Although consumer preference these days is for an SUV, there’s still a lot to recommend about a really good family car – and the Peugeot 508 is one of the best. The second-generation 508 launched in 2018 but has now been updated, with the range pared back to just three drivetrains and three trim levels, while revised looks keep what has always been one of the better-looking cars on sale as handsome as ever. Available in both regular fastback and more practical SW estate formats, the 508 blends Peugeot’s traditions of sharp handling and neat design with its more modern corporate traits of a top-notch interior and plenty of technology. The resulting car is a strong all-rounder, though don’t go expecting a bargain.
“In theory the PHEVs can also do just over 40 miles of all-electric driving”
It’s a case of slimming down for the Peugeot 508 range, as diesel options have been dropped and there’s just a choice of one petrol model or two plug-in hybrids, or PHEVs in the jargon. This means that, with the exception of the petrol version, all revised 508s will emit considerably less than 50g/km of CO2, making them cheap to tax – and very appealing if you plan to run one as a company car, as the Benefit In Kind (BIK for short) tax on them will be super-low. In theory the PHEVs can also do just over 40 miles of all-electric driving, while fuel economy figures will be high too if you charge your PHEV regularly as you’re supposed to. Even if you stick with the petrol, you can expect up to 50mpg combined if you drive it carefully, so despite the fact the Peugeot is a big car, it shouldn’t cost the earth to run.
Expert rating: 4/5
Reliability of a Peugeot 508 SW
“So far, owners have reported few major faults with the Peugeot 508 and it is proving to have above-average reliability”
So far, owners have reported few major faults with the Peugeot 508 and it is proving to have above-average reliability. The company’s industry-standard three-year, 60,000-mile warranty is perhaps not something to write home about, given some manufacturers offer up to five or even seven years’ worth of hassle-free cover, but a slight benefit of the Peugeot warranty is that the mileage cap only accounts for the third year; so if you’re an extremely high-annual-mileage driver, you at least know that you’ll be covered in all eventualities by the warranty in years one and two.
Expert rating: 4/5
Safety for a Peugeot 508 SW
“You can even option the Peugeot 508 up with night vision, for the maximum of high-end safety tech”
The Peugeot 508 earned a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was launched in 2018, with particularly impressive scores in the adult occupant and child occupant departments. Its wealth of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) technology also helped its score, and with items like advanced automatic emergency braking system, front collision warning, active lane-keeping assistance, passive blind-spot detection and speed limit/road sign recognition fitted as standard to every spec of the updated Peugeot 508, you just know it’s going to be a really safe family car. You can even option it up with night vision, if you so wish, for the maximum of high-end safety tech.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Peugeot 508 SW
“In terms of ride comfort and noise suppression, the 508 SW is incredibly impressive”
The interior of the Peugeot 508 feels top quality, with real visual flair provided by the small steering wheel/high instrument cluster layout of the company’s signature i-Cockpit. This then leads to a two-tier dashboard, which gives some depth to the Peugeot’s fascia, although the large central console and a deep glovebox area mean space in the front isn’t quite as generous as you might think. However, the car is more than capable of taking taller passengers in the rear, while updates for the interior as part of the 508’s round of revisions include half-leather effect upholstery on Allure and GT models, the latter teamed with sporty Alcantara material for an upmarket vibe. In terms of boot space, at 530 litres rear seats up and a useful 1,780 litres with the folded down, the 508 SW is a capable load-carrier – and it’s also good news that the plug-in hybrid models don’t lose any capacity back there. A note of caution, though: the Peugeot’s eye-catching exterior styling means the rear screen of the SW is steeply raked, so it isn’t the most practical of estates – if you’re after that from a wagon, then you’ll be needing the vast Skoda Superb Estate instead. In terms of ride comfort and refinement, the 508 SW is incredibly impressive. This is particularly noteworthy, as we drove the high-performance PSE model, complete with firmer suspension and large wheels. While there was a noticeable edge to the way it drove, it was never uncomfortable or noisy, so the lesser plug-in hybrid and petrol models should be even more plush when out on the roads.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Peugeot 508 SW
“All models of revised 508 now enjoy high-definition reversing cameras as a minimum – a nice touch”
Like other models in the Peugeot family, the 508 line-up now benefits from an improved 10-inch infotainment system on every model. This has Peugeot’s i-Connect Advanced software, including 3D Connected navigation and ongoing over-the-air updates. Peugeot has also tweaked the look of the instrument cluster, such an integral part of the idiosyncratic i-Cockpit dashboard layout, with graphics inspired by the newer 308 and 408 models, while the plug-in hybrid cars have a button on the transmission tunnel to adjust the levels of regenerative braking. All models of revised 508 now enjoy high-definition reversing cameras as a minimum – a nice touch – but the GT-spec cars and get a full 360-degree monitor. Besides these technology updates, Peugeot has revised the look of the front lights, bumper and grille on the 508, while also fitting Matrix LED headlights and LED taillights, all of which feature the marque’s trademark ‘three-claw’ signature for the illumination. You will also note the company’s later ‘shield’ Lion emblems, plus full-width ‘Peugeot’ lettering on the boot of the car – it’s part of a new corporate look rolling out across the range.
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Peugeot 508 SW
“The Peugeot Sport Engineered SW is an incredibly sure-footed, composed machine – you won’t complain about the power it has, that’s for sure”
As we’ve already touched upon, there are just three engine options for the Peugeot 508. The entry-level is a 1.2-litre petrol turbo engine, which is sweet enough and gives adequate, if not exactly rapid performance. Then it’s simply a choice of two plug-in hybrids – a regular model, which is front-wheel drive only and geared towards maximum economy, and the range-topping Peugeot Sport Engineered high-performance model. This has two electric motors, resulting in all-wheel drive, and it’s the most powerful road-going model Peugeot has ever produced; you can tell the ‘PSE’ apart from the rest of the range, because it has a black front grille for a more aggressive appearance, rather than the body-coloured matrix of the Allure and GT versions of the 508, as well as a few small lurid green details dotted about its body and its cabin. We drove the revised Peugeot as a PSE SW and it is an incredibly sure-footed, composed machine – you won’t complain about the power it has, that’s for sure. Keen drivers might find it a little bit inert for their tastes, while the 1.6-litre engine comprising the internal combustion part of the PHEV drivetrain is not the nicest-sounding unit in the world, but overall a 508 PSE SW makes for a compelling form of rapid transport for your family. If not a cheap one – sadly we suspect most will simply stick with the less potent PHEV, which is significantly more affordable.