“Wow” is not a word that’s often heard in connection with a Peugeot,
(setting aside the hugely wowable RCZ R) but it kept coming out of my mouth after the 308 SW GT Blue HDi 180 was delivered.
The first Wow was over the sheer size and presence of this handsome car.
To my mind, a 308 Peugeot is a middle-size dumpling in the class of a Golf or a Focus. As it says in the song about that ordinary guy Just My Bill ‘you’d see him on the street and never look at him’. But the 308 SW that swept through my gates was a long, svelte, self-confident creation closer to the dimensions of a BMW 5 Series Touring and equally handsome. The low, etiolated roofline gives this 308 SW a purposeful profile which is accentuated by widened sills and 18” ‘Diamant’ wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres. A swoop of 64 LED lights is housed in the front light array, giving the nose an Audi look which is emphasised by the Peugeot lion badge in the radiator grille rather than on the leading edge of the bonnet, as before. At the rear, a lacquered black diffuser and twin exhaust pipes distinguish this GT version from its sister 308 SW without the fancy letters.
When you lift the tailgate, a loadspace appears that seems to stretch to the horizon. We folded the rear seats and loaded the 308 SW with all the cases and kit and groceries for a family holiday in a rented house, while the bicycles and the dog went in the family bus, our Dacia Duster. The Peugeot simply gobbled up the load
That’s all worth a bit of a wow, isn’t it?
Then there is the interior. Wow barely begins to cover it. With a radical, imperious hand Peugeot have swept away the clutter of bewildering knobs and buttons that now festoon the fascias of most modern cars and have brought a superb modernist clarity to the 308 which is such a relief you could almost weep for gratitude. In the GT version of the 308 SW, you get an array of signature reds and blacks on the touchscreen and the instrument dials which match the red stitching on the leather upholstery and the doormats. These are all the standard nubbins for a car that calls itself GT – along with the aluminium pedals and the stainless steel dabs around the doors – but they are seamed-in here with such restrained style that they feel properly grown-up rather than symptoms of teenage angst and uncertainty.
Then there is the performance. The “Wow” that came out of my mouth the first time I floored the throttle pedal in this car might have turned out to be slightly unwarranted but it did actually happen, all the same. I was misled by the artfully tuned, fruity, raspy growl from the twin tailpipes which made me feel there was more going on than a dispassionate glance at the performance figures would reveal. Acceleration from 0-62 mph in 8.6 seconds isn’t exactly setting the Thames on fire, though – of course – it’s perfectly adequate for a family hatchback/estate. My test car – with four-cylinder 2.0-litre BlueHDi 180 diesel engine – would shift from 50-70 mph in fifth gear in only 5.5 seconds, which comes nearer to justifying all that uproar from the tailpipes.
In theory, it’s also capable of CO2 emissions of 107g/km and overall fuel consumption of 68.8mpg but we all know what treatment to give to figures like that. Anybody going to the loo?
Nearer to the unvarnished truth are the numbers in the pricing. The nominal price for my test car was £26845 but the quite limited list of extras with which it had been fitted brought that figure up to £29550.
Another “wow” might be entirely warranted at this point.
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