Peugeot 308 SW (2014) Review

Peugeot 308 SW (2014) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The 308 SW offers a great blend of comfort, style and practicality. Add in low running costs, easy driving dynamics and impressive refinement and there’s a lot to like.

+Sharp looks, efficient and flexible engine range, good standard specification, European Car of the Year 2014, big and practical boot.

-Not as good to drive as a Leon ST, touchscreen system takes some getting used to, driving position won’t suit everyone.

New prices start from £23,964
Insurance Groups are between 10–29
On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure

The Peugeot 308 SW is the latest in a long line of practical and appealing estate cars from the French manufacturer, designed to take on key rivals such as the Ford Focus, Renault Megane Sport Tourer and Volkswagen Golf Estate. It’s helped by the fact that the hatchback it is based on is a pretty car, and there’s an element of the ‘lifestyle ‘ estate about its design. It offers the same unusual i-Cockpit arrangement in the cabin alongside a range of modern, efficient engines. It may not be the best in class in every department, but the 308 SW holds a great deal of appeal.

With such a good base to work from, the Peugeot 308 SW had every chance of being an excellent estate car from the outset - and it doesn’t disappoint. The well-made cabin and impressive refinement of the hatchback remain, but with one of the more spacious and practical rear load areas offered on a family-sized estate car.

The load area itself is easy to access, with a wide opening and a low load lip. There’s a retractable, removable load area cover to keep 660 litres of load volume covered up – and if you have big items to carry there’s a simple one touch mechanism to fold the rear seats completely flat.

With the seats down maximum load space is an impressive 1,775 litres, considerably more than many key rivals and only beaten by the Skoda Octavia Estate.

In the back row there’s enough room to seat a pair of adults in comfort, with plenty of knee and headroom. Access is good, which is handy for loading and unloading child seats, although there are now only two Isofix mounting points for child seats – the previous generation model had three, which is a disappointing loss of a practical feature.

Not only is the 308 SW one of the most spacious cars in its class, it also has some of the most modern and efficient engines.

The entry-level petrol model is a 110PS 1.2-litre turbo which, despite its size, is perfectly capable and offers low emissions of 109g/km. This engine is also offered with 130PS, plus you can get a range of diesels. The range-topper is a 180PS BlueHDi, with strong performance alongside impressive economy.

Despite being bigger than the hatchback the 308 SW is no more difficult to drive. The cabin is quiet and the controls well-weighted, so in or out of town the car is easy to get along with. It’s an impressive motorway cruiser too, even with the smaller 1.2-litre petrol engine under the bonnet.

Just like the hatchback, the cabin benefits from a clear attempt to move upmarket. It might not qualify as a premium cabin, but it is distinctively designed and works well for the most part, and adds a sense of well-being that is welcome on longer journeys.

For those seeking a usable everyday estate car it’s certainly worth adding to the shortlist – but its competition from SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen is very strong, while the Honda Civic Tourer offers a more flexible load area and cabin.

Ask Honest John

What's a good family car on a £10,000 budget?
"We need to buy our first family car. We have two small children, so need room for a buggy. It will be mostly used for short journeys, but with some longer trips. Our budget is up to £10,000. We’d prefer automatic and aren’t keen on SUVs. And I am very short, so want something where I can easily have good visibility. "
We'd recommend a Honda Civic Estate. It's very practical and your budget will get a 2016 model with a reliable 1.8-litre petrol engine and automatic gearbox. Also consider a Peugeot 308 SW (estate) with the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine or Vauxhall Astra Estate with the 1.4-litre turbo.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Which petrol estate cars would you recommend for reliability, fuel economy and performance on a £12,000 budget?
"I want to buy a petrol estate car, manual, up to 5 years old on a budget of £12,000. I'm looking for something reliable and economic, but also fun to drive. The current short list is a 2012 - 2013 Ford Focus ST Estate 2.0 petrol, a 2014 SEAT Leon ST Estate 1.4 TSI 138, a 2015 Peugeot 308 SW estate 1.2 130 and a 2014 Honda Civic Tourer 1.8. Which cars would you recommend?"
Nothing wrong with the Honda Civic 1.8 i-VTEC Tourer apart from looks, and the strongest engine here. Should do more than 40mpg as well (I got 48). The 1.2 Puretech 130 in the Peugeot 308 is excellent. 230Nm makes is punchy up hills and I averaged 49mpg over 12,000 miles in one. No reports of any problems with this engine as yet. The 1.4 TSI in the SEAT Leon depends on whether it is chain or belt cam because the quality of the chains turned out to be variable and unpredictable. The Ford Focus ST has Ford's tough old chain cam 2.0 litre engine with a turbo good for 250PS (and good enough fore the Jaguar XE) but on the early ST models the behaviour of the electronic diff was so inconsistent we switched it off.
Answered by Honest John
Buying a used Peugeot 308 SW - petrol or diesel?
"I'm considering buying a second hand Peugeot 308 SW (2014/2015 model). I drive 500 miles a week to work and back on A roads. Whilst diesels do better mpg, it costs more to fill up and the prices to buy are more. I am also worried about the DPF and associated additives will cause expensive problems in the future. However, the diesel has a bigger engine for the family camping trip (two adults/2 children plus kit) so will be better for carrying loads? Any advice or pros and cons to split the choice between petrol and diesel would be much appreciated. I assume it's a myth that diesels last longer than petrols as long as both are regularly serviced?"
No chance of a spare wheel with the 1.6HDI either because the AdBlue tank fills the spare wheel well. But they are very economical. Probably 60mpg plus. In contrast I got 48mpg over 12,000 miles in a 308 1.2 PureTech 130 hatchback over a year and it was a brilliant drive. The gear ratios are exactly right for the significant 230Nm torque and it romps up hills. No problems yet reported with the 1.2 PureTech either. So that's what I'd go for. My year with mine is covered here: http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/our-cars/peugeot-308/
Answered by Honest John
Replacing Volvo V70 with something similar or slightly smaller
"My late husband's 16 year old Volvo V70 finally needs replacing. I would like something similar, or slightly smaller in size with a petrol engine as I do a lot of short journeys and an automatic as I am prone to a painful left shoulder. A level boot is a necessity. I have looked at Skoda Octavia but have no idea what else is out there. I can afford up to £25,000. "
Octavias are solid cars and the 1.4 TSI 125 and 1.4TSI 150 ACT are excellent engines, but an automatic means a seven-speed dry clutch DSG and these have some fundamental problems. Same goes for Audis, SEATs and VWs and Ford Powershifts have also had problems. A Peugeot 308 1.2 Puretech 130 EAT6 SW might do the job because that is a torque converter auto.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Peugeot 308 SW (2014) cost?