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Peugeot 508 SW Estate (2018 - ) review

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The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.0

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 stands out on the road, rides comfortably and boasts an attractive interior, although some of the build quality could be better. It’s certainly worth checking out if you’re in the market for a big premium estate.

Pros

  • Eye-catching looks
  • Pleasant to drive
  • Attractive interior design

Cons

  • Interior quality not as impressive as interior design
  • Manual gearbox is a bit slushy
  • Rear visibility isn’t great

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 Best Looking 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 wheel design 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.

What's the interior like? 3/5

The 508 SW's interior is largely lifted straight from the hatchback, which means a similarly contemporary and eye-catching design. It comes with a 12.3-inch, fully configurable digital instrument cluster and a touchscreen in the dashboard. On the base-level Active models you get an 8.0-inch touchscreen, but step one grade up, to Allure, and you get a 10.0-inch HD touchscreen instead. Not only does all the tech look really stylish and futuristic, it all works intuitively thanks to ‘piano key’ shortcut buttons below the touchscreen. However, the pictures on the buttons are quite hard to see from the driver's seat, so you'll need to learn which one is which.

Although the interior design looks fab, the build quality is slightly less impressive. Everything is neat and soft to the touch, including the plastics on the doors, but the materials don't feel quite as solidly built as those in rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat Estate, Skoda Superb Estate or Audi A4 Avant. More than one car we tested had a few small squeaks and rattles in the car.

The ‘crooked’ shift lever for the automatic gearbox isn’t the nicest thing to operate, either, and the stalk for the 508’s cruise control is completely obscured by the steering wheel, so you'll also need to learn what the buttons do.

The 508 SW comes with a small steering wheel, which is really nice to use, and there is lots of adjustment in the seats and steering wheel. It's really easy to get a comfortable driving position, and the seats themselves are very comfortable and supportive.

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. However, legroom isn't quite as good as the front seats are low, so there's not much room to tuck your feet underneath. Visibility out of the back isn’t brilliant, with a fairly small rear windscreen and big pillars.

Storage wise, 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, a small, narrow storage space next to the gear shifter, good size door bins, and a decent-sized glovebox.

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 SW is set up for comfort, and it rides very well, smoothing out bumpy roads to keep things serene inside. Even very bad road surfaces and large pot holes are dealt with admirably. The serene feeling 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, don't expect this to be a sporty drive. But you will find it to be well-behaved, feeling controlled in the bends, 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 turbocharged engine 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), 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. However, it is a quiet engine.

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 only engine available with a six-speed manual gearbox is the 130-horsepower diesel. We'd recommend sticking with the automatic. The manual is fine to use, if a bit slushy, but the automatic is better suited to the car.

How much will it cost me? 4/5

Version-for-version, the 508 costs quite a bit more than rivals like the Ford Mondeo Estate and Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer. It’s more comparable to the swanky Volkswagen Passat Estate on price.

Resale values of the 508 SW 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 are also impressively low, and that’s good news for company car drivers, 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 first.

It's worth noting, in passing, that sales of estate cars 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? 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.

What's more, JD Power's 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study puts Peugeot top in its ranking of the major manufacturers, a rise up from eighth the previous year. So we’re hopeful the 508 will 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? 5/5

The latest 508 scored the maximum five stars during crash tests by safety organisation Euro NCAP. It benefits from plenty of kit, with 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 (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) 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 gets some of the sporty looks of the GT models (albeit with less powerful engines), with quite big changes to the exterior and interior appearance, and adding 18-inch alloys and a smartphone charging plate.

The GT model gains adaptive suspension, full leather upholstery, a Focal premium sound system, a smart electric tailgate and 19-inch wheels.

Why buy? 4/5

The Peugeot 508 SW is an estate car that majors on style – inside and out – and comfort. It looks better than many of its rivals, and it does a solid job in all other areas. So if its design ticks your box, you should be very happy with it as an alternative to a comfortable, premium estate car.

Interested in buying a Peugeot 508 SW?