Peugeot 308 SW GT – Review
By Liam Bird
Quite who started the whole sporty estate car thing I can’t be sure. It’s one of those automotive facts that’s probably been argued about in many a bar and it’s probably written down somewhere too. Was it Audi? Probably. They are, after all, the niche-filler of niche-fillers. It could have been SAAB, (remember them?), or Volvo maybe? Who knows? They certainly are popular though.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, this car, the 308 SW GT is indeed Peugeot’s new sporty estate. It’s based upon the 308 hatchback that was awarded the European Car of the Year honours in 2104 and, until or indeed if even, a 308 GTi estate becomes available (I’m writing this just as the 308 GTi hatch is announced) it’s the range-topping 308.
Visually the Peugeot 308 GT SW ticks all of the required sporty estate boxes. The ride height has been lowered: 7mm front, 10mm rear, there are new LED headlights and indicators, airscoops, a rear diffuser with twin tailpipes, 18 inch “Diamant” wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres fill the wheel arches and subtle GT badging to complete the external look. Red stitching, an anthracite headlining, leather seats complete with massage function, aluminium pedals, a 9.7-inch touchscreen that takes care of the radio, Bluetooth sat-nav, air-conditioning and, this being the 21st century, Apps too, plus an obligatory Sport button (like most, it turns the dials red, pumps artificial engine noises through the speakers, increases the steering weigh, and well, err… does little else) are all to be found inside.
Because this is the 308 GT SW – that’s estate in old money – you also have an enormous boot. Bigger, in fact, that a of a Skoda Octavia Estate – complete with integrate rails with standard fit magnetic, sliding lashing-eyes, as well as 60/40 split rear seats that fold easily thanks to a lever in the load bay. There is a trade-off however: rear passenger room can feel quite tight, especially so if the optional panoramic glass roof has been fitted as it eats into the headroom.
Also, while I’m on the subject of niggles. The tiny (351mm x 329mm) flat-bottomed, perforated leather steering wheel that Peugeot exclusively fits to the GT spec 308s blocks your view of nearly all of the dials, unless that is you’re prepared to drive with it in your lap. It’s a shame, because from the passenger seat where you can see them perfectly apparently, I’m told they look rather good. Also, despite being undeniably attractive, that aforementioned wheel and tyre combo are, regrettably, to B-road ride quality what a double espresso is to a good night’s sleep.
Still, at least the 308 SW GT proves comfy, composed even, on smoother surfaces. And it’s here that it feels most at home.
You see, despite its sporty looks the Peugeot 308 GT SW doesn’t feel that sporty. Neither does it feel particularly like a GT. It’s only available with a diesel engine and an automatic ‘box. The engine is good: it’s smooth, quiet, and punchy. But sadly it’s let down by the gearbox, which seems slow to react to your demands. Whether you chose to use the column mounted shift paddles or not. Then there’s the steering. Sport setting deployed or not, it’s not exactly what you’d call communicative.
Despite being a fully loaded quality product both inside and out, at prices from £26,845 upwards, for what it offers dynamically the 308 GT SW feels expensive. Ultimately, and for similar money, there are other manufacturer’s out there (see SEAT’s Leon and Ford’s Focus) who do the whole sporty estate thing better.
Peugeot 308 SW GT BlueHDi 180
Engine: 1,997cc, 4Cyl, 8V Turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6 speed auto. Front Wheel Drive
Power: 180 bhp @ 3750rpm
Torque: 295 lbft @2000 rpm
0-62mph: 8.6 sec
Max Speed: 135 mph
MPG: 68.9 combined
VED Band: B
Price: from £26,845