Peugeot 508 SW review
Luxurious with sleek styling, the practical Peugeot 508 SW estate is a compelling all-rounder
The Peugeot 508 is a fantastic all-rounder and the SW estate version builds on the saloon's already impressive abilities. It's spacious, comfortable and handsome to look at, with a decent loading bay. There are plenty of clever features too, like the automatic motorised boot, a hidden rear storage compartment and the optional head-up display that rises from the dash. It's not quite as sharp to drive as the Ford Mondeo but does feel more luxurious inside. A special 'RXH' flagship edition – with four-wheel drive – is due next year.
Our choice: Active 2.0 HDi 5dr
The Peugeot 508 looks even better as an estate than it does as a saloon, and the beautifully detailed styling will appeal to anyone who wants to standout from the current crop of conservative estate cars, including the Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo. The interior is a revelation too, with a quality feel to all the switchgear, and a classy, intuitive layout. Entry-level Access models make do with steel wheels, but still come with air-con and electric windows all round. SR models add 17-inch alloys, cruise control and dual-zone climate control, while pricy top-spec GT models get sat-nav, heated leather seats, and a Panoramic sunroof.
The Peugeot 508 is a superb car to drive and, although the extra weight of the bigger boot means the SW isn't quite as sharp to drive, it's still up there with the best in class. The direct, well-weighted steering, excellent driving position and supple suspension make it easy to cover ground quickly, and there is a wide range of engines on offer to suit all tastes. Kicking off the range are two petrols – both 1.6-litre units, one of which is turbocharged – but the punchy, refined diesels are the better choice. These come in 1.6, 2.0, and range-topping 2.2-litre guises The latter is quickest, powering from 0-62mph in just 8.4 seconds, but it's only available in top GT spec.
The Peugeot 508 was only released this year, so we don't yet know how well it will cope in the long-term. Initial impressions are that a great deal of care has gone into improving build quality, especially inside. All of the engines have a proven track record, and are unlikely to develop major faults. The 508 SW comes with a lot of electronic safety kit on board, including traction control, electronic brake distribution and anti-skid regulation. Six-airbags are standard across the range, and although Euro NCAP haven't tested the 508 estate but the saloon version scored a maximum five star rating.
Like any estate, load space is paramount in the 508 SW. There are some helpful touches, such as the one-touch buttons that drop the split-folding rear seats down and a hidden stowage compartment beneath the boot floor, but the 512-litre boot is not competitive with its much bigger rivals. With the seats down the Skoda Superb, for example, has a massive 267-litre advantage over the Peugeot's 1,598-litres. The rear seats don't fold entirely flat either, which can be a hindrance when loading longer objects. Passenger space is decent, with plenty of knee-room in the back, although headroom will be a little tight for anyone over six-foot.
Unsurprisingly, the diesels are the best performers when it comes to economy. The 1.6-litre e-HDi - which comes with start and stop as standard - returns the range's best figures of 62.8mpg and 110g/km of C02. Yet even the biggest 2.2-litre unit is surprisingly economical, managing a combined 47.8mpg and 154g/km. A full-blown hybrid model is due next year, with a diesel-electric drivetrain capable of producing 200bhp and emitting less than 100g/km.