Test drive: 2012 Peugeot 308 SW Allure e-HDi 112

Test drive: 2012 Peugeot 308 SW Allure e-HDi 112

The TotallyMotor Verdict


Do you fancy an estate car, but don’t fancy a big ol’ boat of a longer motor drowning out your entire driveway? Well how about this 308 Sports Wagon (that’s estate to you and me) from Peugeot? It’s small and nippy enough not to trouble around the tighter towns, but still packs up to 2,149 litres of boot space, or an optional two extra occasional seats in the boot area.

Today, we’re looking at the top-spec Allure model, priced at £21,750 OTR (the range starts at £16,245), finished in metallic Aluminium paint (£440 optional extra), powered by a 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, and featuring automatic engine Stop and Start. Quoted combined economy is 61.3mpg and CO2 emissions are rated at 120g/km for road tax at £30 per year; zero for the first year.


Test drive: 2012 Peugeot 308 SW Allure e-HDi 112

First impressions:
The 308 was facelifted in April 2011, and it was a nose job that the car really needed. The “bonnet-beak” is gone, thank goodness! Instead this latest 308 presents the recognisable Peugeot family face with its wide “mouth”, large back-swept headlights, LED running lights, bolder new Lion badge and sculpted bonnet. It’s a classy new look.

This TotallyMotor test car 308 SW is presented in metallic “Aluminium” paint – that’ll cost you an extra £440 – but the gleaming paint, gently-handsome 17-inch alloys and pleasantly proportioned SW longer-body – in my opinion – gel together into an understated yet satisfying package.


Into the interior:
This Peugeot 308 SW benefits from a panoramic glass roof that really fills the interior with light, even on a bit of a grotty day. It doesn’t open to let the air in but you can open and close a full-length blind at the touch of a button; perhaps if the sun (remember that hot yellow thing!) is really beating that day.

All this bright light could be a worry if the next-gen 308’s interior was a shoddy affair. But fear not, it isn’t. OK, so we’re at the top of the trim tree here with the £21,750 Allure, but this 5-seater – plus two occasional seats – is still solidly built and generously trimmed.

Half-leather seating, electric folding mirrors – great for squeezing into our super-tight underground office car park – rear parking sensors and dual-zone air-con, all come together to make the 308 Allure feel special and comfortable. The line has been drawn at sat-nav, so you’ll have to pop that in yourself. Try Google Maps sat-nav on your smart phone, the latest edition is ace.

If found myself about 90% near-perfect comfortable when driving the 308, thanks to a good combination of seat adjustability, steering wheel slide and tilt adjustment, and general interior wriggle room. That’s good going in a pretty small car for a bloke that measures 6’ 4”.

One niggle is the very high clutch pedal, one pleasure is the powerful brakes that are full of progressive feel. And, as we’ve said, that SW boot offers up to 2,149 litres of potential carrying capacity, and that’s surely enough for the average family, right?


The drive:
The little 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine does a commendable job up front and pulls the 308 with gusto through six well-matched manual gears. Now, 112bhp doesn’t sounds like much – 62mph comes in 11.9secs – but the turbocharger spins quickly and the torque comes early; just work the ‘box and fun progress can be made.

The suspension is on the comfort side of things however the car doesn’t roll or pitch noticeably, but while the bigger bumps are gently soaked, I did still detect the odd jolt from particularly jagged road surfaces, especially outside the TotallyMotor office where the highway looks like the surface of the moon, after a good carpet-bombing!

I think that the ride character is well-pitched for the car’s intended market – families with an eye on the frugal – and with the little motor doing its best to take small fuel-sips and the engine Stop and Start feature regularly kicking in at journey pauses, I found a happy economy of 52mpg, which would surely make even the most miserly motorist smile.

In short, solid and assured on the road, and quicker-feeling than 112bhp might suggest, but also at times unexciting in its cornering-character.


Ten second sum up:
The 2012 Peugeot 308 SW is a refined and well-executed all-round family car that’s especially hard to fault on build quality and inner space. Good fun to drive, if a little short on engagement, but with over 50mpg achievable in the real world, many families will be sticking to cruising rather than zooming.


Prices and availability:
The Peugeot 308 SW range starts at £16,245 for the 1.4 VTi Access and rises to £22,345 for the HDi Allure. Price as tested, £21,750, for the Allure e-HDi 112, with an optional extra metallic Aluminium paint at £440. Available now.


By Daniel Anslow

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