Gareth Butterfield likes an estate car, but does the Peugeot 308SW push his buttons?
PEUGEOT is a fairly accomplished brand when it comes to turning its hatchbacks into compact estate cars. And this, the 308 SW is its latest offering.
The 308 is a fairly good platform from whence to start this stretching treatment – it’s won plenty of praise for its practicality, fuel economy, generous standard kit and affable road manners. So expectations should be high for the SW which is basically the same car, but on a wheelbase which is 11cm longer.
That extra bodywork actually makes it the roomiest estate in its class, with much of the extra real-estate given over to its boot, which has a low loading sill and a nice, wide opening.
The rear seats offer slightly more legroom than the hatch, but in the front you’ll not notice much of a difference from the smaller car.
It features the usual Peugeot quirks, some of which are good, some of which are bad. Let’s start with the bad: The glovebox is idiotically small, there’s barely room for a pair of gloves, let alone a road atlas and some Werther’s Originals.
Speaking of small things, it’s got that silly small steering wheel fitted to most Peugeots. While it feels chunky and sporty in your hands, it does have a tendency to get in the way of the instruments.
The controls have almost completely migrated into the touch-screen, a trait most manufacturers seem to think is acceptable. Unfortunately, though, the touch-screen is a little slow on the uptake and a trifle clunky to use. It’s a shame so much has been bundled in, but they’re here to stay so we ought to get used to them.
Happily, though, this is where the annoyances end. The cabin is a nice place to sit. There’s a few scratchy surfaces but it all feels very well put together and it’s comfortable, light and airy and there’s plenty of visibility.
The engines are good too. There’s a 1.6-litre diesel that Peugeot says will offer 88mpg and also a down-sized, 1.2 litre, 130bhp petrol engine which marries up very well with the snappy gearbox and offers plenty of punch despite its diminutive size with a claimed MPG of 67.
The range starts at less than £20,000 which will get you a fairly basic Active model, but less than £1,000 later you’ll be in a mid-range Allure, which offers plenty of standard kit including a wonderful panoramic roof, electric folding door mirrors and front parking sensors.
On interior space alone, there’s little to touch it at the price. It’s even bigger than offerings from Audi and BMW and that means it stands out from its immediate competitors with its head held high.
It might have a few little flaws, but they won’t put everyone off. As an all-rounder, pound for pound, it’s well worth a look.