Peugeot 508 SW review
The Peugeot 508 SW might not be the default choice for buyers but it shouldn't be overlooked.
Dave Humphreys
Dave Humphreys

Published on August 13, 2015

Good: good equipment levels, improved engine

Not so good: interior doesn't match some rivals'

If I told you that I had just been driving a very handsome, spacious and refined estate car would you expect me to be talking about the Peugeot 508 SW? Chances are you wouldn't, and to be fair you could be forgiven for not getting it right first time. The 508 has discreetly evolved into one of the real dark horses of the segment. Revisions that make up this latest model version aren't immediately obvious to most, Peugeot instead preferring to apply minimal nip and tuck, but overall it works and in estate guise it is a particularly handsome car.

In range-topping Allure trim its appearance benefits from 18-inch alloy wheels on the outside and leather upholstery inside. Arguably, the mid-range Active trim will tick the right boxes for the majority of buyers, but if you can afford the €505 jump up to the top level it makes for a nicer car, with a leather interior and conveniences such as an electric parking brake and reversing camera. With that mid-level trim buyers still get the important things as standard, like the seven-inch colour touchscreen system with satellite navigation, Bluetooth, dual-zone air conditioning and automatic headlights and wipers. Both Active and Allure specifications also get a huge panoramic glass roof and satin chrome roof rails.

The real star of the show in the 508 is the latest 1.6-litre eHDi diesel engine. With 114hp and 270Nm it might not have the most impressive set of performance numbers, but on the road it drives and feels like it has more than the figures suggest. On longer runs the engine feels as refined as any of the best four-cylinder diesel engines on the market today, while its six-speed transmission allows it to settle down at cruising speeds to help return some very respectable real-world fuel consumption figures. Officially Peugeot says it will return a combined 4.0 litres/100km and over the 700 or so kilometres we tested the car this proved achievable. Just as good is the sound insulation where only the worst of surfaces remind you that you're on larger wheels. The front seats are worthy of a mention too, offering very good levels of support and comfort over longer distances.

Around town the Peugeot's stop-start system works well. Should you slip the car into neutral as you come to a halt the engine will shut off once the speed gets down below 10km/h without having any effect on the braking or power steering. It's equally as quick to react as soon as a hint of pressure is applied to the clutch pedal, resulting in no delay for the driver once you decide to move away again - many other car manufacturers should take note.

Even on 18-inch wheels the ride is well damped and doesn't feel as harsh as some other rivals that claim to be more 'dynamic'. Big estate cars like this need to be comfortable, especially as they are more likely to be packed with passengers and luggage on long weekend trips, for example. That said, Peugeot's engineers have still managed to work in some reasonably good steering feel and when not so laden the 508 proves itself to be more than capable when being hustled that bit more spiritedly over a free flowing road.

The look and feel throughout the interior might not be the best in class but it leaves little room for complaint. As part of this model's facelift the centre console came in for a redesign to give it a less cluttered appearance. There are some nice touches, like two cupholders that slide out from the dashboard facia. The colour touchscreen is relatively straight forward although the satellite navigation software is, and looks, dated compared to some of the latest offerings. The same goes for much of the switchgear in the cabin, but everything feels solid to the touch even if it might not look as polished and upmarket as others.

In the rear, passenger leg room is adequate and three adults will fit in across the seats, but it could prove a squeeze on longer journeys. Boot space is also very good, with 512 litres of cargo space before you consider dropping the rear seats down - do that and you'll have a boot capable of swallowing up just less than 1,600 litres of luggage.

As complete packages go in this segment, the Peugeot works out as one of the best and one of the most competitively priced too. It undercuts the majority of its main rivals, such as the Toyota Avensis Sports Touring and Volkswagen Passat Estate, in some cases by up to €4,330 against like-for-like specifications. It might not have the instant recognition nor brand desirability that some others might enjoy, but as big comfortable estate cars go, the Peugeot 508 SW is not one to be dismissed so quickly.


Tech Specs

Model testedPeugeot 508 SW Allure
Pricingstarts at €29,290; as tested €31,495
Engine1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmissionsix-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door estate
CO2 emissions112g/km (Band A4, €200 per annum)
Combined economy70.6mpg (4.0 litres/100km)
Top speed193km/h
0-100km/h13.6 seconds
Power114hp at 3,600rpm
Torque270Nm at 1,750rpm
Boot space512- to 1,598 litres
EuroNCAP rating5-star; 90% adult; 87% child; 41% pedestrian; 97% safety assist
Rivals to the 508 SW