, road noise increases.

Around town the engine pulls well from low revs making the car easy to drive economically and smoothly. Helping the situation is a light and precise six-speed manual gearbox.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Peugeot 308SW: road test
The boot is massive. Peugeot claims a space of 660 litres with the seats up and beneath the parcel shelf. That’s 50 litres more than a Skoda Octavia estate and 148 litres more than the 308SW’s ‘big’ brother the Peugeot 508SW.
The boot is also a good practical, square shape free from intrusions.

The rear seats can be folded fully flat using a switch accessible from the rear of the car and there’s no lip to the boot edge either. There are also options for boot rails and securing points to help keep smaller items from rolling around the huge boot. The load cover can also be removed and neatly stored beneath the boot floor.

With all the seats folded the maximum space available is 1775 litres.
Plus, the extra space isn’t just limited to the boot. The SW has an 11cm longer wheelbase than the five-door hatch with 3cm of that used for rear passenger leg room. This means the car will comfortably seat four adults.

SAFETY
Peugeot 308SW: road test
When it comes to safety, VW doesn’t mess around. The CC excels in both passive and active safety. The basis for passive safety is the high level of body rigidity and high-tensile bodywork creating a passenger cell aimed at improving survival chances in the event of a collision. Active (or electronic) safety comes from items including the standard dual-stage airbags, automatic pedal retraction system, and driver alert systems, to name a few.

EQUIPMENT
Peugeot 308SW: road test
Beyond the excellent levels of safety kit, the 308SW has a generous level of other equipment. All models have a space saver spare wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB digital radio and trip computer, while the Active adds twin-zone climate control, 12-volt power point in the boot and a large colour screen with satnav.

The only item you’re really missing from the Active trim level is alloy wheels which for the 16-inch items are a £100 option.

COSTS
Peugeot 308SW: road test
The up-front price of the 308SW is competitive and with only a couple of thousand expected to come to the UK each year, resale values should be strong.

While service intervals are only average at 12,500 miles, other running costs of tax and fuel score well. VED band C means no tax in the car’s first year and only £30 a year afterward. An official fuel figure above 60mpg for the 130bhp 1.2 petrol is also impressive.

WE SAY
Easily one of the best small estates on the market.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £20,195
Performance: 0-60mph in 10.6 seconds
Economy: 60.1mpg combined
Insurance: Group 18
Tax: Band C (£0 first year, £30 annual)

Figures for the Peugeot 308SW 1.2 PureTech Active