New Peugeot 308 SW 2017 facelift review

The Peugeot 308 SW estate has received a mid-life facelift, and we see if the changes have made a difference

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Despite its foibles, we still rate the Peugeot 308 SW as a practical and stylish estate, thanks to its large boot, a classy interior and long kit list. It’s decent to drive, too, and this middling 2.0-litre diesel offers a strong blend of performance and running costs. The facelift is minor, and the excellent turbo petrol models should be considered, but those doing big miles will find the diesel 308 SW is a respectable all-rounder.

We've already driven Peugeot’s updated 308 hatchback in the UK, but this is our first chance to try the more versatile estate model. The question is: has it lost any of its appeal in the face of newer rivals? 

Mechanical changes for the SW are limited, but include a cleaner 1.5-litre diesel and a new eight-speed automatic gearbox for the flagship GT. The aesthetic benefits of this mid-life update are subtle, too, and are limited to a new grille and light combination, enhanced infotainment and a new range of optional driver assistance tech.

Best estate cars on sale

The new safety kit in particular is important, however, as the rather basic adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking system has been upgraded with a more advanced setup that can detect pedestrians and operate at higher speeds.  

Our first taste of the revised 308 SW comes courtesy of the big-selling BlueHDi 150. Despite looking almost identical to the high-spec GT car from the outside, it does without the firmer suspension and new auto box. At just over £25,000, it’s around £3,000 cheaper, too. 

It lacks the outright pace of the 178bhp range-topper, but a healthy 370Nm of torque ensures it still provides strong performance. In-gear pace is good, with a satisfying power reserve for overtaking. Refinement is on par with rivals, too, so long as you avoid straying over 3,000rpm too often.

For those who think the otherwise excellent 1.5-litre diesel just isn’t gutsy enough for their needs, this is a satisfying compromise – and it still claims over 65mpg. Our only gripe as that the long-throw manual gearbox is still rather unpleasant to use.

GT-Line models do without the lowered suspension of GT cars, yet keep the same 18-inch alloy wheels. The lack of mechanical changes means the 308 SW is still grippy and agile enough for a family estate, and while the big wheels are caught out by sharp potholes, the ride is largely up to the comfort standard set by the class best. The Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer continues to strike a finer balance between ride and handling, however.

The 308 remains one of the most practical family estate cars, though, thanks to a huge 660-litre boot. This expands to 1,775 litres with the rear seats folded down – putting it in contention for class honours with regards outright bootspace. It even beats the Skoda Octavia Estate, which manages a 1,740-litre maximum. Rear legroom in the Peugeot could be better, however. 

The interior remains plushly trimmed and is a nice place to sit, and the improved graphics on the 9.7-inch touchscreen are welcome. It’s still not the most responsive unit, though, meaning simple tasks such as adjusting the temperature aren’t as easy as they should be. The driving position still won’t be to all tastes, either. 

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