We were underwhelmed by the Peugeot 308 hatchback we drove in last year’s tests, but the 308 SW is a big improvement.
The estate model is more stable at speed than the hatch, and data from the Al-Ko ATC system shows very little movement from the caravan when slowing down from high speeds. Only when the wind picked up did the 308 feel a little less secure. In the emergency lane-change test the Peugeot showed great composure. Only on the third and fastest run did the caravan slide much, and the 308 SW had no trouble pulling it straight again.
It coped well with the hill-start test, helped by the electronic parking brake which held car and caravan still and released smoothly once we were ready to pull away. The strong engine and automatic gearbox made it easy to tow to the top of the 1-in-6 gradient. And it’s not just the hill start that underlines the strength of the 2.0-litre diesel engine. With 273lb ft of torque to call upon, the Peugeot accelerated from 30-60mph in just 13.6 seconds.
The Peugeot is a practical tow car as well as a quick one. We found room for a full load of holiday luggage in the boot. However, there’s not as much space for rear-seat passengers as you’ll find in the Skoda Octavia Scout, for example.
Running costs should be affordable, with an official combined economy figure of 67.2mpg. That’s very impressive for an automatic. Just remember to ask for a discount, as What Car?’s Target Price research suggests big discounts are available.