The war to cut CO2 emissions is heating up - and Peugeot is striking the next blow with a new range of ultra-efficient diesel engines badged as ‘BlueHDi’ - like the one in this Peugeot 308 SW BlueHDi.
The 1.6-litre BlueHDi version of the 308 SW returns an astonishing 88.3mpg on the combined cycle, and emits just 85g/km of CO2. That matches the current class leader for CO2, the hybrid Toyota Auris Touring Sports, but the 308 does weigh 165kg less.
That means this 308 SW won’t cost you anything to tax – and makes it ideal for fleet buyers or anyone covering high mileages. However the technology on board is not just aimed at saving fuel, as BlueHDi models also cut dangerous NOx emissions by as much as ninety per cent – meeting the strict Euro 6 standard.
Cars this efficient normally come with a few drawbacks in terms of performance or styling – but that’s not the case with the 308 SW. Even in mid-spec Active trim you get smart 16-inch alloys, and with 300Nm of torque on tap and smooth power delivery throughout the rev range it never feels short of pace, especially in gear.
That should make it an excellent tow car, and the enormous 610-litre boot would make light work of even the largest bags or bulky camping gear. The loading lip is wide and set nice and low to the ground – another advantage it has over an SUV.
It does come with ultra low rolling resistance tyres as standard – which have less grip, and add two seconds to the 0-62mph time - but a sprint of 12.1 seconds is still competitive with rivals like the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion estate and Ford Focus ECOnetic.
The steering is light and a touch over-assisted, but that makes the 308 SW easy to drive, and the new engine is as refined as it is punchy, especially at cruising speed.
Inside, the modern cabin is simple and well designed with some classy materials and our only gripe is with the cheap plastic CD stack and fiddly sat-nav. It comes really well equipped too, and reversing sensors, dual-zone climate control, the big touchscreen sat-nav and an electric handbrake are all standard on Active model.
The only downside is that this version cannot be fitted with the Driver Assistance Pack, which includes adaptive cruise control and an emergency braking system. It cuts the insurance rates for the car, but is only available on Allure trim and up.