Peugeot 308 SW long-term test: report 2

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 long termer boot full

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 5404 List price £29,100 Target Price £27,486 Price as tested £29,100 Test economy 43.6mpg Official economy 52.1mpg

11 January 2023 – The Peugeot 308 SW goes on holiday

So far, I've not managed to make full use of all the space on offer in the Peugeot 308 SW, but the New year holiday was the perfect time to pack up and go away with family. If it can whisk all of us and our luggage away in comfort, then it’s job well done.

Peugeot 308 SW long termer boot food shop

The load area in the 308 SW’s boot is well shaped and reasonably voluminous, with a useful amount more room than in the already-generous hatchback. We could stack our luggage all the way up to the roof; something that simply wouldn’t be possible if we were in a saloon.

Disappointingly, rear passenger space is tight, especially when it comes to leg room. Not only is there little space to stretch out, but the small footwell means access is tricky, too, especially when you have to contort your body slightly just to get out.  

I also discovered on a later occasion that this limited space makes certain rear child seats tricky to fit, in particular those types that come with an integrated foot prop. That's because the prop feeds into the footwell to provide extra stability, and because there's not much leg room when my driver's seat is set into a position for anyone over 6ft tall, this prop digs right into the back of the front seat. The 308's thick seat padding may not be helpful in this regard, taking up some room, but this isn't an issue in a much smaller car, such as a Renault Zoe

Peugeot 308 SW rear seat access

When it comes to whisking us away, a family estate fitted with a small engine sounds like it could be a lethargic experience, but the 1.2-litre 128bhp engine has enough shove to get up to motorway speeds with four people on board and a boot full of luggage without feeling flustered. You won't get anywhere in a hurry, but progress is effortless enough to keep up with traffic.

The only minor complaint is how gruff the engine sounds when doing so. Some three-cylinder units have a pleasing thrum – notably the ubiquitous 1.0-litre Ecoboost unit from Ford – but this Puretech engine lacks that characteristic (to my ears anyway) and feels a little rougher.

Peugeot 308 SW long termer Tom's New Year's holiday

The eight-speed automatic gearbox and stop-start system is horrifically jerky at low speeds, but considering our journey mainly consisted of motorways and country roads, this wasn't such a problem. On the move it changes gear smoothly and is usually in the gear I want. As a long distance cruiser, then, the 308 SW is easy to drive, and while it’s not exactly engaging, making simple, straightforward progress is arguably a greater priority in a family car. 

Meanwhile, I came to appreciate my long termer's ride comfort a little bit more. There is a bit of fidget over dubious surfaces (which are of course commonly found) so it’s not quite as polished as its premium rivals, but jumping across from a firmer-riding Ford Puma I was testing beforehand highlighted a relative calmness the 308 SW has.

So the 308 SW handled my New Year's holiday mission well. It’s not the most spacious overall, but with effortless performance and more than 40mpg, this is a respectable effort for a loaded-up petrol-powered family car.

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