Peugeot 308 SW (2014-2021)

By Jonathan Crouch

Models Covered

5dr SW estate (1.2 petrol / 1.5, 1.6, 2.0 BlueHDi diesel) [Active, Allure, GT-Line, GT, GTi]


The second generation ‘T9’-series Peugeot 308 SW estate is a rarity; a compact estate car that not only looks good but is really practical too. Unlike previous cars in this model line, there’s no seven seat option but otherwise, unless you come in search of cutting-edge dynamics, this model’s hard to fault thanks to a classy interior, a comfortable ride, some excellent efficiency numbers and, most importantly of all, enough space in the boot to embarrass every other rival in the segment.

The History

We’ve always struggled a little with the concept of a ‘small estate car’. After all, most people buy an estate in search of space and versatility, both tough briefs to meet if the model in question is in any way compact. Though not in this case. Not with this car – Peugeot’s second generation ‘T9’-series 308 SW.

Here’s proof positive that it isn’t how big your car is that matters. It’s how cleverly it’s been designed for interior use of the space that it has. This 308 SW measures in at just under 4.6m but offers up to 1660-litres of space. The brand’s larger 508 SW from this period, in contrast, measuring in at around 4.8m, has 1598-litres inside. You can see the point.

Nor is this 308 SW merely able to embarrass its larger stablemate. Its carriage capacity routinely over-shadows that of many other apparently much larger estate models. All of which is at least some compensation for the fact that, rather surprisingly in view of the size advantages we’ve just been talking about, this car lacks the unique selling point that characterised both of its direct predecessors. Namely, the optional provision of a third seating row for potential seven-seat capacity.

The lack of that feature certainly reduced the necessity for the designers to make this car so boxy when it came to styling this second generation ‘T9’ model. Most estate buyers these days seem to be looking for swoopier, more stylish shapes, a demand this Peugeot was better set to meet. It promises to satisfy on other levels too, primarily in offering one of the segment’s most efficient range of engines, including a potent 180hpp 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel unit for the top GT variant.

The range was facelifted in 2017, at which point the initial entry-level diesel, a 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit, was replaced by a more efficient 130hp 1.5-litre BlueHDi engine. A further mild facelift was added in July 2020, which included the installation of Peugeot’s more advanced digital i-Cockpit interior layout. The replacement third generation 308 SW model was launched in mid-2021.

What You Get

Lift the (rather heavy) plastic tailgate and the wide aperture reveals the largest loading bay in the class, the 660-litre cargo bay 30-40% bigger than that offered by some direct competitors. Smaller items meanwhile, can be secured by an elastic strap on the left hand side trim and just above that, you’ll find one of the levers for the clever ‘Magic Flat’ seat-folding system. The ‘Magic’ bit refers to the way that rear seatbacks don’t just flop on the seat bases as would be the case with some rivals: that would create an upward incline in the flattened cargo area floor. To avoid that in this 308 SW, the seat bases move forward and down slightly as you pull that ‘Magic Flat’ lever. And sure enough, as a result, you do get a remarkably flat total loading bay with a class-leading 1,660-litres of space – or theoretically up to 1,775-litres if you load right up to the roof.

Take a place in one of the very comfortable seats up front in what Peugeot rather pretentiously calls the ‘i-Cockpit’ and four things are immediately apparent: quality, lack of button clutter, the big centre-dash LCD infotainment screen and, most notably, the tiny steering wheel above which (rather than through which) you’re supposed to view the instruments with their finely sculpted red needles.

What To Look For

Generally, most owners of MK2 model 308 SWs we came across were pretty happy but inevitably, there were a few issues we came across. Some owners complained of warning lights flashing on (for the particulate filter and engine management) which will require an ECU update and a forced regeneration. Peugeot recommends that the car is driven for at least once a month for 30 minutes on the highway to keep the particulate filter clear. Another complained of a high pitched whistle from the driver’s window.

On The Road

Initially, there were two base diesel variants, either the base 92bhp 1.6-litre HDi diesel starter model or a 115bhp 1.6 e-HDi diesel. A BlueHDi 1.6-litre diesel unit followed, which was replaced by a more efficient 2130hp 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel at the mid-term facelift in 2017. We should also mention that you can also go ‘BlueHDi’ 308 SW motoring in pokier 2.0-litre 150bhp form, but the on-paper performance advantages are tiny and the running costs are much higher, so unless you really need the extra torque for towing or something, we’d save the money. Top of the diesel range is the sportier 2.0 BlueHDi 180 GT model.

On to petrol power. To be frank, it’s refreshing to find a car in this class that can still offer a truly credible and realistically-priced petrol-engined option these days - but you’ll find one here in the willing, revvy little 1.2-litre PureTech units, these being some of the best petrol powerplants you can buy in this entire segment of the market. The PureTech unit may only offer three cylinders but it punches well above its weight, whether you choose it in 5-speed 110bhp or 6-speed 130bhp guise. For properly serious outright performance though, you’ll need quite a bit more capacity up-front – which you’ll find in the petrol GT model which gets a 1.6-litre THP turbo unit.


This second generation 308 SW was thoroughly developed as a purpose-designed estate car, the properly lengthened wheelbase necessary for that something of a rarity in a segment where this kind of body style is usually nothing more than a different derivative – another box ticked for completion of a model range. Peugeot doesn’t think of estate models in that way, prioritising them and the needs of their buyers. That’s one reason why since the arrival of the company’s 304 model back in 1969, every generation of the brand’s 300 series has included a successful estate version.