First DriveIf you’ve got a penchant for French metal and you’re after a spacious, frugal and generally inoffensive family hatchback, then the 308 makes a good case for it
First DriveRefined, economical and pleasant enough small estate that’s also practical
What is it?
Peugeot does not make a compact MPV. What it offers instead is an estate version of the Focus-rivalling 308 - the SW.
As long as you’re prepared, on the top-selling 1.6 HDi model we tested, to shell out the £18k required for a Sport model (a top-spec SE will cost an eye-watering £19,195), that’s fine.
Do this, and you’ll get all the clever storage and flexible seating you’d expect of a conventional small MPV, but with the looks of a traditional estate. There are as many cubbies, luggage nets and seat-back picnic tables as you could want. There’s also the seat flexibility you’d expect of an MPV. If you opt for SE trim, you get seven seats (a £395 option on Sport models), and on both Sport and SE cars, the second-row seats can slide back and forth or even be removed.
What’s it like?
On the road, the benefit of the conventional estate body is evident. Peugeot estates tend to ride better than their hatchback counterparts, and the 308 SW doesn’t buck the trend. Where the hatch feels controlled but crashy over broken surfaces, the extra length and weight of the SW makes it feel both more composed and fluid.
The 308 SW is no heavyweight, however. The 1.6 HDi comes in at just 95kg more than its hatchback counterpart - a feat achieved by tricks like making the panoramic glass roof from 5mm glass instead of 9mm (though it’s still more rigid than a steel roof).
The 1560cc turbodiesel is also smooth and efficient, especially allied to the all-new six-speed gearbox.
Should I buy one?
Our only real beef is the price. For a few hundred pounds more you can get a 1.8 TDCi Ford S-Max, which drives better and is far more practical for a large family.