The bygone era of estate cars in the ’80s and ’90s is a distant memory and has left a default setting in our motoring psyche that isn’t willing to entertain the notion that the elongated family cars are actually worth considering.
The boxy and angular versions from decades gone by have moved on to become sexy and curvaceous. What once was functional-but-boring is now safe-but-exciting and there is a new king in town in the form of this Peugeot 308SW.
The SW stands for Station Wagon, so they rightly reduced it to a more pleasing acronym. And just like the myriad terms used like ‘Shooting Brake’, ‘Combi’, ‘Brake’ or ‘Tourer’, it always the same. It’s an estate.
I’ve driven dozens of them through the years and my SUV bias has slowly diminished with every test week. Imagine a car that has all the comfort, functionality and safety of an SUV but is closer to the tarmac and, arguably, more fun to drive.
Right. That’s my estate-of-the-nation address rant over. Now on to more specific issues like this stunning 308. Stop reading and feast your eyes on it for a moment.
Welcome back. There are few estates that are as eye-catchingly good looking as this. Of course the Avatar blue hue helps grab your attention, but the unique shade is no gimmick masking over mediocrity. It is simply enhancing it.
There are bold lines and sexy curves and the front grille is gorgeous; especially at night when those now-standard cobra fang lights are on. The rear is equally as impressive with clever chrome features at the bottom adding to the overall masculinity of the car.
I adored the regular 308 when I drove it earlier in the year but this 1.5 BlueHDI 130bhp Auto (mid-spec Allure) version may be even better.
Luckily, the front row and second row are pretty much identical which means you get a whole host of lovely things like the ‘Piano’ keys, gloss black plated toggle switches to access main functions of the vehicle, new customisable i-Toggles, connected 3D navigation, i-Connect (activated by using “Okay Peugeot”, wireless connection, full Matrix LED headlights, customisable interior ambient light and the absolutely stunning flat-bottomed and flat-topped steering.
Cabin quality from front to back is immaculate as are the clever and stylish and sparse buttons which are enough for the right functions. It has improved hugely in recent years and is something the French brand should be proud of.
Practicality is not a sexy topic but it’s something that drivers of the 308SW will certainly appreciate. The boot is 608ltr with the seats up but flick them down and there’s an extra 1,026 litres to pack in.
There’s a longer wheelbase (110mm to be precise) which means that the former tight row 2 is now fully spacious. And there is definitely more head room in the SW version compared to the hatchback.
The engine range is pretty attractive too. For starters, there is the 1.2-ltr PureTech petrol engine which comes with an automatic gearbox as standard. The 130hp, three-cylinder unit has more than adequate power as has been used across a whole host of Peugeot, Citroen and Opel models.
Then there is the BlueHDi 130 diesel engine, a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Or you can opt for plug-in hybrid which Peugeot claims can run for 60km on EV mode, which will be more than enough for a large portion of journeys for a large portion of car buyers.
And I haven’t even got the best bit.
The Peugeot 308 SW starts at €32,765 and is only €1,000 more expensive than the equivalent hatch for most of the line-up. And don’t think that the entry-level (Active) is devoid of anything practical and fun.
It’s surprisingly loaded so don’t scoff at the notion.
My test car, as mentioned, was the Allure trim and would cost you €38,330 to have it sitting in your driveway. And it’s €38,330 I would spend in a heartbeat.
I really struggled to find flaws in this.
It is bold in design and in its driving experience, it is solid as a rock on any road I took it on and while cornering it is comfortable no matter which seat you were sitting in. And honestly, I would find it hard to tell you of a better ‘estate’ in the market right now. Especially at that price.