The Peugeot 308 SW’s upmarket push brings in plug-in hybrid tech – and higher prices
4.0 out of 5
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The 308 SW’s premium interior is its stand-out feature and there’s potential for the Peugeot to steal sales from the likes of BMW and Audi. Practicality in this hybrid estate is near the top of its class, and while the 308’s powertrain isn’t as accomplished as some rivals’, it’s nicely refined. However, the driving position is frustrating and we can’t help but feel the Hybrid 180 in mid-spec trim represents better value.
The recent facelift of Peugeot’s family favourite, the 308, ushered in hybrid power for the first time, but the inclusion of this tech also means that the car is more expensive. Here we’re testing the new Hybrid 225 in GT Premium SW estate guise.
This body, engine and trim combo is the most expensive 308 you can buy, and while the family hatchback-based hybrid estate segment might sound niche, the 308 SW has plenty of rivals. Plug-in hybrid versions of the SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia estate models remain strong contenders, and from within the Stellantis group (Peugeot’s parent) there’s the new Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer PHEV.
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The new 308’s interior feels as upmarket as any of its competitors’ and seems on par with premium rivals, such as the Audi A3.This top-spec car features lots of Alcantara around the cabin, but the ‘Renze’ fabric of the cheaper models is perfectly adequate.
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GT Premium is well equipped, with electronically adjustable, heated and massaging seats. You also get wireless phone charging, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and auto-dipping wing mirrors – which, given the extra length of the estate, come in handy. There’s also a 360-degree camera with park assistance, as well as a powered tailgate with a foot sensor.
It’s not lacking in driving aids or safety features either, with the ‘Drive Assist Pack’ as standard, adding adaptive cruise control, lane-positioning assist, long-range blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. Helpful tech like speed- limit recognition and AEB is also included.
Peugeot’s i-Cockpit layout makes the 308 feel different to its rivals. The buttons are all angled towards the driver, while the 10-inch screen is clear and responsive; the new i-Toggle set-up underneath makes it easy to switch between menus on the move.
There’s another 10-inch screen behind and above the steering wheel, and although it’s configurable with different readouts, the shrunken steering wheel (another part of the i-Cockpit design) blocks most of it.
To drive, the SW feels virtually identical to the hatchback. It scores highly for comfort, and even on the larger 18-inch wheels, the 308 SW’s suspension remains composed over rough roads and speed bumps.
This 222bhp Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine mated to an electric motor and will sprint from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds – only 0.1 seconds faster than the 178bhp Hybrid.
Acceleration is good, but the eight-speed automatic gearbox is sluggish, while the electric motor could engage more quickly; the 308 never feels quite as potent as hoped. However, its quiet nature is a positive, and it can be driven on electric power for 37 miles in Electric mode.
Sport and Hybrid are the other two settings, and aside from Sport’s slightly heavier steering and quicker gearchanges, there’s precious little difference between them. The steering itself doesn’t give much feedback, but it’s quick enough and the comfy suspension is still communicative.
Peugeot claims the 308 SW Hybrid 225 returns an average combined 240mpg. But it’s important to take this figure with a pinch of salt – and keep the battery topped up.
The rear seats have plenty of leg and headroom and the spaciousness continues in the boot. Like most of its rivals, the 308 Hybrid sacrifices some boot capacity due to the battery, but the 548-litre space still beats an Octavia iV estate’s 490 litres.
However, at £40,670 for this top-spec 308 SW Hybrid 225 GT Premium, it’s a pricey car. We can’t help feel the Hybrid 180 is the better option if you’re dead set on buying a plug-in hybrid.
|Model:||Peugeot 308 SW Hybrid 225 GT Premium|
|Engine:||1.6-litre 4cyl petrol PHEV|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive|
|Electric range:||37 miles|
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