£15,000 - £20,000 - Peugeot 308 SW 1.2 e-THP 130 Active
Another category contested by only three cars, but there was a clear winner in our £15,000-£20,000 class
Another category contested by only three cars, but there was a clear winner in our £15,000-£20,000 class: the hugely capable Peugeot 308 SW PureTech 1.2 e-THP.
As a practical towcar it has a lot going for it. The estate benefits from the same elegant styling as its hatch brother, while its cabin is big enough for most growing families. The boot is huge, and its 660 litres of space can be expanded to a healthy 1,660 litres by folding the seats. Plus, Peugeot claims the 1.2 e-THP returns 60.1mpg economy and emits 109g/km of CO2. Kit includes a 9.7-inch multifunction touchscreen, sat-nav, USB, dual-zone air-con and rear parking sensors.
But it was the 308 SW’s confidence-inspiring towing ability that swung the judges’ decision. Hitched to a Bailey Pursuit 400-2, it demonstrated just how versatile the new 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is. It has plenty of power when you need it – an impressive 128bhp and 230Nm of torque to be precise – and it proved more than adequate when hauling the caravan round the high-speed bowl. Acceleration was surprisingly sprightly, as it cruised to 70mph with ease. The SW’s stability and composure on the road were unwavering – even at high speeds it felt remarkably settled.
However, the six-speed box lets the side down; it has a vague, spongy shift, and we had to work it hard to keep the little engine happy on the hill route. The soft ride is probably better suited to motorway cruising than this test’s twisty roads, too. Still, the SW coped well with hill starts, and the standard electric parking brake ensured it pulled the caravan off the line without fuss.
While some people may find it hard to achieve a perfect driving position given the limited adjustment on offer, the seats are comfortable and the 308’s cabin has a light and airy feel.