Peugeot 308 SW 2023 long-term test

Pegueot 308 lead

In with the new year comes a new long-term test car: an estate – remember those?

Why we’re running it: To see if an electrified estate like the Peugeot 308 SW has a place in a world of crossover competitors

Month 2 – Month 1 – Specs

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Life with a Peugeot 308 SW: Month 2

Screens make us scream, alarm causes us alarm, and lack of heating leaves us frosty – 8 February

Life with the Peugeot 308 SW has brought several positives so far. It drives nicely, it’s comfortable and it’s proving to be quite economical. All sunshine and rainbows, then? Well, it’s all well and good excelling on the dynamic side of things, but those extra little home comforts are important too, and here things aren’t quite so rosy, particularly on the technical front.

Since taking ‘ownership’ of the 308 SW, I’ve encountered random software glitches and other problems that make my life needlessly more stressful. Issues with the reversing camera have been one of the most common.

At least once per day, the image of what should be the environment behind the car returns static, like on an old television. On other occasions, it conjures a green static image reminiscent of a late-night rave. Other times, it will work as intended, then later in the day freeze on an image of the location where I set off from.

I took to social media to see if the issue was just on our early-build car, but no, some other drivers have experienced similar problems with Peugeot’s i-Cockpit system.

One claimed to have a similar issue with the sat-nav in their 508, while another said they experience the occasional blip in their 208.

When I asked Peugeot why the glitches might be happening, they said my car would need to come in for repair.

There’s also an occasional issue with the radio cutting out randomly for a microsecond every 10 seconds or so. While it’s not a huge issue and one that is resolved by swapping the media source, it’s still annoying.

The biggest issue, however, has concerned the alarm. For some reason, it will go off at random whenever I’ve locked the car, which has made me quite unpopular with my neighbours.

There’s never anything left inside the car when it’s locked, so I can’t see why it should go off. The resolution I’ve come to is to switch off the interior monitoring before I get out of the car, using the button on the console above the driver’s head, but obviously this isn’t ideal for security.

The keyfob is also hit-and-miss because sometimes I press the lock button and nothing happens.

The 308’s climate control is quick to heat the cabin and de-ice the windscreen, so there’s no need for me to double up on layers of clothing. Despite this, the Allure Premium specification of our car isn’t best kitted out for winter, lacking a few key features that would make life a bit more comfortable in our present sub-zero temperatures.

For one, it lacks heated seats. I’m prepared to live without them, considering the cabin warms up so quickly, but it would be handy to save a bit of fuel for my commute by not relying on the air conditioning so much.

Peugeot’s e-Remote Control phone app is a useful feature, though, allowing plug-in hybrid cars like mine to be charged and heated remotely.

More of a first-world complaint is the lack of a heated steering wheel. Supposedly, the coldest temperature ever measured on Earth was when scientists dropped magnetised gas down a tower last year and recorded -273.15deg C. Well, clearly these scientists have never held the steering wheel of a 308 at 6am on a Monday morning in January.

It’s so uncomfortably cold to hold that I often need to cover my hands with gloves or a coat sleeve for the first five minutes or so of driving. A heated steering wheel is only available as an option on range-topping GT trim, which is unfortunate.


Roomy rear

There’s plenty of space afforded to the back seats, and the USB-C ports there are useful for any passengers I’m ferrying.


Alarm problems aside, the unrelenting double beep from locking the car soon wore thin. My neighbours dislike it too.

Mileage: 8555

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The boot could be brighter… -1 February 

The 308 estate’s boot is spacious, but it’s a dark cavern at night. The light back there is really quite small and not all that bright, meaning I have to use the torch on my phone to improve visibility, which isn’t helpful when I’m carrying luggage or shopping. 

Mileage: 7423

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Life with a Peugeot 308 SW: Month 1

Estate sounds perfect for a long cargo haul, but a PHEV one? – 18 January

I’m starting to get to know my Peugeot 308 SW a lot better after a few weeks of ‘ownership’, and as mentioned in my last report, the stylish wagon’s first mission was to ferry me and a boot full of stuff down to the south coast of Cornwall.

In my mind, it would be the ideal test of the plug-in hybrid estate’s long-range economy, with a mixture of electric, petrol-electric and petrol power, while simultaneously taking on Cornwall’s varied terrain.

I left Berkshire with a full tank of unleaded, prompting the digital display to show a range of 485 miles, along with 18 miles of EV range, so I opted for hybrid mode to make the most of that measly figure.

My doubts were allayed somewhat by those miles lasting all the way to Exeter (after some very conservative driving).

When you stop and switch off the engine in the 308, you’re given a handy readout that tells you the percentage of zero-emissions driving you did on that journey, along with your MPG and miles per kWh economy figures.

I stopped just after Exeter for a quick break, which prompted a readout of 127 miles travelled, 52.2mpg, 22.1mpkWh and 20% of the journey using zero emissions.

While I wished those EV miles had lasted a bit longer, I left Exeter feeling fairly satisfied that I was saving ever so slightly on fuel costs.

That optimism was short-lived, however, as finding a suitably fast charger in Cornwall proved to be no easy task. I did eventually locate one at a chocolate factory (sadly without an Oompa-Loompa in attendance), but the supposed 11kW charging speed was really rather pitiful – nowhere near as tasty as the treats on offer.

I went on to spend the rest of the holiday driving around on petrol-only power, which I imagine ends up being the case for many rural-based PHEV drivers who don’t have a charger at home. Thankfully the economy was respectable, the car consistently cracking out around 45mpg. 

Our 308 SW, however, is definitely most satisfying to drive when you can set off and cruise in EV mode.

Cruising in eighth gear is usually fine, but should you drop to below 60mph, the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine produces a rather unpleasant growl.

I often find myself dropping down to seventh gear using the handy paddle-shift system just to avoid the noise, but the gearbox decides to jump back up to eighth anyway after a few seconds, frustratingly.

What I can’t fault, though, is the 308 SW’s ride comfort. It’s thoroughly pleasant and handles most road surfaces with absolute ease. Exactly what was needed for a relaxing winter break.

Like it 

What weight?

The 1659kg 308 SW is a dream in the corners, seemingly not suffering from the addition of an electric motor and battery.

Loathe it

Apple’s nicer

Peugeot’s touchscreen infotainment system isn’t straightforward to navigate, meaning I always opt for CarPlay 

Mileage: 6841

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Our driver puts the estate’s practicality to the test – 11 January

The first true test of the Peugeot’s practicality came with a week-long trip to Cornwall recently. The 548 litres offered by the 308 SW’s boot is more than enough for my own luggage, although I think it would be quite tight for a family of four. The privacy glass makes it nearly impossible to see inside too, which feels more secure. 

Mileage: 4957

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Welcoming the 308 SW to the fleet – 4 January 2022

Such is the ever-growing number of SUVs on UK roads that an estate is no longer a conventional choice. But given all the inherent qualities of an estate, it’s hard to see why this should be.

Estates are sleek, spacious and hugely practical, and they usually offer vastly better driving dynamics than their crossover or SUV counterparts. 

These are just some of the reasons why I’m excited for the next few months with the Autocar fleet’s latest addition, a new Peugeot 308 SW. 

Based on the third-generation 308 family hatchback, which was launched last May, the 308 SW (for station wagon) measures 4635mm long and 1475mm tall. That’s 270mm longer and 10mm taller than the hatchback, but it has the same line-up of powertrain choices: petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid. 

Our car pairs a 147bhp 1.6-litre four-pot with a 108bhp electric motor and a 12.4kWh battery. Maximum power stands at 177bhp when using the engine and motor in tandem, which enables a punchy 0-62mph time of 7.7sec, and the top speed is 139mph. 

Peugeot 308 jack warrick 2

Its electric range is officially 37 miles (more on that later) while fuel consumption is rated at between 213.7mpg and 281mpg. The charging port, meanwhile, is located on just above the left rear wheel, a mirrored placement of the petrol filler.

Charging takes about three and a half hours using a 7.4kWh home wall box, or nearly double that time if you use a domestic three-pin socket. 

So far, the 308 hasn’t achieved anywhere near that official 37-mile figure when in EV mode. After a full night’s charge, I’m getting only around 18 miles out of the battery, which seems rather poor.

Our car comes in Allure Premium trim, which sits just below the range-topping GT, and it’s clear to see that Peugeot is aiming to position the 308 SW against some of the segment’s higher-end products. 

It’s priced from £35,650 with our PHEV engine choice – around £3000 more than the Volkswagen Golf Estate 1.5 eTSI (a mild hybrid) in R-Line trim, but £3000 below the considerably larger Skoda Superb Estate 1.4 TSI iV (also a PHEV) in Sportline Plus guise. 

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There’s plenty of kit as standard, including LED headlights, keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. A notable omission for me given the time of year, though, is seat heating, which is available on GT trim only. Boo.

The cabin is a nice place to sit, if slightly tight for someone of my height (6ft 1in). The squared-off steering wheel is a bit different but I think I like it, and it’s really good to have some buttons again after the touchpads of my previous long-termer, a Volkswagen ID 4 GTX. 

However, I’m encountering a problem that’s well-documented in reviews of the 308: the steering wheel cuts off the bottom of the digital dial display. I can’t lower it any further because then it makes contact with my legs. 

For me, the main attraction of this quirky i-Cockpit layout is the pairing of that digital dial display with a 10.0in infotainment touchscreen. I’m told it’s a ‘love it or hate it’ sort of system, so it will be interesting to see how I cope given my patience tends to wear thin pretty quickly. 

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included, or you can make use of the in-built sat-nav. Among my favourite parts of the interior are the iToggles, which are an example of touchpads done right. They’re big, responsive and customisable, and have so far proved handy. 

Peugeot 308 boot

Elsewhere, the Drive Assist Pack (usually optional but standard on pricier trims) bolsters safety with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, blindspot monitoring and automatic emergency braking. 

Like its hatchback sibling, this estate certainly looks the part, continuing Peugeot’s run of eye-catching and stylish designs, plus it has been given a differentiated look at the rear, with a redesigned bumper and a larger windscreen.  

All in all it’s one of the best-looking estates and certainly far more attractive than most of the cookie-cutter SUVs and crossovers many Brits are clamouring for. And the optional Elixer Red pearlescent paint is the icing on the cake. 

With a stretched body comes improved practicality, and indeed the 308’s boot space is enhanced to 548 litres here (or to 608 litres in a non-PHEV model) increasing to 1574 litres if you fold down the 40/20/40 split rear seats.

It’s not quite as capacious as the estate versions of the Volkswagen Golf (611 litres) or the Ford Focus (575 litres), but it’s still a decent increase over the 412 litres offered by the 309 hatchback – and it was more than enough for our annual Christmas getaway. 

On that note, thanks Santa for this generous gift. I’m looking forward to the next few months. 

Second Opinion

The 308 makes a funny sort of estate. Its stretched wheelbase promises more rear space but not enough to make this a selling point over rivals, while boot space is usefully large but not class-leading. To me, it’s a bit like the old Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon: the prettiest version of a pretty car. 

Matt Saunders

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Peugeot 308 SW specification

Specs: Price New £35,650 Price as tested £36,345 Options Elixer Red pearlescent paint, £695

Test Data: Engine 1.6-litre 4 cyl turbocharged petrol with electric motor Power 147bhp at 6000rpm Torque 184lb ft at 1750rpm Kerb weight 1659kg Top speed 139mph 0-62mph 7.7sec Fuel economy 213.7mpg – 281mpg CO2 25g/km Faults None Expenses None

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Source: Autocar

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