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Peugeot 308 SW GT

Peugeot has a long, rich history of producing entertaining hot hatches, but all of them have been petrol powered. Now the French firm is hoping that it can garner a reputation for hot diesels, too, and this good looking 308 SW is now available with a GT badge attached. Under the bonnet is a 178bhp 2.0-litre BlueHDi engine paired exclusively to the company's latest six-speed automatic transmission.
It develops 295lb ft of torque, giving this cargo carrying estate car an acceleration time of 8.6 seconds to 62mph. Peugeot enthusiasts will immediately notice that the lion badge has been repositioned to the front grille, and that the GT rides lower than other models in the range. The front indicators that run sequentially is a nice touch and twin exhaust pipes give a purposeful look to the rear, together with a piano black diffuser.
Inside, metal pedals and red stitching for the steering wheel, seats and dashboard give a sportier feel, while dark headlining, a chequered flag background to the instruments and GT sill protectors complete the cabin upgrades. Out on the road, there's decent pace away from rest, with urge in the mid-range particularly impressive.
The automatic transmission is responsive, with decently chosen ratios, and the option of selecting the gears yourself thanks to standard paddles behind the steering wheel. There's a little diesel clatter from cold, but soon quietens to just a backing track once warmed through.
At a steady cruise it's comfortable, with little sound from the engine or tyres, and only a slight fluffing from the wind at motorway speeds. Through the bends, body control is pretty good, with minimal lean and more grip than you would ever need. The 308 becomes more fun the faster you go, with the small steering wheel delivering great agility and plenty of feel, with a go-kart-like atmosphere.
And unlike many sporting editions, the ride comfort is actually pretty good, shrugging off speed humps nicely, and soaking up potholes with maturity. The changes to the interior have been already mentioned, and the fact there isn't a drastic difference is a good thing, as the 308 has one of the nicest interiors in the medium car class.
If we want to be over critical, the centre console below the touchscreen could do with being cast from softer plastics, and we would prefer the ventilation controls to be separate from the infotainment screen.
The relationship between the small steering wheel and raised instruments has caused a stir in some quarters, but we rather like it, finding the position comfortable and multi-adjustable. Up front, there's plenty of leg and headroom, even with the panoramic roof fitted, while in the back, things are a little bit more limited, with taller passengers wishing for more leg, knee and foot room, especially if the front seat is set at its lowest position. Head space is adequate, but only if the roof blind is opened up fully. We've left one of the best attributes of the 308 SW to last, and that's the amount of cargo carrying space there is. With 660 litres available with the seats up and a massive 1,775 litres with the chairs tipped forwards, this Peugeot has the biggest loadbay in the class, bar none.

Price £26,845
Made in Sochaux, France
Configuration 5-door estate, 5-seats, front-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1997cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start and selective catalyst reduction
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Power output 178bhp @ 3,750rpm
Maximum torque 295lb ft @ 2,000rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 135mph/8.6 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 107g/km (B) Euro 6
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 58.8/76.3/68.8mpg
Fuel tank size/range 53 litres/802 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate 29/19%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,585/2,043mm
Boot space (minimum/maximum) 660/1,775 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,425/1,400kg

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