Peugeot 508 SW Review
The Peugeot 508 SW is a seriously stylish estate car with a lovely looking interior and plenty of cool tech, but alternatives are more spacious and more fun to drive.
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The Peugeot 508 SW proves that spacious estate cars don’t have to be boring. Compared with the chinos-and-shirt looks of the VW Passat Estate and Skoda Superb Estate, the 508 SW is as stylish as a Parisian model in a Givenchy suit smoking a Gauloise outside a Rive Gauche cafe.
Unlike many estate cars, the Peugeot 508 SW doesn’t play second fiddle, in the looks department, to its four-door siblings. Sure, its upright back end isn’t quite as slinky as the standard 508’s sloping roof, but it comes with some unique Peugeot lettering on the boot lid, a subtle roof spoiler and some lovely frameless doors which are sure to attract attention from nosey neighbours.
And if prying eyes get close enough to examine the Peugeot 508 SW’s interior, they’ll be just as impressed. The simple, minimalist dashboard, high-mounted digital driver’s display and gorgeous piano-key-style switches look more like they belong on an uber-luxurious limousine than a practical family estate car.
The infotainment system isn’t as easy to use as you’d hope, however, but at least it comes with sat-nav and smartphone mirroring so you can use your phone’s navigation and music-streaming apps instead of Peugeot’s own programs.
Sadly, no amount of fancy phone integration can make up for the cheap, scratchy plastics you’ll find lower down on the Peugeot 508 SW’s doors and centre console. These aren’t dealbreakers, but you’ll notice them each time you reach down to put something in the door bins or adjust your seat.
On the subject of seats, you won’t have much trouble finding a comfortable driving position – even if you’re very tall. Just as in the standard 508, the 508 SW comes with Peugeot’s iCockpit system – essentially a small steering wheel and a raised digital driver’s display – that takes a bit of getting used to, but it feels more intuitive in the 508 SW than in most other Peugeots.
Unfortunately, while space in the front seats is good, tall adults may find the Peugeot 508 SW’s back seats a little cramped. There’s enough knee room for two six-footers to sit behind equally tall people in the front, but there’s very little shoulder room if you need to carry three in the back at once. It isn’t particularly easy to fit a child seat either, but at least there’s space in the Peugeot 508 SW’s boot for a family’s luggage for a week away or – if you fold the back seats down – a bike with its wheels attached. A Skoda Superb Estate’s boot is bigger though.
There are plenty of more practical estate cars out there, but none can match the Peugeot 508 SW in the style stakes.
If you’ll be regularly carrying lots of passengers or heavy luggage, go for one of the Peugeot 508 SW’s 160hp or 180hp diesel engines. There’s also a more affordable 130hp model that’s cheaper to run, but it’s quite noisy when you accelerate hard and feels a bit sluggish.
There’s also a pair of 1.6-litre petrol engines with 180hp and 225hp that are smoother and feel more fun to drive, but they cost more to run – especially if you do lots of long motorway journeys.
You can also get a 508 SW plug-in hybrid that combines the 225hp petrol with a 80kw electric motor to give you over 30-miles of electric-only driving. It costs a fair bit more to buy than the standard petrols but you could make that back over time, thanks to its low low fuel bills, provided you’ve somewhere to charge it up.
On the motorway, you’ll find the Peugeot 508 SW cruises along quietly and comfortably at speed without a great deal of wind or tyre noise. Pick a GT Line or First Edition model (or any car with a petrol engine) and you get adaptive suspension as standard that helps iron out bumps in Comfort mode and makes the 508 SW feel more fun to drive in its Sport setting.
It doesn’t quite turn the 508 SW into a sharp, nimble sports estate, however, and the fake engine noises that get piped through the car’s speakers sound pretty horrid.
Don’t let this put you off, however – especially if you prefer your estate cars relaxing rather than sporty. To that end, the Peugeot 508 SW also comes with a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard in all but entry-level 130hp diesel models and plenty of active safety kit to help prevent avoidable accidents.
This all helps make the Peugeot 508 SW a practical family estate that’s very easy to live with and pretty stress-free to drive. It isn’t as much fun as some sportier alternatives, but when it comes to style, it’s streets ahead of the current crop of drab-looking estates.
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