Peugeot 308 SW: Diesel do nicely?

  • Over 3,000 miles in the BlueHDi engine’s economy’s lacking
  • Low CO2 figure a boost for private and company drivers
  • Virtues of quiet cruising and comfort still appeal

Diesel. It’s been getting bit of a mauling in the general press lately, the exhaust emissions cited as containing health-damaging pollutants, yet people continue to buy them in their thousands, wooed by the promise of low fuel consumption.

There’s some argument that the reason so many of us drive diesel-powered cars is down to the collective marketing genius of car manufacturers convincing the masses that we’ll hardly ever visit a filling station to use the black pump.

Furthermore, due to diesels’ inherently lower CO2 output, private buyers and company car drivers alike have been encouraged to shun petrol power, even with the soon-to-lapse three percent Benefit in Kind (BIK) surcharge forced upon business users.

While there’s no definitive answer to the question of how many miles you need to drive before diesels make financial sense and you recoup the extra expense buying one, combined with the additional pump price, the fact is many people drive diesels when they don’t need to. Their journeys are so short that the engine’s not even warm by the time they’ve reached their destination, giving little if any fuel efficiency benefit at all. Covering give-or-take 40,000 miles per year, diesel should make more sense for me.

Unlike my previous petrol-sipping Peugeot 308 hatch with its 1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine, the 308 SW estate I’m custodian of weighs in with the 2.0-litre BlueHDi motor with 148bhp at my right foot’s disposal.

This means the hatchback’s 40.2mpg average should be trounced, particularly with the official claim on the newer steed registering at 70.6mpg – surely an average in the low-50mpgs with the BlueHDi SW should be achievable? Unfortunately not and after a couple of thousand miles of predominantly dual carriageway and motorway driving, it’s yet to break the 50mpg threshold.

That’s not to say 47.2mpg is a terrible figure but I don’t feel it’s as rewarding as it should be given the official claim. I’ve been paying careful attention to the gear indication display which is designed to exploit fuel efficiency rather than accelerative performance, maximise the opportunities to use stop/start and the majority of the time there’s only me in the car anyway, with my relatively light manbag the sole item carted about in the cavernous 660-litre boot. Tyre pressures are all as they should be too.

The only fuel-saving measure I’ve not (yet) made, save for reducing my personal mass, is to turn off the air-con and see if that makes a positive difference – I’ll report back on that in a future update.

On the flipside, it’s the official fuel consumption claim rather than the achieved figure that governs CO2 readings, with the BlueHDi 150 unit in the 308 SW producing just 105g/km – impressive for a car/engine combination of this size.

Private motorists will be looking at an annual VED car tax bill of just £20 at 2014/15 rates, whereas a company car driver at the 20 percent rate will pay £68 per month thanks to the Peugeot’s 17 percent BIK rate, allowing you keep more of your hard-earned salary parked in your bank account.

In what’s probably the most contrived segue-way ever, that leads me on nicely to talk about the 308 SW’s parallel parking and pulling-out function I mentioned a couple of reports ago. It works! In fact, it works very well, having spent the best part of half an hour one Saturday where it steadfastly refused to not comply with demands made of it. Local residents thought I was losing the plot though.

Next time out I’ll be getting views on the Peugeot from owners of other estate cars – does the 308 SW do things better than their load luggers?

Total mileage: 5,563 miles (started at 2,457)
Average mpg
: 47.2mpg (calculated)