Like its predecessors, the new Peugeot 308 of the third generation is available as a station wagon. Introduced at the same time as the classic compact, the 308 SW is one of those station wagons that focus more on style than volume. However, the family qualities make it an interesting alternative to SUVs of the same size, and the 1.5 BlueHDi engine, the last of its kind in the price list of the brand that was once the leader in diesel engines throughout Europe, is exceedingly pragmatic.
One of the short-term consequences of increasingly strict sanctions and CO2-hunting imperatives is the contradictory focus of car manufacturers. The modernization of compact station wagons, which in recent years almost overshadowed the craze for SUVs, is on the back track, and interest in them is rather only as company fleets. Despite the fact that they logically benefit from more favorable weight and aerodynamics – in favor of consumption and emissions. People just didn't like station wagons. Until now…
In the case of the new 308 SW, which, like the hatchback , is already the third generation of the 308, it is a very refined presentation of design and functionality. An almost design-perfect station wagon, slim and all at the right angles. There is nothing to add to the design and I haven't met a single person who didn't like the new 308, either in the short or station wagon version.
Peugeot was not content with simply extending the rear overhang of the hatchback by 22 cm, but the wheelbase was also increased by 6 cm. The dimensions of the SW are therefore not really compact: the length is 4.64 m, which is 5 cm longer than the previous 308 SW… and almost as big as station wagons from the higher segment a few years ago. It is only 8 cm away from the classic old 406 station wagon!
The driving position is logically identical to the classic 308. The cabin, made of high-quality materials, is welcoming and the strong techno focus is sometimes complicated in ergonomics, but compared to the old version of the 308, it is much better. A slight reservation is, classically with the i-Cockpit, only about the position behind the wheel, which will not please everyone: the small steering wheel hides the bottom of the instrument panel, unless you drive in the "high" position. The cabin therefore relies on a minimalist design full of displays. They are complemented by beautiful decors and upholstery and strips of mood lighting. The 10" digital instrument panel with a 3D effect is clear and the 10" infotainment menu is quite easy to navigate (mainly thanks to i-Toggles, i.e. programmable shortcuts on the display below the infotainment). If you want to embellish the cabin further, you can get ergonomic massage seats with AGR certification, a heated steering wheel, a Focal audio system with a power of 690 W or stylish accessories.
However, the Peugeot 308SW is interesting as a station wagon right at the back. Unfortunately, just like the hatchback, rear seat passenger space isn't much bigger in terms of legroom. There is a bit more headroom, but those extra centimeters of wheelbase actually benefit the trunk… or rather, compensate for the rather strange architecture for the passengers, who are seated far behind the long front hood.
The result is a trunk with a volume of 608 l in the minimum configuration (610 l of the previous generation) and 1,634 l of maximum volume after folding the seat (26 l less than the predecessor). Values slightly less favorable than those of the predecessor, despite the larger external dimensions. We know the principle: style or practicality, you can't have it all. In the PHEV hybrid versions, the trunk volume is further reduced to 548 l due to the batteries.
However, the capacity itself and its (classic) modularity are more than satisfactory for family use. The space in the trunk is well thought out: straight sidewalls, a low loading threshold, a fairly large double bottom (although the subwoofer takes up space here) and at least two attachment points. Two levers allow the bench seats to be folded down from the rear.
As for the engine, we still have one of the last Mohicans among diesel engines. The four-cylinder diesel has a volume of 1.5 liters and produces 96 kW (130 hp), similar to its gasoline companion in the price list. Of course, the value is a bit of a compromise in the context of the "GT" equipment designation, but it is sufficient for the needs of normal transportation. However, it doesn't change the fact that this engine deserves a little more power and tune a little less for emissions and more for emotions…
What struck me was the RPM range this engine is capable of operating at. It doesn't protest even when under-revving below 1500 revolutions per minute and simply knocks contentedly. When necessary, it engages and hits the limits earlier on the highway, where the poorer flexibility given by the volume becomes apparent. This is partly remedied by the AISIN 8-speed automatic, which is very well behaved and quite intelligent.
Gasoline is suitable for ordinary customers who do not drive that much per year, but highway fliers should always reach for this economical diesel. Even when driving on the highway (Senec-Žilina route and back), the car managed only a respectable 5.2 l/100 km, with the so-called German highway speed.
In terms of chassis, the station wagon is very similar to the hatchback and there is practically nothing to complain about, rather the opposite. Once again, I have to praise its tuning and comfort, even on larger wheels.
The 308 currently starts at €22,190 for the complete base with a manual and 110-horsepower gasoline.
The tested GT Pack equipment with automatic, which includes more than a decent portion of additional equipment, is available from €33,590.
The Peugeot 308 SW is firmly on the way to great commercial success. It looks so attractive that many customers will buy it just because of its appearance. And according to first impressions, they won't be disappointed – the 308 SW is solidly spacious and practical, refined and superbly equipped, pleasant to drive and easy to control. I believe that it will be a real sales hit…