Review

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.

Words by: First published: 2nd December 2018
The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.9
The SW brings an extra level of practicality to the 508 range, and in almost all other areas it has the same strengths and weaknesses as the hatchback. It’s no great shakes to drive and some of the build quality could be better, but it stands out on the road, rides comfortably and boasts an attractive interior. It’s certainly worth checking out if you’re in the market for a big premium estate.

Pros

  • Striking design
  • Good-sized boot
  • Quiet and comfortable ride

Cons

  • Interior quality doesn’t match rivals
  • Not particularly sharp to drive
  • Some engines are quite noisy

Interested in buying a Peugeot 508 SW?

How good does it look? 5/5

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? 4/5

The 508 SW's interior is largely lifted straight from the hatchback, which means a similarly contemporary and eye-catching design. There's a 12.3-inch, configurable digital instrument cluster in place of traditional dials, and an 8.0 or 10.0-inch touchscreen in the dashboard (depending on trim). It certainly looks very swish and futuristic, but it’s also pretty intuitive to use, thanks to shortcut buttons under the screen. However, the 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 minor complaints: 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 very difficult to have both. Build quality is good, although not the best available. Rivals like Volkswagen’s Passat Estate, Skoda’s Superb Estate and Audi’s A4 Avant all feel posher and more robust.

How practical is it? 4/5

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? 3/5

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? 4/5

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? 3/5

Peugeot hadn’t yet revealed the UK pricing at the time of writing, so we’ll update this with more analysis once prices are confirmed. However, we can take an educated guess that the 508 SW be slightly more expensive than the hatchback version, and sit at a similar level to its rivals. That means we expect it to be more expensive than high-volume cars like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia, and closer to Volkswagen’s Passat. Peugeot hasn’t historically had particularly good resale values on its cars, but that’s improved dramatically in recent years. However, the rise in popularity of SUVs and a dip in estate car sales could impact this in the future.

How reliable is it? 4/5

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? 4/5

The preceding 508 picked up a Euro NCAP five-star rating in 2011 and there’s no reason to doubt that the new model, with all its extra technology, will do the same, despite today’s tougher regulations. 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? 4/5

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.

Why buy? 4/5

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.

Interested in buying a Peugeot 508 SW?