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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Peugeot 308 SW Allure 1.6 BlueHDi 120

Click to view picture gallery“Although it sometimes seems that
  way, the whole world hasn’t gone
  completely crossover-crazy.
  Many motorists still favour, and
  want  to buy, estate cars — and the
  308 SW, which can be petrol or diesel
  powered, is a strong contender...”


BENEFITING FROM A RECENT MAKEOVER, the refreshed 308 is a well-fettled design that's handsome enough to stay fresh-looking for some time. The most obvious change for 2018-year models is their wider, new-look chequered-effect grille flanked by cut-in projector headlight units with attractively sinuous daytime running lights along their top edges where they're capped by the clamshell-style bonnet.

A chrome-framed glasshouse sits above clean flanks interrupted only by multi-spoke alloys, while the tail is defined by large attractive wraparound light units that sit perfectly flush with the bodywork (tricky to engineer but well worth the effort!)

Swing open the driver's door and you'll find that there's nothing understated about the cabin either: it's smart, well laid out and well put together with a welcoming quality ambiance and is totally up to date with Peugeot's i-Cockpit — the same head-up digital instrument panel trail-blazed by the award-winning 3008 SUV.

“There’s nothing
understated about the
cabin: it’s smart, well
laid out and well put
together with a
welcoming quality ambiance and is totally
up to date with Peugeot’s
i-Cockpit — the same
head-up digital
instrument panel trail-
blazed by the award-
winning 3008 SUV...”
Adding to the hi-tech theme is a 9.7-inch touchscreen and infotainment system that includes Connected 3D navigation with TomTom live updates and voice recognition for radio, navigation and telephony functions.

Connected also provides really useful stuff like forecast weather information along your route, nearby fuel stations and pricing, and local searches. Crucial smartphone interfaces such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink are all installed and waiting to serve you and your mobile.

Sports style front seats with elongated base cushions (for improved thigh and knee comfort) and pronounced bolstering, particularly on the backrests, do exactly what they look like they'll do — offer good support while keeping you comfortably in place.

Upholstered in leather-effect and cloth fabric with patterned 3D-feel textured centre strips, they also provide good shoulder support; and the seatback angles can be fine-tune easily courtesy of large knurled adjuster wheel knobs. The driver and front passenger both benefit from adjustable seat height and lumbar support, and wide, fabric-covered outer armrests.

Adding considerably to the cabin's already pleasant appeal is a full-length panoramic fixed glass roof that floods the interior with natural light and makes even gloomy winter days feel cheerful. A one-shot powered opaque sunblind filters out 95% of natural light if the rays get too bright.

The large side windows add more light but, more importantly, provide fine visibility in all directions; along with clear views down the bonnet, it makes the 308 an easy car to place on the road. And also to manoeuvre: part and parcel of the heads-up instrument display is the smaller diameter steering wheel (it measures a compact 351 x 329mm) that enables the i-Cockpit instrument panel to be seen clearly over its upper rim. The satin black leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed, multifunction wheel also makes for heightened steering responses — plus it feels good in your fists.

There are four easily seen dials: fuel and speed to the left; revs and temperature to the right. Sitting between the larger inner ones is a multifunction diver's information display showing key information such as digital speed readout, visual navigational prompts, and core driving info.

Switchgear is sparse
because most everything
is fingertip controlled
via the infotainment touchscreen, with
shortcut keys either side
for direct jumps into
important function
menus such as the
automatic 2-zone climate
control which,
incidentally, is easy to
adjust even on the
move...”
Switchgear is sparse because most everything is fingertip controlled via the infotainment touchscreen, with shortcut keys either side for direct jumps into important function menus such as the automatic 2-zone climate control which, incidentally, is easy to adjust even on the move. The central touchscreen serves up crisp graphics with 3D mapping and clear street names; the posted speed limit is shown in the top left-hand corner where it's very easy for the driver to see.

The Allure spec may only represent the second rung (of four) on the 308 trim ladder but that doesn't stop it coming well equipped with what are now considered the 'essentials'.

In addition to classy touches like the i-Cockpit and panoramic glass roof you get an easy drive-through electric parking brake with hill-hold, front and rear parking sensors (plus a schematic overhead view on the screen), powerfolding heated door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking and leaving), auto lights and wipes, cruise and speed limiter, tinted glass, four one-shot up/down windows, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic drive-off door locking, a gear shift indicator, and alloy wheels.

For a family-oriented car there's also a good tally of in-cabin storage including a clever cupholder that flips over 90 degrees to convert into a deep storage bin, a chilled glovebox, and a centre front armrest that slides and tilts with a storage box beneath along with big sturdy door pockets.

Safety kit includes the expected items such as an electronic stability program and plenty of airbags (adaptive front and side airbags, and front and rear curtain bags), auto hazard activation on heavy braking, tyre pressure monitoring, and a 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating.

While the automotive world's diesel-fuelled civil war rages on, it's not a dilemma for 308 customers because not only is there a choice of efficient petrol (Peugeot's award-winning three-cylinder 1.2-litre PureTech) and diesel powerplants, but the 88g/km 1.6 BlueHDi turbodiesel unit is clean enough for even save-our-planeteers to drive with a clear conscience.

This past week we've been driving the 120bhp 1.6 BlueHDi turbodiesel around the Garden of England (and not polluting it either thanks to its low 88g/km emissions), criss-crossing Kent's wide selection of winding country lanes, quick A-roads and the well-travelled motorway links to Gatwick and Brighton.

While the automotive
world’s diesel-fuelled
civil war rages on,
it’s not a dilemma for
308 customers because
not only is there
a choice of efficient
petrol (Peugeot’s award-
winning three-cylinder
1.2-litre PureTech)
and diesel powerplants,
but the 88g/km
1.6 BlueHDi turbodiesel
unit is clean enough for
even save-our-planeteers
to drive with a clear
conscience...”
Peugeot offer perfectly fine smooth-shifting autoboxes but we thought we'd take the stick shift — because so too will many buyers. It's a no-regret choice as the six-speed manual 'box comes with a clean, accurate and effortless change action that coupled with the torquey four-pot 1.6-litre diesel makes for stress-free progress whether you're just pootling or have to be somewhere important at a specific time.

The 1.6-litre unit punches out 120bhp but being a diesel it's backed up by a hefty wedge of torque. It's this 221lb ft that gives it its 'oomph' — particularly noticeable, and much appreciated, when speeding up to join fast-moving motorway and dual carriageway traffic.

On other roads it's deceptively quick and moving through the gears is smooth. The BlueHDI engine is also agreeably muted, noticeably so on motorways where it just lopes along at low revs unnoticed by your passengers.

Motorists are justifiably sceptical about the lab-generated 'official' consumption figures; however, those for the 1.6 BlueHDi (85.6mpg in the combined cycle) actually look achievable — or at the very least, approachable — because without even trying to 'stretch' our gallons to the max, we recorded a week's average of 63.6mpg (historically, the best figure for real-world driving we've ever recorded was 84mpg in a smaller model Peugeot).

And if our heavy-footed road-testers can do that, and with the fuel-saving Stop-Start turned off rather than in its default 'on' setting, then Joe Public should crack the 70mpg ceiling — and perhaps go beyond. And 'they' wonder why so many people bought, and are still buying, diesels. And, as mentioned earlier, the dreaded CO2 emissions are well shy of the benchmark 100g/km marker which explains that 'Blue' in the BlueHDi badging.

Estate cars sometimes ride best only when fully laden but the 308 rides well all of the time — driving solo or with five aboard — with the 'comfort' 205/55 Michelin tyres playing their part. Handling is sure-footed and the compact steering wheel makes for wieldy and sharp steering reactions, helping the 308 cleave through the twisties as well as guaranteeing hassle-free parking in tight slots. The brakes too come in for praise; discs at every corner, they have a nicely progressive action allied to a feelsome pedal — a confidence-inspiring combination that puts you at ease when the car is packed with peeps.

Those travelling in the back seats will find it easy both getting in and getting out as the seat bases are a convenient height for the average adult body. Once there they'll enjoy well padded seats, a wide drop-down central armrest with twin cupholders, a fist of headroom along with relaxing backrest angles plus decent legroom and plenty of space for their feet. As you'd hope to find in a family car, there are deep magazine pouches and usable door bins to keep things tidy and if you must take three in the back, three can be accommodated.

Motorists are justifiably
sceptical about the lab-
generated ‘official’
figures; however, those
for the 1.6 BlueHDi
(85.6mpg in the
combined cycle) actually
look achievable — or
at the very least,
approachable — because
without even trying to
‘stretch’ our gallons to
the max, we recorded a
week’s average of
63.6mpg...”
Those carrying children will be thankful for the Isofix child seat fittings (on both outer seats) but also the remote driver-operated child door locks and visual and audible seatbelt warnings — not just as a reminder to belt-up, but also because they alert the driver if a seat belt has been unfastened on the move.

Estate buyers are likely to be using their boots on a regular basis so they'll be pleased with what they find on lifting the tailgate of the 308 — access is easy with one of the lowest boot sills in its class (61cm; just above average knee height), and even with four plus the driver aboard there's a generous 660 litres for luggage and a festive season family shop (stacked to the roof it'll hold more: 810 litres).

For cargo duties, just pull the release levers in the boot (so no time wasted traipsing round to the rear side doors to lower the seats as you still must on many other estates) and the 'Magic Flat' 60:40-split rear seatbacks will spring forward unaided and self-fold flat giving you an impressive best-in-class 1,775-litre loadbay (1,515 loaded to the window line) with clean sides and a seamless floor.

That's a healthy amount of space, all fitted within the 308's urban-friendly 4.6-metre footprint — more goods news with road-room at a premium. Handy too is the ski-hatch as well as the retractable roller blind luggage cover that can be stored in a custom slot under the boot floor when not required. For additional cargo versatility and security on the move there's an optional (only 100) aluminium boot rail system with adjustable tethering hooks. Towing's not a problem either; the 1.6 is happy to haul a braked trailer of up to 1,300kg.

Good looking, family- and cargo-friendly, the 308 SW is the kind of estate car that real-world drivers want. And with prices kicking-off at 19K, it's one they can afford to buy and, with a genuine everyday 63+mpg, can also afford to run! ~ MotorBar
.
Peugeot 308 SW Allure BlueHDi 120 | 22,590
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-62mph: 10.1 seconds | Test Average: 63.6mpg
Power: 120bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2: 88g/km

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