Peugeot 308 SW long-term test: report 1

The Peugeot 308 SW is one of the sharpest looking estates around, but does this come at the expense of practicality? We're living with it to find out...

Peugeot 308 SW driving front, report 1

The car Peugeot 308 SW 1.2 Puretech 130 EAT8 Allure Premium | Run by Lawrence Cheung, new cars editor

Why it's here To prove a petrol estate car makes sense in a world heading towards electrified SUVs

Needs to Be practical enough to tackle family and work life, offer a degree of fun and be desirable enough to make you think twice about a trendy SUV

Mileage 3995 List price £29,100 Target Price £27,486 Price as tested £29,100 Test economy 48.7mpg Official economy 52.1mpg Options fitted Avatar Blue metallic paint (no cost) 

15 December 2022 – Chain reaction

When people first see my Peugeot 308 SW, the initial reaction seems to be: "That looks nice!" And while looks are subjective, I've found it quite heartening that an estate car is receiving compliments these days.

You see, the estate has long had a bit of an image problem and, to some, it’s still at the bottom end of the cool scale. The practicality-led design is about as trendy as a Blackberry phone. It’s boxy and easy to use, but hardly sleek. The rise of the SUV hasn’t helped sales of the estate car, either, although regular family hatchbacks and saloons have been hit just as hard.

Peugeot 308 SW long termer driving, side 2022

The thing is, though, I still use a Blackberry phone (and you can’t even buy a new one of those any more), so am I stuck in the past or do I still have a solid case to make? That’s what we’re here to find out. I’d like to think it’s the latter. As someone who can see the appeal of an SUV but would usually recommend an estate for being cheaper to run and better to drive, I’m putting my theory to the test.

I’m glad to say that out of my closest group of friends, almost half of them own an estate (including a BMW 3 Series Touring, Renault Megane Sport Tourer, Seat Leon ST and Skoda Octavia Estate), but I am hoping that we’re not a dying breed. 

Anyway, back to my 308 SW. The biggest talking point I’ve had so far is the colour. Even though most people can’t decide whether this Avatar Blue metallic paint is actually more green, it’s found many fans and critics.

And then there’s the boot. The tailgate has a very different design from that of the 308 hatchback, with a raised number plate and Peugeot badge, plus a different set of taillights. Together with its more angular tailgate, the rear of the SW has a slight hint of the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake – one of the most handsome estate cars currently on sale, in my opinion.

Peugeot 308 SW long termer touchscreen infotainment 2022

Under the bonnet is a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine that’s good for 128bhp and 0-62mph in 9.7sec. Diesel and plug-in hybrid options are available, too, but because these are more expensive, I’ve kept it simple to see whether you can still keep costs down with a relatively small motor.

My car is in mid-range Allure Premium spec, which is expected to be the best-selling trim. This adds a few more gadgets over the slightly cheaper Allure, including wireless phone charging, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone integration, keyless entry and the Drive Assist Pack (this consists of blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control, which automatically maintains a set distance between you and the vehicle in front).

And because this is an estate, you get a fold-down rear centre armrest and the more versatile 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats as standard. The hatchback misses out on the former altogether, while the latter is a simpler 60/40 split instead.

So, will the 308 SW get me through the winter months with ease? Well, from a keeping-warm point of view, a heated steering wheel is a £150 option, which I might regret not selecting, while heated seats aren’t available at all (they’re limited to top-spec GT Premium trim). At least the part-leather and fabric seats that come as standard won’t give me that initial cold shock of full leather items when I first settle into them. 

Peugeot 308 SW long termer driving position 2022

First impressions are strong. The thrummy three-cylinder engine is eager around town and the divisive i-Cockpit seating position (with the instrument panel mounted above the low-set steering wheel) is easier for me to get along with in this generation of 308. All engines come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and while I find manual ’boxes make for a more engaging drive, I do appreciate the reduced effort that an auto brings in stop-start traffic. 

I also relish the fact that the 308 SW has more agile handling than its 3008 SUV stablemate, with a lot less pitch from the nose under braking. But will time with it leave me craving for the raised seating position and ease of access? I'll keep you posted.

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