New Peugeot 308 SW first drive review

Despite the growing sales of SUVs, there is still plenty of interest in conventional estate cars. There has been a rash of new launches recently, and the latest to enter the fray is the Peugeot 308 SW. Based on the existing hatchback, it’s the second version of the 308 family to go on sale, but also the first Peugeot to benefit from the company’s new Puretech petrol engines that will eventually appear across its full range.

With prices starting at £16,845, the SW costs about £1,100 more than the equivalent hatchback, and comes with the same choice of engines and trims. Among its rivals will be the recently launched estate versions of the Seat Leon, Honda Civic, Toyota Auris and Volkswagen Golf, as well as the long-established Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus.

In terms of practicality, at least, the 308 SW is up with the best of them. There’s plenty of space in the front, and the boot capacity of 660 litres (which expands to 1,775 with the rear seats folded down) puts it ahead of its most obvious rivals. Best of all, it could hardly be easier to swap between the two configurations, as the rear seats drop down with the use of just one lever to leave a perfectly flat floor; and, they’re easy to raise back to the upright position again. It’s also neat that the luggage cover can be stowed under the floor when not needed, and that the sill is nice and low, making it easy to load and unload.

The quality inside is impressive, too, and if there are a couple of criticisms, they’re that the dashboard design – with a small steering wheel that you look over to see the dials – takes some getting used to, and space in the rear seats is a little tight if there’s a pair of six-footers in the front seats. However, as long the front seats aren’t pushed the whole way back, there’s enough room for a couple of adults in the back.

We’ve already been impressed by how the 308 hatchback drives, and if anything, the new SW is even better, as the longer wheelbase of the SW gives it a little more composure. It provides a fine blend of ride and handling, with enough firmness to keep the car well balanced and body roll well controlled through the bends, but not so much as to leave the car feeling uncomfortable over poor surfaces. On the contrary, on our test route in France, it was only over the worst bumps that the car felt at all uncomfortable.

Overall, the 308 SW is a good all-rounder, easy to manoeuvre around town, enjoyable once you’re beyond the city limits and composed on the motorway. Our only real criticism is that there’s a little more wind noise from around the windscreen pillars than we’d like at the motorway limit.

One of the car’s most impressive features is the new three-cylinder Puretech petrol engine. Although the 1.2-litre units may sound too small to power a car as big as this, the 128bhp version we tried proved very refined and gave more than acceptable performance. Its average economy of 60.1mpg and CO2 emissions of just 109g/km will keep its running costs down, too, and will doubtless appeal to tax-conscious company car drivers, especially as it is cheaper to buy than the equivalent diesel.

That said, the diesel engines are also very impressive, with the 1.6 BlueHDi good enough to make you question the need for anything more powerful or expensive – especially when it has average economy of more than 85mpg and CO2 emissions of just 85g/km. It has plenty of power for everyday use, and the only real stumbling block is that it costs over £1,000 more than the equivalent car with the 128bhp Puretech engine.

Throw in decent equipment – every model has Bluetooth, DAB radio, air-con and cruise control, with all but the base Access also having alloys, a colour touch-screen, sat-nav and an electric handbrake – and prices that compare very favourably with even the latest rivals’, and the 308 SW looks as attractive a buy as it is a practical one.

All the new launches recently mean buyers looking for a compact estate car have never had it so good; and, if you are in the market, the 308 SW could just be the pick of the bunch.

Car Repair Loan

A car repair loan can help cover the cost of fixing a vehicle after an accident or breakdown. Since repairs are expensive, people often do not have enough liquid cash to have their vehicles fixed immediately. Because of this, a car repair loan is important for drivers who cannot afford to be without a car and do not have the money to pay for repairs in the short term. A repair loan is also useful in emergency repair situations or when asking family or friends for a loan is not an option.

What is a car repair loan?

Car repair loans are similar to any other loan, except the money goes toward auto repairs or the driver’s insurance deductible for accident repairs. Many people think that they will never need a car repair loan, but according to Lending Tree, newer cars with added features often cost more to repair. If a car has numerous airbags, advanced technology, imported parts or aftermarket add-ons, the repair costs can run in the thousands of dollars. Also, depending on the make of the car, what may seem like a simple repair can actually end up being quite complicated.

Car repair loans are best for extremely expensive repairs. A loan company will pay for the repairs and then bill the driver in affordable monthly installments. If using the money for an insurance deductible, the loan company will give the driver the money to use toward both the deductible and any needed repairs. If borrowers have money left over from the loan, they can use it to repay the loan or to pay for other (not necessarily related) expenses.

Types of Car Repair Loans

The two main types of car repair loans are loans issued through a bank or lending company and title loans, which are often issued through a pawnshop or “quickie” loan company. Standard loans through traditional financial institutions involve an application process and a credit check. Loan approval usually requires the borrower to have good credit. Some repair shops also work with financial institutions to supply repair loans to customers.

A title loan is borrowed against the title of the vehicle. Many lenders will offer a “no credit” or “bad credit” option for loans based on the value of the vehicle. Services like EZ Repair Loan allow car owners to call from the dealership to request loan approval. After receiving the proper paperwork and invoice for the repairs, the company either approves or denies the loan. Loan amount and payments are calculated according to the value of the vehicle, and there is no need for credit cards.

While title loans are preferable for people with little credit or bad credit, borrowers run the risk of losing the vehicle on unpaid loans. Should the borrower default on payments, the lender will take possession of the vehicle as repayment of the debt. Also, since there is greater risk involved with a title loan, interest rates are usually higher than rates offered by banking institutions, sometimes climbing into triple digits. When researching lenders, it is important for borrowers to understand the loan’s conditions, interest rate and repayment terms before agreeing to take the money.
Benefits of a Car Repair Loan

The main benefit of a car repair loan is being able to pay for highly priced repairs without needing to come up with a single lump-sum payment. The same is also true for high insurance deductibles that must be paid before insurance coverage takes effect.

Other benefits include:

  • Being able to improve the car with optional procedures, such as a new paint job or a detailed cleaning
  • Not having to charge the repairs to a high-interest credit card
  • Being able to pay for repairs without asking friends or family for money
  • Getting the vehicle back in a timely manner, instead of having to save money slowly for repairs

Car Repair Loan Disadvantages

There are also some disadvantages to a car repair loan. The biggest disadvantage occurs when borrowers take out a title loan, because control of the vehicle is taken away from the driver and is given to the lender. While borrowers may feel that the situation is not dangerous, missing only a few payments could cause the lender to send a repossession company to collect the vehicle. For people who borrow through a bank, missing payments can damage their credit ratings and have a serious effect on their ability to acquire loans in the future.

Something else to consider before taking out a car repair loan is the actual value of the vehicle. If the repairs cost just as much or only slightly more than buying a new or used vehicle, then taking out a repair loan may not be a smart financial decision. For example, if the cost of repairs is $6,000, but the value of the vehicle is only $4,500, taking out a repair loan for $6,000 is detrimental, and the driver is better off trading in or selling the old vehicle for a new one. However, for repairs that do not exceed the vehicle’s value, a car repair loan can be a good way to get car repairs done quickly and get back on the road.

Eight Steps to Buying a New Car – Part Two

Step 5: Try Negotiating a Lower Price

If you think you can negotiate an even better deal, you have another option: Request Internet price quotes from at least three local dealers. Take the lowest price, call the other dealerships and say, “If you beat this price, I’ll buy it from you.” The dealer almost certainly will give you a better price.

Some shoppers find this time-consuming and stressful, so consider whether the potential savings are worth the time and effort. It’s good to remember that a good deal isn’t just the lowest selling price. It’s a combination of the most streamlined, enjoyable shopping experience and the lowest total out-the-door cost.

Step 6: Review New Car Fees and Check Dealer Financing

Besides the cost of the car, you have to pay sales tax, registry fees and a documentation, or “doc” fee. Now ask the Internet sales manager or the dealership’s Price Promise contact to supply a breakdown of all the fees, or a “worksheet,” which lists the purchase price, the vehicle’s invoice and all related fees. Review the figures carefully before signing the sales contract.

Back in Step One, you were pre-approved for financing. But who knows? Maybe you can get an even better interest rate at the dealership. To see if that’s possible, you can let the dealership run a credit report and assess what interest rate you qualify for. If it is lower than your pre-approved loan, go for it. If not, you already have a good loan locked in.

If the price, financing and fees look right, it’s nearly time to say yes to the deal. But before you do, consider making the sale contingent on having your new car delivered to your home or office. This is a great time saver and allows you to close the deal in a relaxed environment.

Step 7: Sign the Paperwork

This step will take place at your home if you have the dealership deliver the car, or at the dealership if you prefer to pick it up there. Either way, make sure there are no dents or scratches on the body or the wheels. Check that all the equipment is included, such as floor mats, owner’s manuals and rear-seat DVD headphones. Your new car should also come with a full tank of gas. If anything is missing or needs repair, ask for a “Due Bill” that puts this in writing.

In cases of home delivery, the salesperson arrives with all the necessary paperwork. If you opt to pick up your car at the dealership, you will sign paperwork in the finance and insurance office, where the finance manager may try to sell you additional items. These typically include extended warranties, fabric protection or additional alarm systems. These extras can often be purchased elsewhere for less. One product that can have real value is an extended auto warranty, which provides peace of mind to many buyers and could save you money in the long run. Remember, though, that its price also is negotiable and you can always buy it later. You can learn more about the products offered by the finance manager in “Negotiating a Dealer’s New-Car Add-Ons.”

Review the contract carefully and make sure the numbers match the worksheet and that there are no additional charges or fees. A good finance manager will explain each form and what it means. Don’t hurry. Buying a car is a serious commitment. And remember, there is no cooling-off period. Once you sign the contract, the car is yours.

Step 8: Take Delivery of Your New Car

You are probably eager to begin driving your new car. But this is an important step: Let the salesperson give you a tour of your new car. This could include showing you how to connect your smartphone to the car’s Bluetooth system and learning how to use other important features and safety devices. Yes, you can review all this in the manual later, but it’s quite helpful to get a hands-on demonstration. If you don’t have time for a complete demonstration when you sign the contract, ask to visit the dealership a week later for this important step.

As you drive away, there is only one more thing to do: Enjoy your new car.

Eight Steps to Buying a New Car

The following steps will show you how to locate, price and negotiate to buy the new car you want. Using this information could save you thousands of dollars on a new car and make the process quicker and enjoyable. It also puts you in charge of the deal-making process — and that feeling of empowerment is a good one.

Step 1: Get Approved for a Car Loan

A powerful first step in the car buying process is to get approved for a loan. (If you have decided to lease your new car, things proceed a little differently, so please read “10 Steps to Leasing a New Car.”) Getting approved for a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender will show you what interest rate you qualify for. If the interest rate offered is unexpectedly high, you will know that there are problems with your credit history that need to be resolved before you move forward. Getting approved in advance will also mean you can negotiate at the dealership as a cash buyer, which is much easier. You can still accept dealership financing, but getting approved before you even walk into the dealership will be the bargaining chip to get you the best interest rate.

Step 2: Price Your Car and Your Trade-in

Everyone knows that the price of a new car is usually negotiable. But how much of a discount can you expect? You can see the price of the car you want to buy, and also the price of your trade-in, if you have one. Choose the make, model and year of the car you want to appraise and follow the prompts. TMV adjusts the new car price for the available incentives. TMV for your used car shows the current market value if you sell it to a private party or trade it in at the dealership.

While TMV already factors in incentives, it is also possible to separately review the latest incentives and rebates available for all new cars. Perhaps you’ll find an even better bargain on a new car you had not considered.

Step 3: Locate Your New Car

As you search for your car, keep in mind that the more flexible you can be about options and color, the wider the range of the vehicles you’ll find for sale. Being flexible will also give you more leverage to negotiate a better price, since you are not emotionally connected to one specific car.

Select the make, model and year of the car you want. You’ll then get a page that displays several actual cars for sale in your area, along with Price Promise offers (more about Price Promise in the next step). Click on the link “Find Cars for Sale Near You” in the upper half of the screen. You then will make selections about options and color to get a more complete list of matching cars available for sale. Once you find the exact car you want, the next step will be to contact the dealership.

Step 4: Use Price Promise and Dealership Internet Departments

Now that you are approaching the deal-making phase of the process, here’s more about a good pathway for buying a new car: It assures car shoppers a guaranteed, up-front price on a specific car.

Look for Price Promise offers on the car of your choice, print out the certificate on the page and you are ready to go to the dealership to conclude the deal. It’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure the car is still available. Here are other tips on how to use Price Promise to buy your next car.

If there’s no Price Promise offer on a car you want, shopping through a dealership’s Internet department will save you time and money. You can easily communicate with the Internet manager by phone or e-mail.

We know that many people are drawn to the traditional way of car buying: visiting showrooms right off the bat. If you go this route, you should assess the car salesperson who is working with you before moving forward. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable and sense that you can trust this person. If you do feel comfortable, set up a time to test-drive the car if you haven’t already done so. (It’s a key step in finding the car that’s right for you.) Before you head to the dealership, review all your notes and bring them with you.

Body Kits Personalize Any Vehicle

The summer is about to arrive, and if you haven’t taken care of your car yet, it’s certainly time to start. Sure, you can leave your money at the car wash and hope to get the looks for that shiny piece rollin’ out of the wash. Or, you can put your money into body kits that transform your ride into an extra-ordinary car on the streets. Do you think this sounds like a great idea and you need some inspiration? Take a look at the following most common custom body kits for different makes and models.

A Mustang body kit accentuates the individual style of a Ford Mustang to the max. You can get single components like side view mirrors or rear spoilers, or go for a full body kit. Like the Volkswagen Golf body kit and the Ford Focus body kit, the Mustang full body kit comes either as an air dam kit or a front fascia replacement. The air dam kit gives your ride an aggressive and sporty look with its air dam, side skirts, rear spoiler, and rear valance. The front fascia replacement includes a mesh, side skirts, rear valance, a single exhaust, and a rear spoiler. Now imagine how your Honda, Acura, or Chevy would be transformed with a Prelude body kit, Integra body kit, or Camaro body kit!

So, you schlepp your car to the service station and tell the guy: “Hey, put the Cavalier body kit on my car.” Perhaps, you hear something in reply like: “Dude, you gotta wait in line. I needa get this Neon body kit done first, then it’ll be the 300ZX body kit, then the RSX body kit. You gotta wait!” Body kits are very popular these days, so make sure you get yours first and make an appointment at the repair shop fast.

Individualizing your car is nothing new, however, with prices dropping on auto styling accessories, it’s the perfect time to look into all the fancy side view mirrors, spoilers, fender flares, bumpers, and roll pans. Making your ride as unique as possible shouldn’t cost a fortune and should get you excited every time you look at your car- with a body kit, you’ll do your body good!