Peugeot’s got some past form with estate cars. The old 504 and 505 estate were fabulous machines, tough as old boots and great to drive. We get behind the wheel of the new 508 SW.
It’s based on the 508 Fastback, which is a car we rate highly thanks to a combination of good driving manners, fabulous looks and an interior that belies its more budget leanings. Unlike its immediate predecessor, though, the 508 SW sacrifices some practicality for style. Is it a trade-off worth making?
The 508 SW is available with a wide array of petrol and diesel engines, spanning from 128bhp in the lowest-powered models right up to the 221bhp range-topper. The diesel range starts off with a 128bhp 1.5-litre. For modest users it’s actually a great option, capable of 0-60mph in under 10 seconds. It’s also smooth, if a bit noisy.
Step up to the 1.5-litre, 158bhp diesel and the 0-60mph sprint tumbles to around eight seconds, while there’s more refinement as you don’t need to work the engine so hard. The 2.0-litre, 178bhp diesel range-topper is the best yet though, being smooth, powerful and quiet almost all the time.
On the petrol front, there’s a choice of two 1.6-litre units with 158bhp or 221bhp. The former is our pick, with the 221bhp unit a little too expensive for the limited performance on offer.
All engines bar the basic diesel are mated to a smooth and unobtrusive eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Ride & handling
The 508 is well known for being great to drive, and it’s genuinely good fun. The 508 SW doesn’t give anything to the Fastback despite its bulkier bottom, and it’s still comfortable at a cruise while staying impressively composed through the bends.
Your wheel choice does make a difference, as GT-Line and GT models ride more harshly than their lower-specced siblings on their large, albeit handsome alloy wheels. Regardless of your wheel choice, the 508 SW is good fun on a twisting road. It’s perhaps not as dynamic as a BMW 3 Series Touring, but it’s definitely more so than a Volkswagen Passat.
Interior & equipment
The 508 SW, like the 508 Fastback, contains Peugeot’s best interior to date. Chunky metal highlights meet sweeping horizontal lines to create a really handsome and premium-feeling dashboard, while the driving experience is dominated by the brand’s ‘i-Cockpit’ system. In short, it takes the form of a small, squashed steering wheel and a high-set gauge cluster that you look over the steering wheel at, rather than through.
It’s the best iteration of the system yet, and it’s very comfortable to use for most people.
The 508 SW isn’t the largest and most practical estate car. A similarly-sized Volkswagen Passat Estate will carry far more luggage, and passengers will enjoy more head and legroom. The 508 SW will be fine for most, though, and the load area is very square and practical.
Trim levels mirror those of the hatchback, and all models get the i-Cockpit with digital display, central infotainment screen, connected navigation, dual-zone climate control and rear parking sensors.
That’s a good basic roster, but head to the options list and you’ll be able to specify some seriously luxurious equipment such as full LED headlights, wireless smartphone charging, a Focal audio system and even night vision.
The Peugeot 508 SW isn’t quite the bargain it used to be, and though Peugeot hasn’t yet revealed full prices we’d expect the range to kick off from around £27,000. For that, though, you do get plenty of standard equipment – and even the basic trim levels look super smart.
Running costs should be fairly low, with all but the top-spec petrol engine giving great fuel economy.
The new Peugeot 508 SW has morphed into a seriously stylish estate car that you’d definitely consider buying with your heart as well as your head. It’s practical enough for most applications, but makes its rivals from the Volkswagen Group appear positively staid in comparison. Best of all, it’s good to drive and should prove cheap to run. It’s a really good effort from Peugeot and one that shows the French brand is back on form.