Because not all of us have caught the SUV bug, many European brands still have faith the estate has potential among customers. Peugeot is one of them, unveiling today its slinky 308 SW to take on the Volkswagen Group's trifecta: SEAT Leon Sportstourer, Skoda Octavia Combi, and the VW Golf Variant.
The 308 SW is arguably one of the prettiest compact estates on the Old Continent as it largely carries over the hatchback's attractive design while throwing a longer roof into the mix for greater practicality. We could honestly do without the faux exhaust tips, but those are a trend nowadays and we will have to tolerate them for a while.
Gallery: Peugeot 308 SW (2021)
Being an estate, it's all about the cargo capacity. It jumps from the hatchback's 412 litres (14.5 cubic feet) to 608 litres (21.5 cu ft), which even though is not segment-leading, the 308 SW still offers more than you'll probably ever need. Should that not be enough, folding down the standard 40:20:40-split rear bench increases the volume to 1,634 litres (57.7 cu ft) and enables the possibility of loading an object longer than 1.85 metres (six feet).
Compared to the previous 308 SW, the next-generation model is now six centimetres (2.36 inches) longer and has been lowered by 20 millimetres (0.8 in). The width of the front and rear axles has been carried over while the windscreen has a more sweptback layout to give the estate a sleeker look.
Compared to the regular hatchback, the SW has the rear overhang stretched by 21 cm (8.26 in) to create a vast cargo area. Open the hands-free tailgate and you'll find handy features such as a 12V power outlet, two storage nets, bag hooks, and LED lighting.
Aside from the chunkier derrière, it's essentially the same hatchback we discovered several months ago. It boasts matrix LED headlights on the high-end version along with full-LED taillights, 16- to 18-inch wheels, and dual 10-inch screens inside. The avant-garde cabin has been carried over and will allow the 308 SW to stand out among conservatively designed rivals, including the Renault Megane Estate.
Much like the five-door model, its more practical sibling rides on the EMP2 platform and comes with a choice between two plug-in hybrid powertrains. Both PHEVs share an 81-kilowatt electric motor, 12.4-kWh battery pack, and an eight-speed automatic transmission, while a petrol engine produces either 148 bhp or 178 bhp. It translates to a combined output of 178 and 222 bhp, respectively. The battery will have enough juice for around 60 kilometres (37 miles) per WLTP.
A conventional three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine will be offered with 108 and 128 bhp, hooked up to a standard six-speed manual or an optional eight-speed auto in the case of the more powerful configuration. Those who will be doing lots of highway miles will likely opt for the 1.5-litre diesel with 128 bhp and the same gearbox choices. Peugeot has already confirmed an all-electric 308 hatchback, but it's too soon to say whether the estate will be getting the zero-emissions treatment as well.
While the hatchback is gradually entering more Euro markets as we speak, the estate won't arrive until the beginning of 2022. Much like the hatch, it'll be assembled at Stellantis' Mulhouse factory. In the near future, Vauxhall will unveil its mechanically related next-gen Astra in both body styles.