308 SW Sport HDi 110
fuel-efficient diesel engine and a
large fuel tank means Peugeots
range of hatchbacks and SW estates
can be driven for miles without the
need for stopping at fuel stations...
ALL OF WHICH MEANS THAT Peugeot's 'long ranger' is ideal
for long journeys or for those who hate parting with money on a regular basis.
And for those customers who also want to be 'green'
blue, actually, in Peugeot's case the company have recently
introduced a small range of 90 and 110bhp diesel Blue Lion models with reduced
CO2 emissions of 120g/km or less.
The 308 three- and five-door hatchback (but not the SW range) line-up has Blue
Lion 'eco' models, with prices ranging from £14,145 to £18,895. With CO2 levels
of 120g/km, this means they all have a road tax bill of £35 a year and
company car drivers will be pleased to know that they all fall into the new
10 per cent company car tax bracket.
But with the Winter holiday season upon us, Peugeot in the UK is promoting its
popular 308 SW with the best-selling 110bhp HDi turbodiesel engine to skiing
fans. They say the vehicle will carry five people with 1,031 litres of luggage
the 600 miles to Chamonix in France on one 13.2-gallon tank of fuel that's
around 45.4mpg. This costs about £65 each way much cheaper than flying
and with CO2 emissions of 139g/km this works out at 28g per person, so
no global warming and melting the snow from these holiday-makers.
I can vouch for those figures because I bettered them. It just so happens that
I used a Peugeot 308 SW Sport HDi 110 for a recent drive to France and back
and my test vehicle, with two passengers plus luggage, returned 50.3mpg. That
gave a range of 663 miles, although the on-board computer was sure I could actually
Cars that will succeed in 2009 in a depressed market will be the ones that do
the most for most people especially as regards to right size, competitive
price, low taxes, versatility and economical running costs. The 308 SW does
most of those things. Except it looks expensive against the competition.
The relatively-new five-door 308 SW estate range comes in S, SR, Sport and SE
trim and equipment levels, with 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engine options ranging
from 95 to 175bhp and HDi 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbodiesel units with power outputs
from 90 to 136bhp. Prices range from £14,995 up to £21,545 but a mainstream
model 110bhp diesel model should be obtainable for around £16,500.
There are bargains out there; this is a competitive market sector and
the market leader in all ways, the Ford Focus, is readily available at discounted
prices and is driving reality into showroom prices. My test 308 SW HDi 110 carried
the lofty official on-the-road price of £18,595 plus options. Not a chance.
What Car? magazine's target price is £16,914 and dropping as the
market gets tougher.
However, the 308 line-up (of three- and five-door hatchbacks plus SW estates
and the new CC coupé/cabriolet due out in April 2009) is, after the 207 supermini
models, Peugeot's second best-selling model range. Sales of the 308 are reported
to be stronger than the marginally smaller 307 range it started to replace in
stages from September 2007. In 2008, around 27,000 UK customers split
50:50 between fleet and retail will have driven away from the showrooms
in a new 308 model of some type.
The 308 is a grown up and more curvaceous version of the previous 307 which,
incidentally, is still on sale. The styling is more robust but the 308 still
sports the Peugeot 'feline face' with the almond-shaped headlights although
the nose is now far more pronounced and, for me, not as pretty. Also not quite
so pert is the tail, that makes the rear-end look a bit 'dumpy'. The sides have
more exaggerated sculptured lines and the 308's wedge shape, with its rising
waistline and coupé roofline, gives an impression of speed although the rear
windows are smaller and that limits rear and rear-quarter vision.
The 308 SW is longer, wider and lower (4,500, 1,815 and 1,564mm) and
also has a longer wheelbase (2,708mm) than the 308 five-door hatchback,
and on the road this endows the SW with a better and more controlled ride.
The panoramic glass sunroof, where fitted, is 27 per cent larger than that fitted
in the 307 SW. In all areas this extra length and width has been put to good
use: there's more legroom for rear passengers and an overall feeling of spaciousness.
The load space, too, is impressive, with 674 litres with five seats in use,
increasing to a massive 2,149 litres with the seats folded. The seating is one
of the cleverest features of the new 308 SW, which can be ordered as a conventional
five-seater estate or with the option of a third row of two individual seats
at an added cost of £495.
Now there is nothing new about seven seat estates or MPV people carriers. However,
the individual nature of the middle and third row of seats in the 308 SW means
that there are lots of seating combinations and they all fold flat to
make up a long load floor. The seats can be swapped around, they fold to form
tables and they can be removed. In truth, the rear row of seats if used
as a seven-seater are very limited for leg space and suitable only for
They also limit the boot floor space if the vehicle is being used for five people
or less; the sixth and seventh seats need to be unclipped and removed rather
than folding away into the floor. I would much prefer to use the 308 SW as a
five-seater estate and have its massive load space easily available rather than
mess around with taking seats out and storing them in the garage.
The Sport specification does not refer to 'sports' performance; it is all about
equipment levels. You get, amongst other items, air conditioning, electric windows,
alloy wheels, central locking, seven smart air bags, cruise control, panoramic
sunroof and an electronic stability programme which should be standard
on all models but isn't. The 308 is a family vehicle, and for maximum safety
ESP is as important as ABS.
The 1.6-litre HDi 110bhp turbodiesel engine comes from PSA Peugeot-Citroen and
it is widely used by them and others. We know it well. It is strong, torquey,
relatively quiet and fuel efficient. It is one of today's well-respected engines
and there is very little I can add to what I've said before. Fitted to the 308
SW, this unit provides for a top speed of 115mph. Zero to 62mph acceleration
takes 12.5 seconds and the official combined cycle fuel economy is 53.2mpg.
My test car returned, over nearly 700 miles, 50.3mpg which I rate highly.
The CO2 emissions are 139g/km which means an annual road tax bill of £120. The
six-speed transmission was relatively slick, the ride comfortable so long as
the road surfaces were smooth. Potholes and rippled surfaces did upset the composure,
more so when the SW had very little weight in it. Talking of weight, the 308
SW will most likely appeal to 'active' families because of the load carrying
space but for those who tow boats, jet-skis or caravans, the towing capacity
is only 1,000kg.
Niggles include the high-ish price, the cramped third row seating (made worse
by the fact that these seats do not fold into the floor) and an offset driving
position. Irritating, too, is the fact that there is no ESP as standard on some
Redeeming features include a huge boot, versatile seating, strong engine, well
equipped, comfortable ride and, of course, it's economical to run. Overall,
the Peugeot 308 SW is a very good example of what the lower-medium 'family car'
sector can offer today's financially and tax-penalised private and company car
users: versatile interior space; compact road space; and interesting but still
rewarding to drive. The 308 SW isn't perfect and isn't exactly cheap, but it
is a buyer's market for now so a deal can be done. Do one, and you'll be sure
to enjoy happy motoring in 2009. David Miles
Peugeot 308 SW Sport HDi 110 | £18,595
Maximum speed: 115mph | 0-62mph: 12.5 seconds
Overall test MPG: 50.3mpg | Power: 110bhp | Torque: 180lb ft
CO2 139g/km | Insurance group 7E