- Striking design and packed with tech
- Economical engines and plenty of customer choice
- Agile handling and plenty of zip
- Prices creep up quite quickly
- Engine note gets a little elevated under heavy acceleration
- The touchscreen sat nav system can be a little slow to react (but it is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible)
The new Peugeot 308 is quite a statement that the French carmaker has upped its game. It looks stunning with a more aggressive design along with the all-new company emblem.
There are a number of generously-equipped trim levels and powertrains to choose from, including a plug-in hybrid version and customers can also opt for hatchback styling or estate-like station wagon.
Prices start from £24,400 for the hatchback and £25,600 for the 308 SW and there are all manners of optional and personalisation packs to select from.
On The Road
The Peugeot 308 SW is on sale now in trim levels called Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium and customers can choose between efficient petrol and diesel engines along with a plug-in hybrid version with an EV range in excess of 40 miles.
Peugeot believes the best-seller will be the Allure Premium model powered by a PureTech 130bhp petrol engine, so that’s the car we tested on a lengthy road route covering motorways, winding country lanes and busier city centres. And it certainly lived up to all the hype and big build up.
The three-cylinder 1.2-litre engine can deliver 230Nm of torque to help the 308 SW sprint from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 130mph.
Looking at the car, you would be within your rights to question whether a three-pot is powerful enough and, despite being a little raspy under heavier acceleration, it coped admirably.
The acceleration through the eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive and there are steering wheel-mounted paddles for added driver engagement. In addition, drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport alter the mannerisms of the vehicle with Sport mode sharpening up all the responses with faster gear changes.
While performance is a key factor, Peugeot prides itself on developing vehicles that offer excellent levels of comfort making any long journey a pleasure. And the new 308 SW is another example of that.
As well as cushioned, supportive seats, the car features a very effective suspension set-up that smooths out the roughest road surfaces along the way. Our car was sitting on 17-inch alloys which suited it just fine. There are 18-inch wheels available which certainly look the business but will impact on the ride comfort levels as well as fuel efficiency.
On twisting B roads the 308 SW accelerates in and out of the bends and is perfectly balanced with confident grip and no sign of any body sway. The steering is beautifully weighted too.
It is a cruiser on motorways and despite the 308 SW having estate-car dimensions, it is beautifully agile which is good news if you spend lots of time driving in busy town settings, or indeed on the dreaded school run.
The ride is comfortable over uneven surfaces and noise levels are well contained apart from when the car is pushed on.
There’s no denying the fact, the all-new Peugeot 308 SW is a looker with plenty of road presence and an aerodynamic profile. It’s the first model to feature Peugeot’s new design technology and that means it has the fresh-looking new badge sitting proudly on the radiator grille.
Eye-catching styling cues include a long bonnet design, iconic daytime running lights (full Matrix LED lights on high-end versions). There are Nero black door mirrors, a body coloured rear spoiler, a rear lower bumper with gloss black trim, gloss black B pillars, chrome exhaust surrounds, a black front grille with dazzling horizontal chrome stamping and 17-inch diamond cut alloys.
The three-claw signature rear lights and new logo make it instantly recognisable from the back too. This is a car that looks dynamic from any approach and is guaranteed to turn heads wherever it passes.
Move inside and the interior oozes class. Its modern, clutter-free and spacious with a driver-focused cockpit that is feature-rich. And there are lots of angles on the dash and air vents to help the car stand out from the norm.
The part cloth, part leather-effect seats look really smart and offer excellent levels of support. Neat contrast stitching, sports pedals, tinted windows and a compact steering wheel are a hint to this car’s dynamic appeal.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
With plenty of manual seat and steering wheel adjustment, finding a comfortable position inside the Peugeot 308 SW is a simple enough process. Then it’s just a case of taking stock of all the technology at your disposal.
There is the very latest Peugeot i-Cockpit dashboard layout with its tiny square-like steering wheel and the digital display instrumentation panel viewed above the rim. It’s fully customisable and all the data is easy to see.
The Peugeot i-Connect offers a personal assistant to help with certain functions and is summoned by saying ‘OK Peugeot’. There is three years free subscription to the TomTom live updates and speed cam alerts and this can be extended. The sat nav system was a little sluggish at times, but that was my only real issue in an otherwise premium and efficient cabin.
Creature comforts are plentiful and include full Mirror Screen smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, a wireless charging pad and plenty more besides.
A 10-inch high-definition touchscreen is angled towards the driver and there are piano keys to toggle through to the most important functions such as the safety systems, phone, media, climate control, navigation and home, and this makes adjusting the temperature or the likes easy on the move.
Driver visibility is also good which is another plus point on what will often be used as a family car.
Space & Practicality
The Peugeot 308 SW is all about practicality but without losing any of the fabulous styling in the process. The boot can swallow 608 litres of kit and by dropping the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats that capacity increases to 1,634 litres. The limit is slightly lower on the hybrid models at 548 and 1,574 litres.
There is a double boot floor and a ski hatch for transporting longer items. If you opt from the high-end GT Premium model then you gain a smart electric tailgate as standard which can be opened by waving your foot beneath the rear bumper to make hands-free loading simpler.
There is ample room for a trio of passengers in the back of the car and they benefit from good levels of leg, head and shoulder room.
The spacious cabin also features a number of storage compartments to tuck away bits and pieces, including a glovebox, deep central cubby, seat back pockets, practical door bins with a bottle compartment, front and rear cup holders, a phone charging pad, plus some handy trays.
The 308 SW stretches 4,635mm in length, is 1,850mm wide and 1,475mm high with a wheelbase of 2,735mm, so you will need quite a large parking space, but the car is fitted with all manner of parking aids and cameras to make you look like a complete expert as you reverse into the tiniest of spaces with minute margins.
The Peugeot 308 SW line-up starts from £25,600 for the entry-level Active Premium model and rises to £39,995 for the GT Premium Hybrid version. With hybrid technology available from Allure upwards, these would be worth exploring for any business driver as they will bring good tax savings thanks to Benefit in Kind ratings between seven and 11 per cent.
Out test model in Allure Premium grade was priced at £29,220, although the added options of a heated front windscreen, boot net, Drive Assist Pack Plus and a Visio pack that introduced a 360-degree camera and semi-automatic parking assistance, saw the final cost reach £30,175.
According to official figures, under WLTP testing, it could deliver a combined 43.5-52.1mpg and has carbon emission of 122-147g/km. It has a BIK banding of 31 per cent and owners would pay a first-year road tax charge between £190 and £230 - this would drop to the standard fee of £165 after 12 months.
The Peugeot 308 SW Allure Premium PureTech 130 Auto is in insurance group 19.
Quality & Reliability
Peugeot regularly gains high scores in customer satisfaction surveys and the all-new 308 SW should deliver mile after mile of trouble-free motoring.
It looks premium in its styling with high-end fixtures and fittings throughout. The upholstery features leather-effect and cloth seat trim with smart mint stitching. These seats are not only very comfy and supportive on longer journeys, but they have been developed with longevity in mind.
There are piano keys for short cuts to many on-board functions and although the touchscreen may be prone to mucky fingerprint smudges, it is easily wiped clean.
There is a fair amount of hard plastic, but this is for practical reasons and doesn’t really lower the tone of the cabin at all.
The 308 SW comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. But it’s worth noting the likes of Kia, Toyota and Hyundai offer superior warranty packages.
Peugeot also offers some attractive plans to ensure servicing costs are covered. For example, a 36-month, 30,000-mile plan costs £11.11 per month, a 48-month, 40,000-mile plan costs £18.75 a month and a 60-month, 50,000-mile package is £17.83 per month. These plans are extended to the hybrid models too but cost slightly more to purchase.
It is also possible to extend the Peugeot Assist breakdown cover for an additional fee.
Safety & Security
Although the Peugeot 308 has not been tested for its Euro NCAP rating yet, it is packed with safety kit and driver assistance aids to help protect occupants and other road users alike. Its predecessor secure a maximum five stars and it is expected that the 2022 model will be equally as impressive.
Our Allure Premium spec car featured anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency braking assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop & go, long range blind spot detection, intelligent speed adaption, lane keeping assist, Isofix child seat fixtures, driver attention warning, programmable cruise control with speed limiter, a full suite of airbags and lots more besides.
A Drive Assist Pack Plus costing an extra £200 added lane positioning assist.
All versions of the 5008 get Peugeot Connect & SOS which can be activated manually by pressing the overhead SOS button or automatically if the airbags are deployed. The exact position of the car is detected and the emergency services are alerted immediately for the quickest possible response.
A Thatcham Category 1 approved alarm with immobiliser is fitted as standard to keep any uninvited attention at bay.
The new generation Peugeot 308 is already scooping international awards and it’s easy to see why. It looks amazing, drives beautifully, is packed with high-end technology and the price-tag will still leave you on the bank manager’s Christmas card list.