Peugeot 508 SW: Parkers team says au revoir

  • Peugeot 508 estate proves popular with Parkers team
  • Comfort levels praised but boot not as big as rivals'
  • Excellent fuel economy and cruising abilities

So, the time has come for our long-term Peugeot 508 SW to leave the Parkers test fleet. During its stay here many of the team had the opportunity to put some miles on the car, finding out exactly what it is that they liked or disliked about the big French estate. Here's a summary of some of our thoughts.

Tim Bowdler, Deputy Editor

Tim Bowdler, Deputy EditorThe Peugeot 508 SW has many qualities but for me the stand-out feature of this capable estate is the high level of comfort on offer, and never was that more clearly demonstrated when compared the VW Passat estate that we also had on test earlier this year.

At one point during the 508 SW’s long-term test it came up against the VW Passat estate that I ran for six months and when a direct comparison on comfort was made between the two, the Volkswagen didn’t stand a chance.

As soon as you get into the Peugeot you immediately feel the difference. The seats are more cosseting, offering more side and back support and, once up and running, you’ll be in no doubt about which has the better ride quality. A two-hour jaunt in the Passat usually left signs of fatigue, but the same couldn’t be said as a result of a similar journey in the 508.

This single aspect means that the 508 is a much better cruiser but if you factor in its superior fuel economy (the 508 was able to achieve 50+mpg on a regular basis while the Passat’s top figure was around 47mpg), it’s fair to say that the Peugeot is a far better option.  

The head-to-head didn’t all go the 508’s way though. As you can see from the bootspace stats in the VW Passat report here, the 508 SW is mired in mid-table mediocrity while the Passat estate comes almost top of the loadbay league only to be beaten by the impressive Skoda Superb.

So, the Peugeot has got the lot in terms of comfort and fuel economy but if loadspace is a priority for you, you’ll probably go elsewhere.

Lewis Kingston, Consumer Journalist

Lewis Kingston, Consumer reporterWith a 110-mile daily motorway commute; comfort and economy tend to be the first things I end up assessing in the vast majority of cars we have in on long-term test.

In terms of comfort, as Tim has already commented, the Peugeot did not disappoint. It was quiet at motorway speeds and the suspension soaked up bumps and rougher surfaces without any issue. The cabin was spacious, the seats supportive and the climate control easy to use.

Compared to the Focus I was driving at the time, I was also pleased to see that the 508 did well on the efficiency front. The 2.0-litre diesel in the Peugeot was flexible and refined and it tended to average over 50mpg with ease. The less powerful 1.6-litre diesel in the smaller Focus would typically return about 48mpg.

One thing of particular note is that the Peugeot also stood the test of time much better than our Volkswagen Passat. That might come as a surprise to many but, in this instance, it was the case. By the time it went back the Passat was feeling a bit battered and loose, whereas the Peugeot looks and feels as good as it did when it arrived.  

The only real gripe I had with our 508 SW was the lack of rear parking sensors. While I never had any issues when parking it's always more relaxing to have that additional prompt to let you know that, no, you aren't just about to collide with something that might remodel the rear of the car.

Fortunately parking sensors are an option and they're definitely worth specifying, especially given the size of the 508.

Kieren Puffett, Editor

Kieren Puffett, EditorThere are three major things I rate about the Peugeot 508 SW: comfort, roominess and fuel efficiency.

When a long distance trip to Cornwall loomed I need something that would provide a serious level of comfort to ease me through a six-hour trip and 350 mile journey. The Peugeot 508 has quickly found fans in the office for its ability to eat miles without leaving you feeling that you’ve sat on a porcupine, so it was first choice.

 It’s a good test of car that as the miles mount you don’t notice any aches caused by poor lower back support or the seat cushion pressing too hard under your thighs. You only really notice the miles have been racking up when you are a good two hours into the journey and by then it’s time for a break anyway.

As for space, the 508 SW may not have the biggest boot in class but the levers located in the boot drop the rear seats in one go and the boot sill is low enough to make loading a bicycle in very easy. And it is a good size that will serve most families’ needs.

The room for front and rear passengers is substantial. Carrying three adults and two kids (aged 9 and 11) was never an issue with plenty of space for all.

The most impressive aspect of the 508 was its fuel efficiency. The total round trip to Cornwall was 820 miles and it managed that on one tank. The trip computer was telling me I still had 43 miles to go before the diesel had been sucked dry. Doing the maths revealed a true 52.1mpg not far off its claimed average figure of 58mpg.

Niggles were few. The steering didn’t feel like it was connected to the front wheels but steered and turned with accuracy, and there isn’t much feedback on the handling front. Oh, and I’d argue it’s not the most striking of designs but it does look modern. Er, that’s it – like I said minor complaints.    

Given that the car has racked up more than 20,000 miles in just six months goes to show just how popular the car has been to drive.  

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Current mileage: 20,555 miles

Average mpg: 50.6mpg