Peugeot 308SW 2008 Review

Peugeot 308SW 2008 Review


More than once my Scandinavian heritage has let me down in the face of the harsh solar rays. It’s meant that my days driving convertibles have been limited to the winter months. But the Peugeot 308SW gives you the feeling of driving in a convertible without the hassles of bad hair, pollution-caked lungs or melanomas. How does it achieve such magic? With the aid of a full-length panoramic glass roof and retractable blind.

And that’s not the only sorcery this practical Peugeot conjures up. It’s one of the quietest diesels I’ve driven in a sub-$100,000 car. No clattery horridness, no tickety- tickety- tickety at the lights. Even the exhaust smells quite clean due to Peugeot’s use of a FAP (particulate filter).

A friend of a friend used to work for David Copperfield doing rigging and work on set for his magic shows. Copperfield is famous for making things disappear (like the Statue of Liberty), and the Peugeot is good at making the kilometres disappear quickly. Too quickly sometimes. The engine is smooth and torquey, and the gearing quite low, and I found on many occasions I’d be inadvertently doing almost 70kph in a 50kph zone (you didn’t hear that, officer). That has to be taken with the caveat that the previous week I’d had a Ford XR8 which has significantly more engine noise, and that I avoided using Peugeot’s very intuitive speed limiter (more about this later).

The two-litre HDi turbo diesel engine’s 340Nm of torque (in sport mode on overboost) and six-speed Tiptronic transmission give it an urge in excess of what you’d expect from just 100kW. But that’s likely what makes it so efficient, recording 7.1l/100km on the combined cycle — not bad for a car that weighs the best part of 1700kg. Peugeot’s environmental leanings also result in Euro 4 emissions compliance, and 99% of this car is recyclable.

There’s an optional third row of modular seats. All the second and third row seats can be removed completely from the car leaving a large cargo space. So, it’s a people mover and small van in one.

Two rear-seat passengers have the luxury of pop-up trays, and the seats in the back slide forwards and backwards and recline.

Seven airbags (driver, passenger, front-side, front to rear curtain and knee airbags), a five-star Euro NCAP rating, ABS, ESP and other electronic assistants will kick in if the brakes (which are very keen on our test model), don’t haul you up in time.

Peugeot’s driving position is much better of late. The seats are firm and supportive. Classic-style white-faced dials sit astride an orange LCD which gives trip computer and cruise control/speed limiter readouts. The cruise control/speed limiter is very intuitive, allowing the driver to set a specific speed quickly using a stubby wand on the steering column. The speed limiter is great for the motorway, but impractical around town where I found I really needed it to curb my inadvertent lead foot.

The front seats have storage bins underneath them, which goes a little way to making up for the small central binnacle and almost non-existent glovebox. Door pockets are big enough to take a 750ml bottle, and there are two cup holders centrally mounted in front of the gearstick. A few other small receptacles are dotted around, but the 308SW really needs some kind of bigger cubby hole to make it more practical for longer trips.

While the engine is quiet at idle, it certainly lets you know it’s there when you need it to perform, sounding a little harsh (as four-cylinder diesels often do) when under heavy load. You can drown that out with the six-speaker, MP3-compatible stereo. It’s not the best stereo in the world, but is perfectly adequate.

Considering the large glass roof, noise from the road and engine is very low at cruising speeds. With excellent visibility and the large amount of ambient light entering the cabin, the 308SW is magic in the late winter sunshine — a stylish, practical and economical family wagon with a few tricks up its sleeve.

Click through to the next page to read full specs on the Peugeot 308SW

Price: from $45,190 base model (our test car had the optional third row of seats)

What we like

  • Save on suntan lotion — it’s spacious and airy in the cabin, without being a convertible
  • Smooth, quiet and effortless cruising
  • Practical load space

What we don’t like

  • You might need that speed limiter until you get used to it
  • Styling at the rear doesn’t quite work for me
  • Other than the gigantic boot, interior storage options are scant

Peugeot 308SW Specifications


High-pressure Direct Injection turbo diesel, 16 valve

Cubic capacity (cc) 1997

Max Power kW @ rpm 100 kW @ 4000 rpm

Max Torque (Nm @ rpm) (overboost) 320 Nm (340) @ 2000 rpm


Alloy wheels 215/55R 16

Spare tyre full size


Ventilated front discs with sliding calipers 286 x 26mm

Rear solid discs 249 x 9mm


Front Inverted Pseudo McPherson strut with

linked anti-roll bar

Rear Rear torsion beam, two suspension arms

and an integral anti-roll bar


Length (mm) 4500

Width (mm) (excl wing mirrors) 1815

Height (mm) 1555


Kerb weight (kg) 1675

Braked trailer towing weight (kg) 1650

Unbraked trailer towing weight (kg) 750

Fuel tank (l) 60


Combined l/100km 7.1

Emission Control EURO 4

Emission of CO2 by weight 187g

European End-of-Life Vehicles Directive Recyclability 99%

Combined active carbon / pollen fi lter


Remote central locking

Rolling code transponder immobiliser

Visible VIN number

Security coded in-car entertainment

Auto lock doors/boot over 10km/h

Dark tinted tailgate screen


LCD display of digital odom & trip

Dial Background colour – White

Multi function display screen

Warning light display

On-board Computer

Distance to next service indicator


17″ alloy wheels

Electrochrome mirror/exterior folding mirrors


17″ alloy wheels

Factory leather seats


Interior chrome detailing

Electrochrome mirror/exterior folding mirrors




5 star Euro NCAP rating

7 airbags – driver, passenger, front side,

front to rear curtain, knee airbag

ABS (with EBFD & EBA)

ESP (with ASR, CDS-stability)

5 x 3-point seat belts with warning

Pre-Tensioning/force limiting front seatbelts

Force limiting outer rear seatbelts

Height adjustable front seatbelts

Isofi x on front passenger and rear outer seats

Electric rear child door locks

Fuel cut off inertia switch

Wrap around front/rear head restraints

Auto hazard warning lights

Collapsible steering column

Door/boot ajar warning


Cruise control with speed limiter

Rear park aid

Internal operated central door locking

One-touch front electric windows with anti pinch

Electrically operated and heated door mirrors

6 Speaker RD4 Radio / CD player

MP3 Compatible

Steering wheel remote controls

Digital Dual Climate Control airconditioning

Airfl ow vents to row 2

Leather steering wheel

Shopping bag hooks in boot and boot net

12 V plug row 1, 12 V plug boot

Storage drawers under front seats

Panoramic glass roof with electric blind

Front centre storage between seats – sliding

Satin chrome roof rails

60/40 split folding 3 x rear seats

Flip up tables on back of front seats

Toughened side windows

Sunglass holder above driver’s door

Lumbar adjust driver


High level third brake light

Accoustic laminated front windscreen

Auto headlamps

Front and rear fog lights, reverse lights

Rain sensative wipers with auto lights

Intermittent rear wash/wipe

Parking light function

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

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