Peugeot 508 SW Estate (2018 - ) review
The estate version of the Peugeot 508 hatchback offers more boot space and similarly striking visuals. It’s a rival to a range of cars, from the Volkswagen Passat Estate and Volvo V60 to the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring.
Interested in buying a Peugeot 508 SW?
How good does it look?
Peugeot has tried to carry over much of the 508 hatchback’s sharp design to the estate version, without overly compromising practicality. We’ll let you judge whether they’ve been successful, but expect to see it pop up on plenty of Top 5 Sexiest Estates lists in the future. Some standout touches include vertical LED daytime running lights and the wraparound strip that follows the rear lights. Frameless doors add a sporty touch too, while the washer jets are integrated into the wipers (a feature that Peugeot theatrically calls Magic Wash).
Specifications broadly follow the hatchback version. The range starts with the Active model, which rides on 17-inch alloy wheels and features automatic headlights and wipers. The Allure model has a different design of wheels and some sport exhausts (depending on which engine you choose). Next up is the GT Line, which upgrades to full LED headlights, while the GT model features model-specific badges and 19-inch alloy wheels. At launch, there's a limited First Edition model with a panoramic glass roof, distinctive grille and a different style of 19-inch wheels.
What's the interior like?
The 508 SW's interior is largely lifted straight from the hatchback, which means a similarly contemporary and eye-catching design. That means a 12.3-inch, fully configurable digital instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch touch-screen in the dashboard. This can be found on even base-level Active models, but step one grade up, to Allure, and the centre screen enlarges to a 10.0-inch HD item. Not only does this arrangement look really stylish and futuristic, it all works intuitively thanks to ‘piano key’ shortcut buttons on the centre stack. However, they buttons are quite hard to see from the driver's seat, so get used to leaning forward to look at the emblems until you've memorised which one is which.
There are a couple of other minor complaints, too: the ‘crooked’ shift lever for the automatic gearbox isn’t the nicest thing to operate, and the stalk for the 508’s cruise control is completely obscured by the steering wheel, so you have to be totally familiar with what the buttons do before setting off. In addition, the small steering wheel, which is mounted below the instrument panel, may mean that you have to choose between having the wheel at your preferred height, or being able to see the screen properly, as we found it impossible to have both.
And although the interior design looks fab, the build quality is slightly less impressive. Everything is neat and solid, but the materials don't quite have the plushness of those in rivals such as the VW Passat Estate, Skoda Superb Estate or Audi A4 Avant.
How practical is it?
There’s a good amount of space in the back of the 508 for three adults, with plenty of headroom for six-footers. Visibility out of the back isn’t brilliant, with a fairly small rear windscreen and big pillars. There are a couple of cup holders up front, and a storage tray underneath the centre console, as well as a cubbyhole underneath the middle armrest.
The 508 SW has a 530-litre boot with the seats up, which expands to 1,780 litres if you fold the seats down. That’s not as impressive as either Volkswagen’s Passat or the Skoda Superb Estate, the latter of which also boasts far more legroom than any of its rivals. But the Peugeot does offer more boot space than the Ford Mondeo Estate.
What's it like to drive?
The 508 is set up for comfort rather than sportiness, and it rides well, smoothing out bumpy roads to keep things serene inside. This is helped by impressively low road- and wind noise. Although the car has a few sporty touches, including a Sport mode that stiffens up the active suspension on cars equipped with it, it’s not really a vehicle that encourages you to drive in a spirited fashion. Should you do so anyway, you’ll find that it will stay well behaved, although the steering feels a bit too light and artificial. Keep things fairly sedate and you’ll cruise along very nicely.
How powerful is it?
There are five engines to choose from in the 508 SW. The petrol range – called PureTech – starts with a 1.6-litre turbo that produces 180 horsepower and makes for punchy progress, although it’s quite loud, especially when you push it a bit. The 225 horsepower version is more chilled out and effortless.
On the diesel side – labelled BlueHDi – the range starts with a 130 horsepower, 1.5-litre engine unit that’s on the loud side but, if gentle cruising without too many passengers is your goal, it should suit most needs. If you do need more pep (or you want a higher trim level) then perhaps the 2.0-litre diesel with 160 horsepower will suit. This too is a bit noisy but it’s much more muscular. The 180 horsepower version is stronger still, but in reality, it's not all that much quicker than the 160. All models come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that’s quick and smooth to respond, although sometimes takes a second to kick down or engage from standstill. The 130 diesel is also available with a manual gearbox.
How much will it cost me?
Version-for-version, the 508 costs quite a bit more than rivals like the Ford Mondeo Estate and Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer. In fact, it’s more comparable to the swanky Volkswagen Passat Estate on price. Resale values should be pretty solid, though, and fuel economy figures from the range of efficient turbocharged engines are right up there with the best-in-class. That means CO2 emissions will also be impressively low, and that’s good news for the company car drivers with which cars like this prove popular, because it means comparatively cheap tax bills. That said, the insurance groupings of some versions look very high when compared with competitors, so make sure you check your premiums before you buy.
It's worth noting, in passing, that sales of this type of car have been in decline of late, thanks in large part to the rise in popularity of SUVs. This could conceivably have an impact on the 508's resale value a few years down the line.
How reliable is it?
The 508 uses much of the tried-and-tested hardware and technology used in the 308, 3008 and 5008 ranges, none of which have yet thrown up any notable, widespread reliability issues according to our owner reviews. These models don’t fare quite so well in the Warranty Direct Reliability Index, but the cars under consideration in this study are the previous generation versions, which are very different mechanically to the latest cars. What’s more, Peugeot does rather better in the manufacturer standings of the study, sitting comfortably in the top half of the table. JD Power's 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study puts Peugeot as a brand eighth in its ranking of the major manufacturers. So, we’re hopeful that the 508 should prove to be a dependable machine, and it’s also covered by Peugeot’s standard (and extendable) three-year/60,000-mile warranty.
How safe is it?
The latest 508 scored the maximum five stars during crash tests by safety organisation Euro NCAP. It benefits from a generous specification across the board, all cars featuring an active bonnet, six airbags, a Driver Attention Alert system, stability control, three Isofix child-seat fittings (front passenger and outer two rear seats), a tyre-pressure monitoring system, cruise control with a speed limiter and speed limit recognition with recommendation. All versions also come with a Safety Pack, which includes Advanced Automatic Emergency Braking, Distance Alert and Active Lane Keeping Assist. Allure models get a more comprehensive driver alert set-up, adaptive front lights, full traffic sign recognition and Active Blind Spot Detection. GT-Line models have self-levelling LED headlights as standard, while GT cars gain adaptive cruise control and steering support.
How much equipment do I get?
Entry-point Active models are fitted with dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, DAB, 3D navigation, voice recognition, automatic lights and wipers, MirrorScreen connectivity and 17-inch alloy wheels. Allure trim brings, among other things, parking sensors all round, a 180-degree camera, keyless entry and go and ambient lighting. GT-Line apes the look of the sporty GT models (albeit with less powerful engines) and significantly alters the exterior and interior appearance while adding 18-inch alloys and a smartphone charging plate, while the GT gains adaptive suspension, full leather upholstery, a Focal premium sound system, a smart electric tailgate and 19-inch wheels.
Because you want an estate car that majors on style and comfort. There are better cars in this segment, cars offer more practicality and a more involving driving experience. But the Peugeot 508 arguably looks better than many of its rivals, and it does a solid enough job in all other areas. So if its design ticks your box, you should be very happy with it.