Created by the same team which created the Car of the Year 2014, the 308 SW is nevertheless a different car with a longer floor-pan and more practical loadbed than the best selling hatchback stablemate.
The sleek shape of the 308 SW is more than a smoothed out extension of the hatchback and it features a completely different profile from the windscreen A-pillar back to the wrap around fifth door.
The rear loadbed area has one-touch drop down rear seats with an offset split, a smooth lining with most getting in-floor adjustable locking points and a further underfloor compartment as well as an optional full-sized spare wheel.
There is 70-litres of space beneath the rear load-deck, a nominal 590-litres under the parcel shelf and with the seat folded the maximum volume is 1,660-litres. What’s more the fifth door has an opening aperture of over 106cm and even with the rear seats erect there is 107cm from sill to seat back, there is a security strap and luggage cover, which all stow under the floor when not required.
Built on the PSA Group’s light-weight Efficient Modular Platform 2, the additional wheelbase room has gone into increased rear legroom for 308 SW customers who traditionally need and use the room of an estate for their lifestyle requirements.
Inside there is a familiar 308 look to the fascia and controls with small steering wheel, raised instrument binnacle, a tall centre console and generous 9.7-inch touch-screen for infotainment functions.
Owners can specify a massive 1.6 cuM glass roof from A-C pillars and it comes with an electric blind.
Up front, the powertrains available are the latest Euro 6 compliant petrol and diesel engines mated to five or six speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
The petrol engines include the new Pure Tech three-cylinder turbo-charged 1.2 litre units developing 110 or 130bhp. Diesels develop 92 to 150bhp and include the new BlueHDI 120bhp 1.6 diesel with six-speed manual which sees just 85gkm and delivers a combined 88.3mpg but there are also 100bhp 1.6 and 150bhp 2.0 versions in the series, the latter with a six-speed auto option.
The 22-model 308 SW range follows the Access, Active, Allure and Feline trim levels found in the 308 Hatchback and prices are from £16,845 to £25,145.
Peugeot anticipate selling up to 4,500 308 SW models in a full year and 15,000 308 Hatchbacks.
One of the expected best sellers in the new estate series is likely to be the 308 SW with 130bhp 1.2 three-cylinder petrol engine, and we tested the top specification Feline version.
This comes with the huge Panoramic sunroof, tinted side windows, sports seats, keyless entry and ignition and the driver assistance pack including cruise control, collision alert and emergency collision braking systems. Our test car was also fitted with city park, blind spot monitors and massaging leather covered heated seats.
The peppy 1.2 litre engine developed reasonable pulling power from moderate revs but it felt “throbby” when not cruising on main roads and working through the intermediate gears.
It did return an indicated 36.6mpg, a good way off the EU test programme’s 56.5mpg combined figure, but we did cover a lot of ground through the West Midlands countryside.
The light clutch and direct gearchange were welcome, the steering had a tight turning circle and the brakes worked well, including the electric parking brake.
For an estate the additional centremetres in the wheelbase have produced a very good ride over bad roads even if you can hear the coil and beam suspension working away underneath. Sports seats with lumbar support were very comfortable as well. Visibility was good all round and general noise levels were low.
At £22,095 it felt like it was a much more expensive car from a sector above the C-segment in which it is competing. The Peugeot 308 SW should build on its stablemate’s success and offer a different choice in a competitive market.