Peugeot 308SW

Peugeot 308SW lr
 
By Tim Saunders
 
After driving a Mistubishi Eclipse Cross stepping into the Peugeot 308 SW comes as a bit of a shock. There was a pretty high driving position in the Mitsubishi. The Peugeot is a complete contrast, surprisingly low to the ground with a really sporty feel. I love it.
Assessing the car on the driveway from my desk its front side profile could easily belong to a sports coupe. A quick glance and you could be forgiven for thinking it was a Mercedes especially with the wing mirrors folded as they do when it is locked shut.
This is a really practical family car. It has a cavernous boot that allows for all the family luggage we need to take on a trek to Devon.
The only way to beat the traffic, especially on a bank holiday, is to leave as early as possible so feeling like a family of moles, we venture out at 6am and arrive at Paignton for 9am. To my surprise we beat the estimated time by 10 minutes. For a change I really enjoy the journey. There are no traffic jams, few red traffic lights and the lack of traffic means that I can put the Peugeot through its paces. This is a diesel and so the engine does rattle a bit but I love its gutsiness. Slam it into second gear, floor it and it delivers a smile for me and a tut from my wife… I like the way the dial on the rev counter shows the engine’s progress from right to left; the opposite way to usual.
It corners and holds the road well and is pretty economical. There’s auto stop start and a six speed gearbox.
My criticisms of the 308 SW are that the gearbox is indecisive and that while I am waiting for the car in front to move on a steep hill on the edge of Brixham, it stalls. I panic and I can’t get it to start again. It’s probably driver error, perhaps my foot slipped off the clutch too quickly, I don’t know but auto start stop usually sees the engine start again once it has stopped but it doesn’t happen on this occasion. I throw my hands up in the air and the van driver behind is thankfully patient. I turn the ignition a couple of times and thankfully the Pug surges back to life. At least the automatic roll prevention that comes with the electric handbrake, works. There is no rolling down the hill here. 
While this model is fitted with front and rear parking sensors there is no reversing camera. It is quite a sizeable vehicle and I was worried that my over reliance on reversing cameras in cars of this size might make manoeuvring the Peugeot all the more difficult. But using the easy to operate electrically operated wing mirrors, as long as the driver keeps their cool, it is pretty easy to reverse and indeed parallel park. I don’t like paying for parking and we visit the fish port of Brixham on a Sunday where there’s free on road parking. There’s a tight parking space. I muster up the courage and do a spot of parallel parking and there’s success on my second attempt.  
The country roads around Paignton and Brixham are especially narrow and there is one particularly hairy moment when we are travelling slowly up a hill when a BMW X3 comes speeding towards us. We both stop. I reverse for a little while and find there is no place to pass, so I stop. The X3, clearly driven by a local, reverses back up the hill. The driver can’t find any passing place either. She then comes to a broken down VW Beetle and skilfully reverses up another hill to the left to allow me to pass. The rest of our time with the Peugeot passes without anymore challenges and we all love the large panoramic glass roof which really does throw light into the cabin. The children enjoy watching the electric fabric cover retracting. 
The Peugeot 308 SW makes for a comfortable and competent family estate and the addition of rear privacy glass makes it feel a bit more extra special.
 
Facts at a glance
Peugeot 308 SW Allure BlueHDi 130
Price: Around £23,000
Engine: 1.5-litre
Power: 129bhp
0 to 60mph: 10.3secs
Top speed: 126mph
Economy: 74mpg
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