For those who need slightly more space and versatility over a hatchback or sedan, Peugeot’s solution here is worth a closer attention
Photos by Azfar Hashim
I’ve reviewed the hatchback version of Peugeot’s 308 previously, and although I came highly impressed with the improved cabin design and build quality, the rear legroom could still do with more, well, room. That said however, the extensive equipment list presented the entire car as one of the best value-for-money proposition in the Category A segment, giving the leading family hatchback Golf a good run for its money.
Now meet the wagon version of the 308.
Of course, the focus of the 308 SW here is that additional cabin space. The basis of a wagon is better practicality at the back, and in that aspect the 308 SW doesn’t disappoint; with 332 mm extra length and a wheelbase that has been extended by a significant 110 mm, it boasts a 660-litre boot space which then balloons to a whopping 1,660-litres when you bring the backrest down. Mind you, that is an extra 190-litres and 351-litres more, respectively, compared to the hatchback variant.
This should be good news for individuals who lead an active lifestyle and those with small family. Not forgetting also if you’re the sort who treats their cars like a mobile store room as you can, quite literally, throw everything in there; heck, there’s enough space for a library as well.
For our market, the 308 SW comes only in Allure spec, meaning it gets a large glassroof as standard; directly giving a sense of airiness for all on board.
That aside, like the hatchback it gets equally good build quality and a well-sorted cockpit. Climate control, radio, multimedia, GPS and the car’s real time info counter are all integrated into one screen, along with the small-sized leather wrapped steering that feels surprisingly nice when you put your palm around it.
Powered by a 3-cylinder, 12-valve 1.2-litre turbocharged lump and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the 308 SW has a healthy maximum output of 129 bhp. Maximum torque stands at 230 Nm, available from as low as 1,750 rpm.
Not exactly fire breathing figures I give you that, but nevertheless, it is an eager and responsive car that won't have any problems driven over long distances. Suffice to say, refinement level remains excellent for an engine this size.
There's that even spread of torque particularly between 2,000 rpm to 5,000 rpm, making overtaking an easy task. But if you do have the occasional sporting intents, I'm glad to report that you can stretch it all the way to its 6,000 rpm redline with the engine duly gaming on. One point to note though is it tends to sound rather gruff anywhere past 4,500 rpm.
The ‘box is a smooth operator, shifting between cogs without any drama – this is a far cry from Peugeot’s other transmission, the automated manual EGC gearbox, that is so jerky it might cause you to throw up all your meals from, say, the past four days…
The 308 SW remains comfortable out on the expressway. Road undulations are absorbed with aplomb, and it smoothens out bumps without throwing passengers about wildly in the car; Peugeot's engineers managed to provide a set-up that has a proper balance between comfort and outright grip. Speaking of which, it also has all the right stuff to terrorize hot-hatches along bends as well. And I kid you not; despite the excess weight and larger dimension, the car seems to handle better than the hatch. Body roll is well controlled, it does not succumb to understeer easily and the helm feels weighty, giving a good amount of feedback to the driver.
This is one car that could potentially convert the usual sedan buyers to look at a wagon really. The 308 SW provides a practical interior, exceptional performance, an exterior that's hard to fault and a chassis that can be exploited every once in a while.
The extensive equipment list is another one of its USP. Oh did I mention Park Assist (which will help you get in and out of both parallel and reverse parking lots) along with Blind Spot Monitor, comes standard too?