"Station wagons are slow family cars that old traditional parents use to take their kids to school who get ridiculed by their classmates." If I heard that statement during my teens, I might have agreed. The very first wagon I rode was a Ford Cortina made the same year I was born. It was slow, bouncy, and would rattle like a dad would when his infant wouldn't stop crying.
Today, there's no way in the world I would accept that statement because there is in fact an Audi station wagon that will make a Ferrari 488 owner nervous in a race. Yes, station wagons as I knew them have changed drastically especially in the top end models, and many brands have taken this new recipe and produced their own pieces.
There is one brand that has done this masterfully for the mere mortals like myself, and that is Peugeot with their reasonably priced 308 SW.
Take the great 308 platform, add a D pillar, shoehorn a torquey diesel powerplant and you get a very well planted car with lots of boot space, and more affordable fuel that lasts longer and farther. That is what the 308 SW is all about.
The 308 SW seems to be the perfect type of vehicle for growing families with all that space, and yet easy to manage in our tiny roads we call eskinitas - they are unavoidable at times and can save you much time and fuel.
The ride of this station wagon is sublime - both in front and at the back.
Speaking of fuel, while most sedans in the country have a gasoline diet, the 308 SW sips diesel. Personally, I prefer modern diesel engines due to the lower price per liter (in the Philippines) and the torque that it provides. Most people I've spoken with, to this day, think that Diesel engines are slow and only meant for jeepneys or dump trucks, and they are incredibly wrong. In our day to day life, where one would be either stuck in traffic, going through a flood, or carrying the whole family plus all the women's luggage, diesel is the better choice. I spent a measly average of P2.50 per kilometer!
The ride of this station wagon is sublime - both in front and at the back. I admit that the ride could be better over potholes, but that would mean smaller rims and taller tires to add more cushioning, but I don't like how it would look. And even if it could be better, it is already great! My children doze off five minutes into the drive around the twisties. Over some rough unpaved roads, the 308 SW kept all of us comfortable.
taking hairpins on the mountains was effortless thanks to its small turning radius and steering ratio
So how does it drive? Let me tell you this much - I was enjoying the scenery so much because driving this wagon was effortless. For one, the small 308 steering wheel is something I wished all cars had. Despite the length of this wagon, taking hairpins on the mountains was effortless thanks to its small turning radius and steering ratio. Overtaking long trucks uphill was a bit of a challenge for this 1.6 liter Diesel engine while fully loaded with passengers and bags, but driven solo, there's more than enough torque to pass 3-4 trucks at once.
This station wagon is basically a tame, family-friendly version of the GTi. Yes, it doesn't have a manual box, popping exhaust, or an insane top speed, but boy is it fun to drive! It bothers me that we, at Opus Macchina, love the 308 platform so much, but rarely see them on the road.
Maybe people don't know what these cars are made of. Maybe people think THEY're dull. Allow me tell you this...
that is farthest from the truth.
Ex-Public Highway Racer