Last week, as I was driving the Peugeot 308 SW, I was pondering about the important things in life. For instance, why isn't Ireland more into estate cars? Personally, I'm mad about them. I love their practicality. I think their boots are brilliant – it’s the extra height that I like. If I'm being completely honest, I wasn't a fan of tourers, that is until my first kid came along. At the time I was driving a 1999 BMW 520i saloon - which has buckets of space, and a big boot too. However, the boot was lacking in the height department. We had a Moses basket and a Quinny - and that requires height and a bulky area. When my daughter was about two months old I got rid of my 520i... my heart broke a little.
Since then, I've been all about station wagons. The 308 SW isn't as long as say a Skoda Superb Combi or even the forthcoming Volvo V90, but like the Volkswagen Golf Estate, or the Ford Focus equivalent, the 308 SW would make sense for plenty of people. In fact, if my figures are correct, the 308 SW offers a cracking 660 litres of boot space – which is what you’d get from a Skoda Superb Combi. Yep, it's great for carting the family around, but it's also a good workhorse and if you have to carry boxes from sales encounter to sales encounter, then these machines can be useful.
Inside the Peugeot 308 SW is pretty much the same as the standard new 308. It features the very clean iCockpit, which means that there are just six buttons to play around with on the dash – which means navigation of the infotainment system is all done via the touch screen. It’s all pretty simple. The front area is spacious, clean and comfortable, and it feels like a business-like area to be in.
The rear offers good head height, but sitting in my normal driving position, I found it to be slightly lacking in terms of leg room. Five adults could fit inside this car – but we’d feel for the guy in the middle!
The 308 is an under-rated car. When people talk about hatches they have a tendency to look towards the Golf or the Focus, and the same applies in the estate version. Due to personal taste, I’d probably go down the route of a Golf, however, the 308 should not be overlooked (although I think I’d take the Peugeot 308 GTi over a Golf GTi).
Our test model came with a 1.6 litre BlueHDi engine, which on-paper gives a fuel economy of 3.2 l/100km (which is a whopping 88mpg in old money). Of course, we didn’t achieve that figure, but we weren’t trying to drive economically and we achieved in and around 5.8l/100km by the time we gave it back – which isn’t bad considering we weren’t concentrating on fuel economy.
This car features Peugeot’s tiny steering wheel, and as we pointed out in our Peugeot 2008 review, this itty bitty wheel really makes you feel closer to the road and it adds to the driving experience. However, this same steering wheel could do with being a little better weighted. There is also a small amount of body roll into corners.
Apart from the 1.6 BlueHDi engine being very efficient, it is also hushed and on account of this there is not much noise intrusion into the cabin.
Overall, the 308 SW is a good estate choice. It’s unrivalled in terms of what the boot offers, which makes it a very practical machine. Our test model, which was Allure trim came in at €27,775. Entry level models start from €22,140.