THE ESTATE car is still a popular choice for family and business use and the latest Peugeot 308 SW takes on formidable opposition in a keenly-contested marketplace.
However, the 308 SW (for Station Wagon ) was revamped and upgraded last year and is well-set to take on rivals such as Volkswagen, Ford, Vauxhall and Skoda.
The 308 SW facelift gives it a sharper front-end look and the equipment upgrades highlight its value for money. Prices start at €22,740 (£20,130) for the entry level 308 SW, which has good standard kit including sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Smartphone MirrorLinking, rear parking sensors, dual-zone air-con and cruise control.
There are 5 trim levels and petrol and diesel options. My test model was in Allure trim, one above entry level and adding sports front seats, front parking sensors, roof rails, chrome detailing, fixed glass sunroof with electric screening, and other features. With the 1.5 litre 130 hp diesel engine and 6-speed manual gearbox, this model costs €26,204 (£23,200) including optional metallic paint.
This engine is smooth and responsive, with a 0-100 kph time of 10.2 seconds, top speed of 203 kph (126 mph) and fuel economy impressive at 26.3 kpl (74.4 mpg). Emissions are low at 100 g/km. The steering is accurate and the suspension set-up provides poised cornering and a supple ride, with only larger potholes catching it out.
The 308 SW styling, while not a head-turner, does look elegant and the cabin is nicely designed. A large touch-screen operates most controls. One unusual feature is the main dials set slightly above the smaller-than-usual steering wheel. While giving better vision for taller drivers, others may find they get just a partial view.
The front sports seats give good side support and rear seating is comfortable and roomy. The boot is large at 660 litres and expands to a whopping 1,770 litres by dropping the rear seats which fold flat for better load access.
Summing up, the 308 SW is keenly priced and better equipped than main rivals and with its fresh look and especially with its smooth economical 1.5 litre diesel engine is an appealing prospect.
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Model: Peugeot 308 SW Allure
Engine: 1.5 litre diesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Performance: 0-100 kph 10.2 seconds, top speed 203 kph (126 mph)
Economy: 26.3 kpl (74.3 mpg)
Emissions: 100 g/km