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Peugeot 308 SW GT Line 1.2 PureTech 130

Click to view gallery“Peugeot has always been decidedly
  good at producing estate cars —
  confirming that is their five-door,
  family-friendly 308 SW ‘wagon’ which
  now, thanks to the newly-introduced
  GT Line spec, comes with an extra
  level of premium appeal...”


AT FIRST GLANCE, GT LINE models can easily be mistaken for the more potent 180hp 2.0-litre GT versions but if kerb appeal allied to a versatile character and 50+mpg are what hold the key to your heart then the three-pot, petrol-powered 308 estate could be just the thing to turn your head.

Rolling on identical 18-inch 'Diamant' fluted 5-bar alloy wheels, the smartly-tailored cut of its jib is not the 308 SW's only ace it holds a full hand of them: in addition to svelte looks it has a PureTech engine for real-world economy; a premium cabin ambiance serving up comfort for the entire family; and seriously impressive load space.

“Converting the large
660-litre boot into a full-
blown, van-matching
1,660-litre cargo hold
takes but seconds:
pull the release levers in
the boot and the
seatbacks spring forward
to fold perfectly flat...
Starting not at the nose but at for what for most SW buyers will be equally important the tail. A good start: the lightweight tailgate is an easy lift. Converting the large, regular-shaped 660-litre boot into a full-blown, van-matching 1,660-litre cargo hold takes but seconds: pull the release levers in the boot and the 1/3:2/3-split seatbacks spring forward while at the same time the seat bases also drop lower to create a perfectly flat loadbay floor.

Handy side pockets with lift out sides panels add even more versatility; as too does the useful load-through hatch behind the centre armrest. If you need to load to the roof then the luggage cover cassette can be quickly stowed away in a customised space beneath the boot carpet.

Glance down while you're standing at the boot and you'll spot a black lacquered rear diffuser flanked by twin chromed tailpipes pipes more GT Line trim features. Back in the boot there's a space saver along with some extra oddment storage space and a proper stay for when you need access to the spare or to store some out of sight items.

Back to the sharp-end and what's behind the iconic Lion emblem and slim LED headlights. The 308 range offers powerplants to suit many users, starting with a pair of three-cylinder turbocharged 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engines (110 and 130hp) to 1.6 and 2.0-litre HDi and BlueHDi turbodiesels of between 92 and 180hp. Just so you know, Peugeot's 'Blue' engines reduce nitrogen oxides by 90% while eliminating 99.9% of diesel-fuel particulates and offer CO2 as low as 82g/km to deliver the cleanest diesel units possible.

The 1,199cc three-pot PureTech engine we tested packs a lively 128bhp (130hp) backed by 170lb ft of torque at 1,750rpm. PureTech is a new three-cylinder Peugeot engine family designed to be ultra-efficient while delivering the power, torque and driveability of 1.6-litre engine from fuel-efficient, low-CO2-emitting smaller capacity 1.0 or 1.2-litre units.

Note that 'driveability' word in the previous paragraph it's not just marketing-speak because the 130hp model's on-the-job performance is satisfyingly committed with the benchmark 0-62mph taking 12.6 seconds and a top speed that's well above the 'ton' at 124mph. Extend it and you'll even hear a growl…

Paper figures aside, it's a pleasant engine to pull you along (the 308 is, of course, front-wheel drive) whether it's partnering you in traffic or whisking you along a fast-flowing motorway. Pick-up is strong at the legal limit in sixth gear and the three-cylinder really does feel more like a 2.0-litre plus it's gutsy enough to tow a braked 1,200kg.

“The 130hp model’s
on-the-job performance
is satisfyingly committed
with the benchmark
0-62mph taking 12.6
seconds and a top speed
that’s well above
the ‘ton’ at 124mph.
Extend it and there’s
even a growl...
In fact, travelling at speed, the 308 is defined most by its polished demeanour, a demeanour that keeps all those aboard unruffled while its smooth-riding chassis makes light work or covering large distances.

Real-world fuel economy is also a given after 700+ test miles our overall test average worked out at 49.3mpg against the official 56.5mpg (45.6 town; 65.6mpg touring). At MotorBar we drive the same way as other real-world drivers because we want our test consumption figures to be achievable by the average driver.

Which is why we're confident that the everyday 308 SW owner using this same three-cylinder 130hp model will be sure to see figures on the good side of 50mpg while still enjoying their driving. And that's no bad thing! More good news: you pay no road tax in the first year and subsequent years you'll only have to cough up £30.

Swing open a front door and you'll be welcomed by the inviting cabin that's smartly trimmed and mixes tasteful materials with quality fit and finish and exudes a definite premium air. Doors shut first time, every time, with a quality 'click'.

The driver sits behind a cowled instrument binnacle with classy tear-shaped bezels housing crystal clear dials that's viewed over rather than the traditional through-the-rim a low-set, small diameter, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel with a great-to-grip perforated leather rim; part of an arrangement that Peugeot calls its i-Cockpit.

Yes it's a different approach but it works perfectly; the driving position is fine, and the low wheel aids shoulder comfort it really helped my frozen shoulder immensely on long journeys. It also sharpens up the driver:machine relationship as even modest inputs at the helm produce a noticeably quicker directional change making the 308 feel remarkably wieldy.

To go with the sports wheel are sports seats with suede centre panels; their bolstering errs on the side of comfort (which is good!) and they proved to be extremely comfortable even when we were trapped for over four hours in stop-start traffic on the M25.

Also part of the I-Cockpit 'treatment' is the refreshingly de-cluttered fascia the solitary knob is the on/off volume switch for the infotainment system. Most functions are now controlled directly through the 9.7-inch tablet-style touchscreen in the centre of the dash; even the dual-zone automatic AirCon is operated by quick finger-taps on the screen.

“To go with the flat-
bottomed sports wheel
are sports seats —
their bolstering errs on
the side of comfort
and they proved to be
extremely comfortable
even when we were
trapped for over four
hours in stop-start traffic
on the M25...
Given its 4.5-metre body length there's loads of passenger space inside in all directions both front and rear passengers enjoy a good fist of headroom; the front passenger can also really stretch out his or her legs; and there's enough room between the front seats for full use to be made of the sliding, height-adjustable centre armrest.

Both front seats also come with not just power lumbar adjustment but also a massage function. Perfect on a long trip.

Thoughtful touches include the electric parking brake that automatically applies itself when you switch off the ignition; plenty of in-cabin storage; and a very well sited left-foot rest for long trips 'in the cruise'. And although it's outside, we liked, in this larcenous age, having a proper locking petrol cap (no extra key worries as it uses the ignition key).

Pay the extra £500 for the panoramic full-length glass roof and you most certainly won't be disappointed: it floods the already airy cabin with light (a one-shot powered interior sunblind lets you regulate just how much sun is makes it through) and adds a whole new dimension to road travel. Rear seat passenger in particular seem to love basking in the back (the glass panel stretches past their headrests). Four one-shot up/down make it easy to let in real air and some summer breeze while tinted glass and privacy glass from the B-pillars back keep you out of the paparazzi line of fire.

While ticking the option boxes, another desirable well-priced 'extra' is Peugeot's Driver Assistance Pack that gets you dynamic cruise control plus Peugeot's Emergency Collision Alert and Braking system all for just £450.

Sitting immediately below the GT models, GT Line models are very well specced: half-Alcantara trim sports seats with discreet red stitching, powered lumbar adjustment and massage front seats, GT-style leather rimmed wheel with red stitching plus GT-style carpet mats, aluminium style pedals and door sills.

Also standard are front and rear parking aids supplemented with a reversing camera, 2-zone auto AirCon, all electric windows, power door mirrors with powerfold (on demand and on locking), automatic electric parking brake, 9.7-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system that includes SatNav (with traffic sign recognition), Bluetooth, auto-dim driver's mirror, auto lights and wipes, LED rear lights as well as LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights, tinted and privacy glass, roof rails, and standout 18-inch alloy wheels.

“Dynamically the 308
estate is as good as its
hatchback sibling,
offering a pleasing blend
of complaint ride and
tidy, self-assured
handling — out on the
open road and with the
family at home the driver
can indulge in some
enthusiastic driving...
If you went for the panoramic glass roof then your back seat passengers will feel like a million dollars. Also earning their approbation will be the spacious rear cabin with its decent foot and knee room and the fine lower back comfort provided by the rear backrests. And although it will deprive them of the wide centre armrest with built-in cupholders, even the carrying of a third adult between them won't damp their satisfaction too much.

Dynamically the 308 estate is as good as its hatchback sibling, offering a pleasing blend of complaint ride and tidy, self-assured handling out on the open road and with the family at home the driver can indulge in some enthusiastic driving helped by the same good visibility that de-stresses driving in city traffic and which works equally in your favour on quick secondary country roads where it's easily placed with confidence.

While the fascination with big wheels shows no sign of fading away, UK drivers are noticeably becoming equally keen on ride comfort perhaps we have the third-world road surfaces to thank for that! Whatever, the 308 SW GT Line manages the trick of delivering enjoyable handling as well as a very civilised ride comfort. Not only does it do so very well, but it's a quiet ride with no external sound intrusion even from the wind and road surface. On the move it's nicely refined, hushed even a car both passengers and drivers will praise.

With it's smart Audi-esque presence and posture, tasteful interior and well-judged ride and handling combination, the family-friendly 308 SW makes an impressive showing in the stylish estate stakes.
MotorBar

Peugeot 308 SW GT Line 1.2 PureTech 130 | £22,345
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 12.6 seconds | Test Average: 49.3mpg
Power: 128bhp | Torque: 170lb ft | CO2 115g/km