Peugeot 308 SW: Estated Opinions

  • Our long-term 308 SW pored over by estate drivers
  • Peugeot’s boot space and flexibility impress all
  • Infotainment touchscreen divides opinion

Spaciousness is the be-all and end-all with estate cars isn’t it? Rightly so, Peugeot’s proud of its 308 SW’s roominess: seats up and loaded to the window line, it’s got the biggest boot in its class at a capacious 660 litres.

Considering in this segment it outranks Skoda’s voluminous Octavia estate (610 litres) and Honda’s slinky Civic Tourer (624 litres), it’s quite a packaging achievement.

Rear seats folded the Peugeot drops to third place at 1,660 litres. Although it hardly disgraces itself against the Honda (1,668 litres), the Skoda in ‘two-seater van mode’ is significantly larger at 1,740 litres.

On paper these numbers look impressive but people use their estates in different ways, carrying a variety of loads in different shapes, sizes and weights.

To get a better handle on how the 308 SW performs, I asked some station wagon-driving friends to have a prod and poke around the Peugeot to see how it shapes up.

Sam Baker, IT Technician

Skoda Octavia estate (55-plate), 580-1,655 litres of boot space

“I have to admit I’m surprised at the amount of space in the boot, because from the outside it doesn’t look as if it’d be anywhere near as roomy as my Octavia.

“It’s well thought out too: I can see how the adjustable lashing points would be more useful than mine, located in the four boot corners, and being able to drop the rear seats from inside the boot is handy too. It’s thoughtful there’s a dedicated storage area under the boot floor when you don’t want to use the luggage cover and I like how you can see the rear bumper in the reversing camera image.

“As a car to buy, I wouldn’t part with the cash. While the small wheel’s nice to hold, I don’t like the driving position where you look over it to see the dials and there’s so little space for odds and ends around the interior too – the storage bins that are there feel too small to be much use.

My biggest problem with the interior’s that touchscreen, though. I’m not sure it’s an advance to have so many controls on there, particularly the heating ones. It just feels clunky to use.”

Gary Jones, Teacher

Volkswagen Passat estate (13-plate), 603-1,731 litres of boot space

“Now this I really like. There’s loads of space inside it despite it being quite a bit shorter than my Passat.

“Those sliding tie-down points in the boot are great and although the rear of the roof isn’t as upright as my VW, it’s good how the boot opening is wide all the way up. It’s useful not having to flip the seat bases upwards when you do want to fold the seats too. Clever stuff.

“It feels really high quality too inside, well-built and loaded with technology that I’d use. It’s got a clean, minimalist look about it and there’s a good amount of space for passengers too, considering the overall size of the car. The glass roof lets in loads of light too which helps it feel even roomier.

“I’m struggling to find anything I don’t like to be honest – I suppose the top of the front seats feel a bit narrow for my frame and I’m not sure I really see the point of being able to upload photos to the dashboard, but overall I like it a lot.”

Mark Stow, University Careers & Employability Advisor

Toyota Avensis Tourer (11-plate), 543-1,609 litres of boot space

“Wow, it’s roomy isn’t it? That’s really surprising because it’s quite a bit smaller than my Avensis.

“My Toyota’s got sliding attachment rails like that but it doesn’t have those quick-release levers for the back seats – that’s really useful. And the darkened privacy glass on the rear windows is good too; it saves trying to get those retractable blinds to stick to the glass for the kids.

“It’s really comfy front and back too and I can see how having the parking sensors and the camera at the back would give someone more confidence driving a car of this size. The glass roof’s great too – I’d have one of those when I’m next buying a car.

“It looks modern and minimalist inside, but while I see what they’ve tried to do with the touchscreen there’s too much going on. I’d rather have physical buttons and knobs, especially for the heating controls.

“Although the boot’s bigger overall than the Avensis’, it’s not as wide, so when you’re fitting in a baby buggy and all your shopping, the two wouldn’t sit side by side in this.

“It’s spacious, well-built, feels nice but that touchscreen and concerns about Peugeot’s reliability record would stop me from buying one.”

Nathan Willey, Academy Caretaker

Vauxhall Astra estate (52-plate), 480-1,500 litres of boot space

“Aaah! That boot’s a great size and the loading lip’s low too, so the dogs wouldn’t have a problem jumping in there.

“Folding the rear seats down’s really easy too with these levers in the sides of the boot and they fold flat without having to move the base of the seats, or remove the headrests.

“It’s also really handy being able to keep the boot cover in the car, rather than leaving it somewhere in the house – it’s with you when you need it again.

“I like the minimalist look of the dashboard although there’re still quite a few buttons in here when you look carefully. The seats are really comfy too.

“While I like the style of the car, it doesn’t really come across as an estate you’d use as a workhorse; the roofline at the back slopes away much more than my Astra, so I’d struggle to move the two-seater sofa I got in that last week.

“Knowing how frequently people replace their phones I wonder how long it’ll be before the touchscreen’s out of date.

“Overall, I like it but I’m not sure I’d want one with so much technology on board.”

Gary Yorke-Robinson, Marketing Manager

Toyota Verso (58-plate), 397-1,563 litres of boot space

“It’s certainly bigger in the boot than it looks like from the outside – hard to believe it’s only a little bit smaller than my Verso in five-seat mode.

“It feels good though and everything’s simple to use, especially the handles for folding down the seats.

“Up front it’s got an ergonomic, minimalist look and the touchscreen’s really simple to navigate and understand. I like that.

“The seats are very comfortable too and the whole interior feels spacious because of the glazed roof. It’s quite luxurious in here.

“I drive around 30,000 miles a year so I’d need something economical like this. If it’s getting close to 50mpg, that would be fine.

“There’s a distinct lack of oddment space inside though – that single front cup holder seems like an afterthought and it’s not particularly deep either. Storage for other bits and pieces isn’t brilliant either. While the front armrest is useful, it feels cumbersome to adjust.

“I like the styling of the Peugeot, it’s a good-looking car – I think I’d still want the additional flexibility of seven seats, though.”

Clearly the Peugeot’s overall space, slick seat-folding arrangement and TARDIS-esque ability to hold more than its exterior dimensions suggest it will, impressed the estate-driving quintet but there were mixed feelings about the infotainment touchscreen and whether Peugeot had question marks over reliability.

As I’ve reported previously, I’m happy with the general functionality of the touchscreen and the 308 SW’s proving to be wholly reliable, with not even the merest hint of an annoying squeak or rattle.

Total mileage: 6,932 miles (started at 2,457)
Average mpg
: 47.6mpg