Because not all of us have caught the SUV bug, many European brands still have faith the ol' station wagon 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 wagons 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: 2021 Peugeot 308 SW
Being a wagon, it's all about the cargo capacity. It jumps from the hatchback's 412 liters (14.5 cubic feet) to 608 liters (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 liters (57.7 cu ft) and enables the possibility of loading an object longer than 1.85 meters (six feet).
Compared to the previous 308 SW, the next-generation model is now six centimeters (2.36 inches) longer and has been lowered by 20 millimeters (0.8 in). The width of the front and rear axles has been carried over while the windshield has a more sweptback layout to give the wagon 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 gasoline engine produces either 150 hp or 180 hp. It translates to a combined output of 180 and 225 hp, respectively. The battery will have enough juice for around 60 kilometers (37 miles) per WLTP.
A conventional three-cylinder 1.2-liter turbocharged gasoline engine will be offered with 110 and 130 hp, 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-liter diesel with 130 hp and the same gearbox choices. Peugeot has already confirmed an all-electric 308 hatchback, but it's too soon to say whether the wagon will be getting the zero-emissions treatment as well.
While the hatchback is gradually entering more Euro markets as we speak, the wagon won't arrive until the beginning of 2022. Much like the hatch, it'll be assembled at Stellantis' Mulhouse factory. In the near future, Opel will unveil its mechanically related next-gen Astra in both body styles.