Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

The Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120 has certainly created a big impression over here in MotorMartin Towers as it blends style, form and function in an almost perfect package. In part 1 published last week, MotorMartin discussed the gorgeous styling of the Peugeot whilst digging a little deeper into the highlights of the GT Line package for the lucky buyer.

And yet, MotorMartin’s philosophy is for ‘real life’ motoring, not just to admire cars that look good, even if they look as good as this. And so a thorough test is called for, not for the Peugeot a week of travelling across town interspersed with the odd trip further afield as it may have expected to be subjected to. This particular 308 SW GT Line is to cover approximately 1,300 miles taking MotorMartin and company from Bradford, West Yorkshire To the beautiful North Wales island of Anglesey before returning to Bradford the following week. Not only does the Peugeot need to prove itself to be a comfortable, capable cruiser over distance but it needs to swallow luggage for four whilst remaining fun for the driver and deliver impressive power, economy and efficiency. Not too much to ask for then.

Just because your circumstances change as you get older and the life choices that you make dictate that you need to become (slightly) more responsible, no longer means that you can’t still have fun in your daily driver. Just that some features become more important than others as time goes by, MotorMartin’s personal favourite being cruise control, so relaxing. Those with a family need space, it really is that simple. Children and partners demand storage, legroom, comfortable ride quality and, at a push, cup holders. If you can get those elements correct, your passengers will be quieter and there will be far less distractions as you pile on the miles.

Peugeot are rightly proud of the fact that their 308 SW GT Line already features the largest load space in it’s class as the boot area, level with the retractable parcel shelf, boasts up to 660 litres which can be extended to an impressive 1775 litres with the rear seats folded flat and fully loaded up to the roof. It’s also well worth noting that decisions made during the initial design process means that the Peugeot also includes one of the lowest boot sills in the class with an unladen height of 61cm. Bearing these facts in mind and in the world of ‘real life’ motoring, what does all this equate to in practical terms? With MotorMartin packing enough luggage for four, for a week way on Anglesey, packing that included clothing, shoes and coats to cover all potential weather situations, I’m impressed that the 308 SW swallowed it all with room to spare. With two body boards added the retractable parcel shelf still closed easily, concealing the treasures within, whilst the boot didn’t even need any ‘persuasion’ to fully close. Top marks then to Peugeot I think.

The cabin of the 308 SW GT Line is a fantastic place to be, with the MotorMartin Clan safely ensconced within the Peugeot, it’s time to enjoy the ambience of the interior. The front seats are sporty, yet very supportive and it’s quick and easy to find a comfortable driving position. One of the unique features that you notice straight away is the position of the dials and driver information panel. Usually you’d find yourself looking through the steering wheel to glean the relevant information needed as you drive but in the 308, the dials are positioned higher than normal and directly in your eyeline. This becomes very natural to use, very quickly and after a while, makes you wonder why this isn’t the norm as it really makes a difference, allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road far more.

With the GT Line arriving at MotorMartin Towers, sporting Peugeot’s excellent 6-speed Efficient Automatic Transmission gearbox married to their sporty BlueHDi 120 Diesel engine you just know that this is going to offer a superb mix of comfortable cruising combined with that historic sporting character that Peugeot’s historic GTi models had in abundance. And you know what? It doesn’t disappoint. On the drive from Bradford to North Wales the Peugeot is remarkably quiet, relaxed and composed whilst offering a comfortable ride quality that means both driver and passengers are well catered for. 

After 4 hours and approximately 150 miles, the incredible Menai bridge comes into view, signalling that Anglesey’s quiet, yet twisting roads are nearby. If you’ve never been to North Wales before and driven on the Roads of Snowdonia and Anglesey then you are missing out on one of modern motorings few remaining visceral experiences and the Peugeot 308 SW GT Line is, perhaps, the perfect companion. 

What this car gives you, in MotorMartin’s opinion, is the unlikely ability to be two cars in one. On the one hand, the Peugeot is capable of being the mature, practical family car that you know will be the sensible choice but, at the press of the Sport button, the 308 becomes a bit of a beast. It’s like having your head on one side and your heart on another. The head admires the mile and luggage eating abilities whilst the heart is indulged with pin sharp steering, handling and growling nature. That Sport button really makes a difference. On Anglesey’s twisting roads, it’s entirely possible to travel for ten or twelve miles without coming across another vehicle and whilst keeping to the speed limit, it’s still entirely possible to push the GT Line and exploit that sporting lineage that harks right back to Peugeots of old.

And yet this is a car that offers the incredible City Park function that allows the car to, once told, sense a large enough space to park in and then parallel or reverse park itself! Yes, you do need to put the car into reverse or drive as told to do so on the excellent 9.7″ colour  touch screen and gently press the throttle, and the car then steers itself into the required parking space. MotorMartin was initially sceptical of the Peugeot’s ability to park itself but it works. It might be totally alien to watch the steering wheel turning on its own but goodness me, you soon find yourself searching out parking opportunities above and beyond the norm so you can demonstrate to your passengers this modern day witchcraft. Amazing.

To sum up the Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120 in a few words is nigh on impossible. After all, this is a car that allows the driver to do everything that the modern family needs and do it well whilst still allowing, with the touch of a button, to indulge and engage with the GT Line’s sporting side. To do all of this whilst still being able to offer superior load space, technology, specifications, power and feel is really impressive and is to be applauded.

MotorMartin is deeply impressed with the 308 SW GT Line. I want one. £24,000 ish as tested, a claimed combined mpg of 72.4 with CO2 emissions of 102 g/km make for a practical ‘real life’ motoring experience that also offers excellent value for money. What more do you need? 

Where will you go?

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