Car group tests

Peugeot 308 SW vs compact estate rivals

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

308 SW header shot

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.

Head-to-head

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.

Accessories

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.

Emissions

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.

Verdict

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

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.

Figures

 

 

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

 

£19,045/£22,295

 

£19,045/£22,095

 

£19,195/£19,195

 

Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)

 

£8,094/42.5%

 

£7,142/37.5%

 

£7,544/39.3%

 

Depreciation

 

£10,951

 

£11,903

 

£11,651

 

Annual tax liability std/higher rate

 

£608/£1,215

 

£532/£1,063

 

£612/£1,225

 

Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)

 

£1,452/£2,421

 

£1,498/£2,497

 

£1,737/£2,894

 

Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost

 

13/£295/C/£30

 

14/£275/B/£20

 

14/£281/C/£30

 

Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service

 

£169/£199/£169

 

£16.99p/m (3y/30k)

 

£570 (3yrs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Length/wheelbase

 

4,535/2,636mm

 

4,585/2,730mm

 

4,556/2,648mm

 

Height/width

 

1,459/1,816mm

 

1,472/1,863mm

 

1,505/1,858mm

 

Engine

 

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

 

Transmission 

 

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

 

1,280/526/1,300kg

 

1,420/420/1,200kg

 

1,316/584/1,200kg

 

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.

 

24th/31st^

 

14th/26th

 

25th/29th

 

Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars

 

94/92/70/5

 

92/79/64/5

 

92/82/72/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0-60/30-70mph

 

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

 

119mph/2,350rpm

 

127mph/2,300rpm

 

120mph/2,500rpm

 

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

 

62.8/46.0/11.9m

 

57.9/42.4/11.9m

 

64.6/47.7/11.1m

 

Noise outside/idle/30/70mph

 

59/43/60/64dB

 

65/41/62/67dB

 

65/41/62/67dB

 

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

 

49.6/62.8/57.6mpg

 

47.9/70.6/60.1mpg

 

44.1/64.2/55.4mpg

 

Govt urban/extra-urban/combined

 

10.9/11.6/12.7mpl

 

10.5/15.5/13.2mpl

 

9.7/14.1/12.2mpl

 

Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket

 

133/115g/km/16%

 

138/109g/km/14%

 

160/117g/km/16%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera

 

Seven/yes/£265/no

 

Six/yes/rear/no

 

Six/yes/£225/no

 

Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control

 

Yes/yes/yes

 

£1,000/yes/yes

 

No/yes/£250

 

Climate control/leather/heated seats

 

£350/£1,370/£350

 

Yes/no/no

 

No/no/no

 

Met paint/xenons/panoramic glass

 

£495/£995*/£975

 

£525/no/£500

 

£525/no/no

 

Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth

 

£745/yes/£175/yes

 

Yes/yes/yes/yes

 

£750/yes/yes/yes

 

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