There was much interest in the monthly sales figures issued by SIMI last week for the month of January. The first month of the year as we all know is very long one, but it’s also a very important month for new car sales. The good news for the motor trade is that sales of new cars in January were up 9.4% (27,364) compared to 25,014 in January 2022.

Toyota is still the best-selling brand, but the Hyundai Tucson was the most popular model in January. The number of fully electric cars sold last month was the highest on record, 3,682 compared to 2,697 for January 2022. SIMI love to see the number of imports being reduced and the imports were down below 4,000 for the first time in years.

SIMI figures also told us that the good old reliable colours of Grey, Black and Blue were still the best sellers. However, Peugeot have been doing their bit to try and introduce some new colours. When the Blue Lion brand launched their new 308 last year it came in Olivine Green and last week when I picked the SW, or Station Wagon version of the 308, the colour was Avatar Blue.

This was a Hybrid version where you can get up to 50km in pure electric mode, if you have the patience to sit around at a fast-charging points. I was just happy to cruise along in this lively motor using gold old-fashioned petrol, which as you may noticed has dropped significantly in price in recent months.

I think it’s fair to say that all new cars have really improved in recent years, but no more so than Peugeot which is now up there with the best when it comes to technology. The company who are part of the expanding Gowan Group, are now up to eight in the list of ten brands in the Republic of Ireland.

Avatar Blue on the outside, but mainly black interior and it certainly needed the green stitching on the seats to brighten the décor. The boot is huge, but unusually for Peugeot no spare wheel. In the past you could always depend on Peugeot to provide a spare, but now the hybrid technology takes up a lot of space in the boot.

We are often told that we Irish are not very keen on estates or station wagons. And with the number of independent newsagents declining, that number is probably dropping, but this spacious 308 SW could bring back more people back to the Estate.

The 308 SW is almost a foot longer than Peugeot’s regular 308, 15 feet compared to 14.1 feet. Of course there are more prospective customers than the newsagents and farmers for Estates, people who like the country life and like to carry a dog in the boot should be interested.  

My test car had a plethora of goodies which were easy to use. And you get an old-fashioned button to control the volume of the radio. A small item in the overall context, but important for a lot of people.

Prices for the regular 1.2-litre Active line Peugeot 308 start at €25,670, while the SW Active starts at €32,765. My automatic Hybrid Allure 1.5-litre version will cost you €45,995. Of course you don’t have to go for the top of the range version, but there is also a GT version, which start at €40K.