Peugeot adds to new 308 range with sharp-suited wagon

The SW variant of the range will be popular on the continent but a relatively small seller in Ireland

 

Peugeot’s product offensive continues with the roll out of a new generation of its 308 hatchback and SW estate, available in petrol, diesel, hybrid/plug-in hybird and soon in all-electric.

As with the hatch - revealed in March - the styling of the SW is in keeping with the sharper, more muscular lines the brand first showcased on concept cars like the e-Legend, and which has gone on to be seen in the latest 508 saloon and 208 supermini.

Inside the cabin features the latest iteration of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit infotainment control system that incorporates media, communications and driving aid controls. The 308 also features Peugeot’s divisive compact steering wheel, this time with sensors that detect the driver’s grip on the wheel when driving aids are in operation.

Inside the cabin features the latest iteration of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit system
Inside the cabin features the latest iteration of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit system

At its heart is a 10-inch touchscreen that’s corporated into the dash and angled to be closer to hand for the driver. Like other car makers, Peugeot has opted to abandon buttons in favour of on-screen toggle switches, which is a shame for the company had a smart piano-format set of buttons that drew praise for their practicality on models like the 3008 and 5008 crossover.

As yet details of the plug-in hybrid’s electric-only range are still to be finalised, but the target is cose to 60km.

The hybrids versions may well be the biggest seller when the 308 range reaches the Irish market towards the end of the year. The plug-ins will be powered by an 81kW electric motor supported by a 12.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack combined with either a 132kW or 110kW 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine.

As for regular combustion engine versions, there will be a choice of 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines putting out 110 or 130bhp with the latter available with either the 6-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. A 1.5-litre four-cylinder 130bhp diesel in either 6-speed manual or eight-speed automatic is also on offer.

While Peugeot is making much of the 308’s SW estate version, the hatchback version will be the big seller in Ireland
While Peugeot is making much of the 308’s SW estate version, the hatchback version will be the big seller in Ireland

The French are being coy about a full-electric version, but engineers seem to suggest it is possible for this car.

Peugeot has been doing well on the Irish market thanks to a major revamp of its range. It has gone from a new car market share of 2.6 per cent in 2017 to over 5.6 per cent so far this year. It’s currently the seventh most popular brand on the new car market.

However, the French brand’s sales here are dominated by crossovers like the 3008. So far this year the firm’s trio of crossover SUVs made up 83 per cent of its sales. In contrast the outgoing 308 comprised just over one per cent.

While the hatch launch was a more muted affair, much is being made of the SW estate version across Europe, as for many of the major continental markets, this is the format that sells best.

However, Irish buyers still opt for hatchbacks. Peugeot Ireland estimate 80 per cent of 308 sales will be hatches, but the chances are, even with the more striking looks and plug-in options, crossovers will still get the lion’s share of buyer attention on Peugeot showroom floors.