The powertrain line-up is extensive and ranges from a pair of three-cylinder turbocharged 1.2-litre Puretech petrols of 109bhp and 128bhp to diesels of 1.6 and 2.0-litres that run from 91bhp to 178bhp. These are BlueHDi engines, which feature an advanced exhaust cleansing system that uses an Adblue additive in combination with a diesel particulate filter to further reduce NoX emissions and capture 99.9 per cent of particulates.
Like the 308 hatch, this is a car that’s up to 140kg lighter than its predecessor – a lightweight thermoplastic tailgate is a feature of the SW – and it also benefits from a centre of gravity that’s 20mm lower than before thanks to the relocation of the drivetrains and a lower roof.
You can fractionally undo that advantage by specifying an impressively large panoramic glass sunroof, incidentally.
That aside, the combination of lower weight and more economical engines allows the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 to achieve a combined 91.1mpg and emissions of 85g/km – the lowest in the segment, although you’re unlikely to see 90mpg in reality of course. It’s the more powerful diesel that we sample here, however, the 148bhp 2.0-litre BlueHDi achieving a still-impressive 70.6mpg and emissions of 105g/km with a six-speed manual transmission.
When the optional panoramic sunroof is fitted, this is a car that feels almost spectacularly airy, especially if you sit in the rear. It feels bigger still if you fell the rear seats, the load bay doing a good job of emulating a van.
The extra length in the floor is good news for back-benchers, who will enjoy more kneeroom than they would in the slightly confined hatchback and a loftier seating position than they’ll experience in a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf estate, which is good news for kids craning for a view.
Peugeot’s new turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine is offered in two guises - 109bhp or 128bhp versions. Like Ford’s smaller EcoBoost unit, the latter variant is a fine advertisement for downsizing - being smooth and torquey enough to pull a 25mph/1000rpm sixth gear with ease and suffering almost no turbo lag. It also emits 114g/km of CO2 in this SW.
In higher-spec 308s, a Sport button sharpens the throttle and firms the steering. With the triple, it also adds a layer of noise to the deep, distinctive three-cylinder thrum – a discordant gruffness that ruins the soundtrack completely. It’s a daft addition and should be deleted forthwith.
The 2.0-litre turbodiesel is good for a stout 148bhp and 277lb ft of torque, although its arrival at a slightly higher than average 2000rpm is betrayed by a standing start take-off that’s a little less effortless than you might expect.
However, committed sinkings of the accelerator soon produce pleasingly brisk progress, and the thought that this Peugeot’s performance will be no embarrassment when fully laden. It’s at its best at speed, in fact, when its effortless demeanour is likely to make light work of family missions to a distant holiday destination. There is a 178bhp diesel which provides more than brisk progress when pushed and is the reserve of the range-topping GT trim.
Speed also smoothes out a ride that occasionally feels a little lumpy over broken surfaces and quietens an engine that, while never vocal, is not quite as subdued as the best 2.0-litre oil-burners out there. That said, the general refinement of this car is pretty good, as is comfort.