Peugeot 308 SW vs compact estate rivals

308 SW header shot
25 Jun, 2014 4:46pm

New Peugeot 308 SW takes on compact estate rivals from Ford and SEAT, as small engines meet big boots

If a hatchback is no longer practical enough for you, a variety of spacious alternatives is available.

While MPVs and crossovers are worth considering, there are plenty of compact estates that deliver similar running costs and driving dynamics to their hatch cousins, but with the bonus of more space. The past 12 months have seen the arrival of a number of new estates, with the Peugeot 308 SW latest to join the ranks.

It’s based on the stylish hatch, so comes with economical petrol and diesel engines, and has the biggest boot in the class, too. But it faces strong rivals here. SEAT’s Leon ST is our class champ, while Ford’s Focus Estate delivers no-nonsense practicality.

Peugeot 308 SW review

SEAT Leon ST review

• Ford Focus estate review

Here we try low-capacity turbo petrol versions of all three, with the 308 SW powered by Peugeot’s new 128bhp 1.2 e-THP three-cylinder. Does it have the power to impress?
And is it practical enough to go to the top of the class?

Read each in-depth review by clicking on the links above, then read on for our verdict.


Boot space

The Peugeot has a 660-litre boot, thanks in part to its more upright rear end. Levers in the boot fold the seatbacks, and the bases drop at the same time to create a flat floor.

A double boot floor is a useful feature that sets the Leon apart, plus it has seat levers in the boot. Yet as in the Focus, the seatbacks don’t sit flat when folded. The Ford has the lowest load lip, but all three tailgates open to a similar height.


You can add plenty of accessories to all three cars, from bike racks and roof boxes to tow bars. The Peugeot has some reasonably priced options, while the SEAT has useful kit such as a folding front seat (£75, below) and a Family Pack (£230), which adds seatback trays and integrated roller blinds.


All three models have stop-start, and the 308 emits the least CO2, at 109g/km. That puts it in road tax band B; the SEAT and Ford are in band C. The 308 and Leon are neck-and-neck for company car costs, due to the latter’s lower P11D price.


1st place: SEAT Leon ST

SEAT Leon ST estate 2014 static

The Leon ST doesn’t have the biggest boot, but useful touches such as the double floor and seat levers, plus some great accessories, make up for it. Add an involving yet comfortable driving experience and quality cabin, and it’s a clear winner.

2nd place: Peugeot 308 SW

Peugeot 308 SW UK static

Outright space is the 308 SW’s main selling point, and there are some practical features, such as the one-touch folding back seats. But while the 1.2 e-THP is a decent performer, it’s let down by the spongy gearbox and soggy chassis.

3rd place: Ford Focus estate

Ford Focus estate 2014 static

If you want a decent workhorse that’s surprisingly fun to drive, the Focus is a good choice. But the boot is small compared to the class leaders, and it doesn’t have any practical extras. The mid-life facelift can’t come soon enough.


SEAT Leon ST 1.2 TSI (105) SE DSG

Peugeot 308 SW 1.2 e-THP (130) Active

Ford Focus Estate 1.0 EcoBoost (125) Zetec

On the road price/total as tested




Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)








Annual tax liability std/higher rate




Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)




Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost




Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service


£16.99p/m (3y/30k)

£570 (3yrs)










4cyl in-line/1,197cc

3cyl in-line/1,199cc

3cyl in-line/999cc

Peak power/revs 

104/4,500 bhp/rpm

128/5,500 bhp/rpm

123/6,000 bhp/rpm

Peak torque/revs 

175/1,400 Nm/rpm

173/1,750 Nm/rpm

170/1,400 Nm/rpm


7-spd auto/fwd

6-spd man/fwd

6spd man/fwd

Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel

50 litres/£95

53 litres/space-saver

55 litres/space saver

Boot capacity (seats up/down)

587/1,470 litres

660/1,775 litres

476/1,502 litres

Kerbweight/payload/towing weight




Turning circle/drag coefficient

10.2 metres

10.8 metres

11.0 metres

Basic warranty (miles)/recovery

3yrs (60k)/2yrs

3yrs (unltd)/1yr

3yrs (60k)/1yr

Service intervals/UK dealers

10k miles (1yr)/128

20k miles (1yr)/300

12.5k miles (1yr)/781

Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.




Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars





11.3/10.3 secs

11.3/10.3 secs

11.7/11.2 secs

30-50mph in 3rd/4th

4.6/6.1 secs

5.0/7.6 secs

6.2/8.2 secs

50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th

9.1/12.5/16.0 secs

10.2/13.4 secs/N/A

11.7/13.9 secs/N/A

Top speed/rpm at 70mph




Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph




Noise outside/idle/30/70mph




Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range

48.9/10.8/476 miles

47.4/10.4/553 miles

40.9/9.0/495 miles

Govt urban/extra-urban/combined




Govt urban/extra-urban/combined




Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket




Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera




Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control




Climate control/leather/heated seats




Met paint/xenons/panoramic glass




Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth




Disqus - noscript

I can't believe you put the Focus below the 308. What have you been drinking?

The Seat blows the other two away with in gear acceleration, jeez

As long as the VW group car is first, AE couldn't care less who gets 2nd or 3rd

Whats the point in an estate with a small boot, Sure the Ibiza ST's is nearly as big as the Focus's.

Where is the Peugeot's 25bhp advantage? I don't believe these AE test figures, that's a significant power advantage. I can't see how it is possible for the Leon to be faster in all in-gear tests. Think they might have muddled the figures up.

Don't believe the figures, the manufacturers measure their boot capacity differently. Having owned a Focus estate, whilst it had faults, the design of the boot was not one of them. Little things like the oversized grab handles to close the boot, low load height and the plastic load lip left unpainted so scratches didn't show up, made it a very easy estate to live with.

The Seat AE tested was a DSG equipped model with 7 speeds, so I suspect gears 1-6 are a little shorter than 1-6 in the manual gearboxes on the other cars. Might also explain the good economy - however the manual 308 has done pretty well, especially compared to the Ford.

308 has extra 140Kg to haul about, so power to weight ratio would even out performance figures, DSG has 7 speeds so lot quicker to accelerate

Thanks. While I'm still surprised, at least it's feasible. That's pretty impressive for the SEAT in that case.

How much VW Group paid AE for this result?

Auto Express 1,376
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links