Car reviews are only ever one person’s opinion. What suits one jaded journo may not suit another. By and large though the Peugeot 308 SW with its vast boot has garnered praise across the board without generating a whole lot of excitement. That’s how I think of it too. If it were food the car would be a cheese sandwich or a fruit bun; no real taste sensations yet they deliver a feeling of being satisfied. That’s the thing about the 308 Station Wagon, it delivers on comfort, economy and space and is the ideal vehicle for getting the job done without fuss. Ah, I seem to have reached a conclusion at the beginning; never mind, let’s press on with….
The Comfort Of the Peugeot 308 SW
This is a very comfortable car inside and on the road. I cannot speak too highly of the ride. There’s plenty of leg room for all and the seats are supportive as we have come to expect these days but what really impressed me was the ride at speed. Sure, it’s a bit on the soft side generating a touch of body roll on the corners but once on the go there was a magic carpet feel to it. Smooooth.
Maybe a bit less assured at low speeds on our our rotten roads but overall the Peugeot 308 SW scores very highly in the comfort stakes. For maximum benefit steer clear of bigger wheel options and stick with the standard fit because those fat tyres help too.
If it’s a family motor you’re after then look no further. The boot is big and I mean BIG. The 308’s huge tailgate may be a bit of a challenge for smaller folk, but open it and the 660L space yawns before you. It is the biggest in this sector plus as ever the back seats split and fold. The test car came with a kit but there’s underfloor space for one of those skinny spares. To hide valuable contents away there’s an easy to use cover that is rather disappointingly a tad low rent, but it works.
Once again, the manufacturer has fitted their patented i-cockpit, which now appears across the whole model range. There’s not a lot more to say about it really: It is smart, clean and uncluttered although the small steering wheel continues to divide opinion. It works well on this car because the drive itself is relaxed; no speed thrills here, this is a motor to relax in and eat up the miles.
Viewing the Peugeot 308 SW
As you can see from my images (taken with the latest smartphone camera as time was at a premium) the car is sleek and I guess you could call it elegant but for me at least it isn’t a car I would look back at when walking away.
I’m sorry to say this because I am a usually a big fan of estate cars, often preferring them to their hatchback siblings. Not in this case, although the posh GT versions do look a little more sporty to be fair.
Note: The boot and interior images are courtesy of Peugeot because mine demonstrated the limitations of phone cameras in bright low sun.
Power To The People
There’s a wide variety of engines to suit all purposes, driving through five or six-speed manual gearboxes (our test car came with a six) or the six-speed Peugeot Efficient Automatic Transmission (EAT) which would be my choice for the car as tested.
The best engine depends on need and usage. For those who are forsaking the Devil Diesel because of the all the rather unfair hype then you can have 1.2L 3-cylinder engine with either 110 or 130bhp output. The more powerful version is excellent plus it comes with a six-speed.
Otherwise there’s a couple of diesels on offer for those long range trips. The tested car had a 1.6L BlueHDi 120bhp engine with handy Stop/Start. It was very good. A touch diesel-y on start up and in low gear pulls but it soon quietens down to a remarkably peaceful hush on the go.
The Peugeot 308 SW in this form would make a great car for the business traveller. Eschewing leather and fancy trim options you can get this model for a very reasonable £22k. On a long run we saw 70+ mpg and you can’t say fairer than that especially with CO² at a modest 88g/km. This also reflects well on it’s use as a family car too. BIK rates are 20% right now rising to 22% in 2018/19.
It will still hot-foot it to 62mph in a sprightly ten seconds but it is no racer. It is as I have described; a very good car indeed for people who just want a very good car that will do the job without attracting too much attention or frightening the horses. Geoff Maxted