Peugeot 308 SW

Allure 1.5 BlueHDi

130

Peugeot 308 SW, front quarter 2
Peugeot 308 SW, front
Peugeot 308 SW, front quarter
Peugeot 308 SW, rear quarter
Peugeot 308 SW, interior
Peugeot 308 SW, dashboard

GIVEN the sheer numbers of them on our roads these days, at times it can seem as if the current craze for SUVs has totally consumed the family car market.

Believe it or not, though, there are still car buyers out there who do not want to drive around in these faux 4x4s - and for those folk an old school estate still offers space and practicality aplenty.

Not that there's anything particularly old school about the Peugeot 308 SW, other than its big boot. With sleek good looks and a stylish, minimalist interior the French car maker's compact family wagon feels very modern indeed.

A steeply raked windscreen, sculpted character lines along the flanks and low-slung stance create an athletic profile which is complemented in Allure grade models by aluminium roof rails, chrome trim on the grille and side windows, front fog lights and 17-inch alloy wheels.

All cars except entry-level Active versions also get a fixed panoramic glass roof, with an electric blind, which floods the roomy cabin with light, emphasising the feeling of space.

Power comes from a range of efficient and economical petrol and diesel engines ranging from three-cylinder 1.2-litre units up to a 2.0-litre diesel - although the availability of some depends on the variant chosen.

The 1.5-litre BlueHDi is the latest version of Peugeot's current diesel drivetrain and was debuted in the 308 range when it was updated last September.

Paired with a snappy six-speed manual gearbox, it'll shift the estate version from 0-62mph in just over 10 seconds and on to a respectable 126mph while still offering a claimed 74.3 miles per gallon on average and pegging back carbon emissions to 100g/km.

An eight-speed automatic transmission can be specified for an extra £1,400 which improves acceleration slightly without compromising the fuel consumption and emissions figures too much.

Handling is sharp and nimble while the body is well controlled and corners are negotiated with a minimum of body roll.

The steering is accurate and well-weighted and offers good feedback through the trademark smaller, racing-style steering wheel that features in Peugeot's i-Cockpit, making the 308 SW a responsive and enjoyable estate to drive for the most part.

Another feature of the i-Cockpit, and standard across the range, is a 9.7-inch touchscreen via which most of the car's functions are accessed, including climate control, digital radio and TomTom satellite navigation, which is also comes with all versions.

Screen mirroring and Apple and Android smartphone compatibility are included and the screen is angled slightly toward the driver for ease of access and, although there's still some work to do, Peugeot has improved the ease with which the many menus can be navigated.

Incorporating all major controls into the touchscreen, with many also available via the multi-function steering wheel, does mean that there is virtually no other switchgear on the centre-console and dashboard, creating a very clean and uncluttered cabin which, although not quite of the same high quality, is reminiscent of Audi interiors.

Space up front is good and most adults should be comfortable in the back too, with good head room and adequate leg room, while there are plenty of suitably sized cubbies for personal possessions.

It is in the boot, though, where the 308 SW really shines in the practicality stakes. A luggage capacity of 660 litres up to the tonneau cover is among the best in class and this rises to a maximum 1,775 litres with the 60/40 rear seats folded down.

Those seats can be quickly and easily dispatched via levers in the boot and there are also a variety of fastening points to tether items down as well as handy compartments behind each wheel arch and beneath the floor.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot 308 SW Allure 1.5 BlueHDi 130

Price: £22,975

Mechanical: 130ps, 1,499cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 126mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG:74.3

Insurance Group: 22

C02 emissions: 100g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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