Tuesday, 8 May 2012 11:58 AM
Don’t want a people carrier and prefer an estate yet need more seats and practicality?
Then the new Peugeot 308 SW (estate) might just be of interest. With its third row of seats it can transport seven people in comfort. And when there aren’t that many passengers the capacious boot will fit most loads. A wise use of space makes for great versatility in a car that could also be considered a bit of a sports utility vehicle, without that extra ride height of course.
Inside you get treated to a panoramic glass roof that pretty much stretches the length of the vehicle. This makes the cabin feel light, airy and spacious – baby daughter Harriett was mesmerised as rain drops pitter-pattered on the roof. If shade from the sun is required then an electric blind cures the problem. Rear passengers get privacy glass and door mounted blinds as well as neat folding trays on the back of the seats.
Comfort and practicality are provided by the leather seats and the driver benefits from theirs being electrically adjustable. The centre armrest is also adjustable, which is appreciated on long journeys as is the foot rest for the driver’s left foot.
You can’t fault the driving position and the responsive 1.6-litre diesel engine is frugal, helped by the smooth and quiet automatic stop / start. I like the traditional handbrake, which I always feel gives the driver much more control than a single switch that so many manufacturers seem to prefer to use these days.
Its six-speed ‘box is decisive if a little clunky and noisy when selecting a gear but then this adds to the car’s character. Cruise control only operates in fourth gear and above, which means you can’t use this function at lower speeds.
Externally the new 308 has received an injection of modernity at its front giving greater impact - compared to the original model. The test car was finished in white and this added to the overall appeal. Wing mirrors reminiscent of droopy dog’s ears, automatically fold when the car is locked.
Parkers, the car experts, say: “The 308 SW may look like an ordinary family estate, but it has a trick up its sleeve that makes it one of a kind - an extra row of seats in the back. While there are plenty of people carriers and 4x4s able to transport seven passengers there are few manufacturers that offer so many seats in a vehicle of this size, so the 308 SW has obvious attractions. As a result it’s a great family car. It’s not exciting to drive but with a well finished cabin and smooth ride, it’s a comfortable and safe choice.”
The 308 SW has quickly become a member of the family, like your favourite pet, and it is certainly a good alternative to a people mover.
Peugeot 308 SW Allure HDi 112
New price range: £16,115 - £22,230