- Good choice of economical engines and well-equipped trim levels
- Stylish good looks and agile handling
- Smart and modern interior with full range of infotainment systems
- Poor over-the-shoulder visibility
- The touchscreen is still quite complicated despite shortcut keys
- Not as exciting to drive as some German rivals (but more attractively priced)
With eye-catching good looks and an ultra-modern interior packed with techno treats, the all-new Peugeot 508 SW is a practical model that is the ultimate proof that estate cars need not resemble bulky load-luggers.
It boasts sleek streamlining and customers can choose from a generous selection of well-equipped trim levels along with highly efficient diesel and petrol engines.
Frameless doors are a quirky design touch that will certainly gain the attention of any onlookers and Peugeot hopes the car, which goes on sale in the UK in July, will set new standards in the D-segment estate sector.
On The Road
The Peugeot 508 SW is available in trim levels called Active, Allure, GT Line, GT and a limited-run First Edition with just 75 models available to UK customers. Prices range from £26,845 to £40,944 and there is a wide choice of powertrains.
There are four types of diesels based on the BlueHDi 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines – a 130 S&S BVM6, 130 S&S EAT8, 160 S&S EAT8 and 180 S&S EAT8. In addition, there are two new petrol units - a 180 S&S EAT8 and 225 S&S EAT8 – which are based on the PureTech 1.6-litre engine. All models feature an eight-speed automatic transmission although the entry-level BlueHDi 130 car is also available with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Later this year the range will be supplemented by a Plug-in Hybrid petrol powertrain with an extended ZEV range of 50km (WLTP cycle).
Although the diesel line-up is expected to account for about 70 per cent of sales, Peugeot believes the most popular individual model will be the PureTech 180 turbocharged petrol model in GT Line delivering 180hp and 250NM of torque. So, it was that car that we put to the test.
According to the official stats, this model can sprint from 0-62mph in 8.0 seconds and maxes out at 140mph.
Out on the open road, the Peugeot 508 SW boasts excellent body control into sharp bends and it cruises effortlessly along motorway stretches. The acceleration is instant which makes overtaking simple and the road holding is sure-footed.
The test car featured an eight-speed automatic gearbox that was perfectly timed, although there are steering wheel-mounted paddles for added fun.
The all-new Peugeot 508 SW is certainly a looker with its distinctive grille with chequered chrome detailing, aluminium roof bars, Nero black door mirrors, gloss black B and C pillars, twin chrome tail pipes, LED daytime running lights and 3D rear lights with the signature ‘Claw’ effect. Plus it features those frameless doors that were first seen on the 508 Fastback that help accentuate its coupe styling.
The interior is quite unique in its layout with a 10-inch wide HD touchscreen complete with short cuts to many functions. There are soft-touch surfaces, piano black surrounds and chrome trimmings to help give the car a premium feel.
Our test model was sitting on 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels which were the ideal size for a comfortable ride. Even on uneven surfaces, there was little sign of any body movement and the car was composed with ample grip.
The excellent insulation keeps any road surface, engine or wind noise to a minimum, although the GT Line also comes with i-Cockpit Amplify, which allows the driver to crank up the engine note through active speaker technology.
In addition, the GT Line cars feature Active suspension as standard which works in conjunction with the various drive modes to alter the cushioning and ride quality of the car.
In The Car
There is ample manual steering wheel and seat adjustment available to get a good driving position and the driver has a great view ahead, sideways and through the relatively narrow rear windscreen. However, the massive door pillars mean the over-the-shoulder visibility is quite poor and I found myself craning my neck when pulling out at tighter junctions.
All 508 SW models feature the latest generation of Peugeot’s innovative i-Cockpit with a configurable 12.3-inch head-up digital instrument panel, either a ten-inch or eight-inch touchscreen and a compact multi-function steering wheel as standard. MirrorLink with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also included as standard across the range.
Other technology on the test car included a 3D navigation system, Bluetooth handsfree and media streaming system, a FOCAL premium sound system, full climate control, heated seats and plenty more besides.
The new touchscreen set-up looks ultra modern and is very elegant in its design. It can still be a little overcomplicated to navigate certain aspects and I would prefer simple dials to adjust the temperature, but there are short-cut keys to functions such as the climate control, navigation, auto stop/start and heated seats.
The car was kitted out in smart leather upholstery with neat contrast stitching and the cabin has a premium, high quality feel to it.
Up front, there are vast amounts of space and the seats sit on long runners so even six-foot-plus drivers will find there is room to spare. And back seat passengers are well catered for too with ample head, leg and shoulder space.
Taken straight from the world of the sports coupe, the 508 SW features frameless front and rear doors. Featuring a 'short-drop' system, the windows automatically lower a few millimetres upon pulling the door handle. They return back to their original position when the door is closed.
But the deal breaker as far as estate cars go is often the storage options and the Peugeot 508 SW scores highly there. The boot can cater for 530 litres, but drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that limit rises to a whopping 1,780 litres. A low load sill is handy when transporting particularly heavy or awkwardly shaped goods.
Elsewhere there are numerous practical storage compartments, including a glovebox, deep door bins, nets in the seat backs, a large central box beneath the front armrest, a covered tray next to the gear lever, plus front and rear cup holders.
Although our car didn’t have a tow bar, it is available as an optional extra with 13-pin harness and Trailer Sway Mitigation, costing £800. The car can tow a braked trailer weighing up to 1,600kgs.
The Peugeot 508 SW is available in trim levels called Active, Allure, GT Line, GT and a limited run of First Edition models with prices ranging from £26,845 to £40,944.
There is a wide selection of engines to choose from and obviously selecting a diesel-powered unit would be more financially beneficial for anyone clocking up high mileage.
The petrol model that we tested was priced at £33,245 (£33,970 with Pearlescent paint) and it delivered a combined fuel economy of 41.8-38.0mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 127g/km. These emission figures would result in a first-year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £170. This cost would be reduced to the standard rate of £145 after the first 12 months. The BlueHDi 130hp 1.5-litre diesel model is the most economical to run with a combined 58.6-51.4mpg (WLTP) and a CO2 emissions figure of just 101g/km.
There is a clever cost-saving feature when the petrol-powered car is running in ECO mode if twinned with the EAT8 gearbox. The PureTech engine automatically switches to freewheeling mode and, this function, available between 15mph and 80mph, eases internal friction in the gearbox and reduces fuel consumption by around three per cent.
The car also has strong residual values with the diesel versions rated at 35.7 per cent after three years or 60,000 miles.
Insurance ratings for the all-new Peugeot 508 SW line-up are yet to be announced.
Peugeot was recently voted the most dependable brand by 11,000 owners in a survey conducted by JD Power so that’s quite a feather in the cap for the French manufacturer.
The new 508 SW looks and feels like it will survive the test of time with high quality fixtures and fittings throughout. The upholstery is both comfortable and practical, and although the touchscreen is susceptible to fingerprints it can easily be wiped clean.
The car comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
Peugeot also offers some attractive service plans for up to five years with various mileage options to suit both the private and business owner. For example a 36-month, 30,000-mile plan costs £14.16 per month. It is also possible to extend the Peugeot Assist breakdown cover for an additional fee.
The Peugeot 508 Fastback was awarded the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and the 508 SW gains the same score.
Our test car featured blind spot detection, automatic emergency braking, a distance alert system, active lane keeping assistance with road edge detection, speed limit detection, road sign recognition, smart-beam assist, driver alert, automatic door locking, ISOFIX fixtures and a full suite of airbags.
All versions of the car also get Peugeot Connect SOS & Assistance which can be activated manually via a dedicated SOS button or automatically if the airbags are deployed. The exact position of the car is detected and the emergency services are contacted for a rapid response.
There are a number of optional safety packs available, amongst which is the Night Vision that uses an infrared camera located in the front grille to detect pedestrians or even dogs up to 200 metres ahead in the scope of the headlights and alert the driver to the potential danger. If selected, this adds £1,300 to the asking price.