Warm estate combines practicality and a well-equipped cabin with a characterful drive, although storage space trails that of less engaging rivals

What is it?

Peugeot has a long history in producing estate versions of its small and family cars. Peugeot also has a Peugeot long history in producing hot hatches.

The Peugeot 308 SW GT is the result of mashing those two concepts into one car: a hot estate.

Well, relatively hot, at least. The badge on the 308 SW’s extended boot is GT, not GTi.

Still, we already rated the machine as an attractive estate with reasonable dynamic appeal – and that was before we had the chance to sample it with Peugeot’s 1.6-litre 224bhp Puretech engine.

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What's it like?

Beyond the GT badge, there are a few visual clues that this is a more performance-focused machine. The car sits slightly lower than other trim levels, has a revamped bumper design with air intakes where the foglights normally are and, in common with GT-Line models, gains LED lights and a twin-exhaust effect.

Inside, GT cars have a leather steering wheel with red stitching and a GT badge along with a few other detail changes. There’s also keyless entry and a host of driver assistance systems, including a reversing camera and dynamic cruise control.

In standard drive mode, the 308 SW GT’s engine is smooth and efficient, its responses ably delivered through the eight-speed automatic gearbox. Even with the extra heft of the estate, it handles positively and directly, and the engine’s 210lb ft of torque allows you to make brisk progress, with a claimed 0-62mph time of 7.6sec. Top speed is a claimed 146mph, with an official fuel economy average of 47.9mpg.

The car does feature a Sport mode, which stiffens the steering and suspension a touch, although not enough to make for a dramatically different experience. It also turns the instruments red and adds layers of noise to the engine note – although without any real extra performance to match. It might appeal to some, but it seemed slightly hammy and overly theatrical to us.

Most estate buyers will likely be led by more practical considerations – such as the space behind the rear seats. The 308 SW is 4585mm long, which allows for 660 litres of luggage capacity, with 1660 litres if you fold those rear seats down. It’s not class leading, but likely ample for those considering an estate car of this size.

As well as luggage, there’s plenty of space for people both in the front and rear, and the GT trim makes for a pleasant environment that would stand up to long family journeys. That said, the Peugeot 308’s interior does show the car’s age a bit: it’s somewhat plain in its design compared with newer Peugeot models such as the Peugeot 3008 and Peugeot 5008 SUVs.

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Being a Peugeot, of course, the 308 SW features the firm’s iCockpit system. The concept remains somewhat divisive, although it seems more natural the more you use it – and it seems to do a particularly good job of highlighting the 308 SW GT’s more sporting characteristics. The small steering wheel adds a level of direct response that helps make the 308 SW feel more nimble than its extended boot would suggest.

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Should I buy one?

The 308 SW doesn’t offer the most space in its class, and if pure capacity is your primary reason for buying a family-car-sized estate, your list should start with the Skoda Octavia.

But, as an all-round package, there is much to like about the 308 SW GT. It has decent space, offers a good drive, has plentiful character (even without the bizarrely overwrought Sport mode) and, in this GT form, plentiful power on tap.

Peugeot 308 SW 1.6 GT specification

Where Surrey, UK Price £28,470 On sale Now Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbo, petrol Power 224bhp at 5550rpm Torque 210lb ft at 1750rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 1319kg Top speed 145mph 0-62mph 7.6sec Fuel economy 47.9mpg CO2 136g/km Rivals Ford Focus, Skoda Octavia

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport, autosport.com, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Will86 13 September 2018

Would be nice to have a manual choice

I hear a lot of people say they wouldn't have an auto and not just enthusiasts. It's surprising how many people hold suspicions over autos. I for one though would prefer an auto over Peugeot's typical loose and baggy manual gearboxes and it's nice that this is a proper torque converter. Plus whilst changing gear can be satisfying when you're on the right road and in the right mindset, the overwhelming majority of time I just need to get somewhere and an auto is preferable. Providing the padle shifters work well, an auto is often the better compromise, for me at least, other may prefer the choice.

michael knight 13 September 2018

manuals are over-rated

I'd want a manual on a sports/supercar but perversely they're all DSG/paddle now anyway. I can't be arsed to drive a manual with the roads as they are. So this looks quite cool, but like Gazzer says the 508 wagon is tempting. will be another 5-10K tho..

Will86 13 September 2018


michael knight wrote:

I'd want a manual on a sports/supercar but perversely they're all DSG/paddle now anyway. I can't be arsed to drive a manual with the roads as they are. So this looks quite cool, but like Gazzer says the 508 wagon is tempting. will be another 5-10K tho..

Give it a year or two and let depreciation work its magic. Though that would perhaps apply more to the 308 rather than a new model like the 508.

gazza5 13 September 2018

r estate

i have a r estate - so dsg only - tbh I wouldn't go back to manual - more and more roads getting congested and since I live in the south east honestly a car with the performance of the R estate is wasted - very rarely get to use it - so this car could well be a replacement - quick enough - and offers similar space to the golf r estate.

Well done peugeot - although I have to say the 508 looks very appealing for not much more and will have the posher dash of the 3008 / 5008.