Motoring journalist Simon McBride takes the PEUGEOT 308 SW to North Wales to explore what it’s capable of.
Early morning fog hangs over the mountains of Snowdonia’s National Park, the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds and the temperature starts to rise. Our pulses are rising too, as we’re going on an adventure to not only put the PEUGEOT 308 SW through its paces, but also show that it’s perfect for families and active lifestyles. Oh, and we’ve thrown in a little mountain biking for good measure – well it would be rude not to, right?
Originally published on 10/07/2014, all information correct as of that date. Some features may be optional and only available on certain models.
Style in abundance
The 308 has been the talk of the motoring industry after being awarded the coveted 2014 European Car of the Year title. Its sibling, the PEUGEOT 308 SW is based on the same winning design – refined, sophisticated and efficient.
PEUGEOT’s heritage in family estate cars is long and proud. The models have always had a chic look to them, but this is taken to the next level with the PEUGEOT 308 SW, with stylised lines running to the rear of the car, giving it coupé-esque cues.
Standing at the top of the Antur Stiniog mountain bike centre, in Snowdonia National Park, the 308 SW shimmers in the sunshine, like a lion ready to pounce.
The front end features the distinctive PEUGEOT ‘floating’ grille, framed in chrome and flanked by full LED technology on the GT Line (50% more efficient than standard halogen lights). While the rear features PEUGEOT’s distinctive new lighting signature, using up to 48 LEDs to enhance its sporty and streamlined look.
Practicality for all
The 308 SW’s generous dimensions and ample boot space mean it’s perfect for families and groups who need space for extra luggage or sporting equipment, like us today with a mountain bike and protective gear.
The boot? Well, it’s cavernous. With the back seats in place, the 308 SW has a class leading load space of 660 litres. But if you need more, it’s fitted with easy folding rear seats, expanding the luggage space to an impressive 1,775 litres. The best bit is that the seats fold down to create a completely flat load floor, making awkward items like mountain bikes a cinch to load.
Improved driving dynamics
Based on Peugeot’s new state-of-the-art modular platform, the car benefits from significant weight savings and greatly improved aerodynamics, which combine to improve fuel economy.
It’s so much fun to drive on these epic Welsh lanes – the weighting on the steering is great and the driving dynamics are first class. Through the twisty mountain passes the 308 SW performs majestically.
Switching from country lanes to motorways and dual carriageways makes the 308 SW no less fun. In fact, these roads add to the car’s credentials as they prove how supple the ride is and how easy long journeys can be.
From Dynamic Cruise Control to Blind Spot Monitoring available on the Allure level and above, the 308 SW’s levels of technology greatly enhance the driving experience. As does the innovative PEUGEOT i-Cockpit, which features a compact steering wheel for a more dynamic driving experience, a raised instrument panel so the driver’s view of the road is uninterrupted, a tall centre console, and a 9.7” touchscreen housing key functions including Satellite Navigation and dual zone climate control.
Improved engine technology
From launch, the 308 SW benefits from a range of ultra-efficient Euro 6 petrol and diesel engines. For petrol, power outputs range from 110bhp to 130bhp, with CO2 emissions from 109g/km. I drove the 308 SW Feline 1.2 litre PureTech turbo manual engine, producing 130bhp, and tested it to the max across Snowdonia National Park.
On average, this engine will return 60.1mpg and emits 114g/km of CO2. Diesel engines range from 92bhp to 150bhp, however, the headline diesel unit is the BlueHDi 1.6 litre 120bhp engine. It’s mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and averages a heady 88.3mpg. With CO2 emissions of just 85gkm, it’s not only attractive to families because of the interior space and attractive fuel economy, but also for the pleasure of driving such an efficient yet sporty vehicle.
The morning fog has long since gone, the summer sun burned through it hours ago, and now on the horizon the sun is beginning to set. The 308 SW has certainly lived up to its billing – it’s not just practical; this car is a driving sensation.