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?
This is the Peugeot 308 SW THP 175 SE, the range-topping petrol version of Peugeot’s family estate, and available in either five-seat or seven-seat forms.
The 175bhp motor is the same one that’s found in the 207 GTi and 308 GT, and is the most powerful Peugeot-badged fruit of the joint venture between BMW and Peugeot that also powers petrol Minis.
What’s it like?
On the road, there’s very little practical difference between the THP 175 and the THP 150, the next most powerful engine in the 308 SW line-up.
The full-spec motor is smooth spinning and refined, but it feels barely quicker than its cheaper sister.
A glance at the spec-sheet confirms this. The extra 25bhp provides some extra top-end zing, but the lower-powered THP 150 has exactly the same amount of torque.
And crucially, the THP 150 gives its 180lb ft from 1400rpm rather than the 1750rpm where the THP 175 reaches its peak.
Even so, it’s still enough to propel the THP 175 308 SW to 62mph in a claimed 9.0sec.
Dynamically, the 308 SW remains pretty average. Compared to the seven-seat MPVs that Peugeot cites as rivals, the 308’s lower centre of gravity and more conventional driving position makes it competent, even entertaining.
But compared to the best estates the segment can offer, the 308 feels like a slightly dull tool, it’s gearchange lacking precision and its chassis lacking adjustability.
Should I buy one?
Herein lies the 308 SW’s THP 175’s problem. However you look at it there’s always something else better.
If you need seven-seat family transport then a proper MPV will do the job better, and if you need a conventional estate then it’s far from the pick of the segment.
And even if you do want a 308 SW then the 1.6-litre HDi 110 or 2.0-litre HDi 136 turbodiesels make much more financial sense.