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View all Peugeot 508 reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Interesting and good-looking alternative to premium rivals

Peugeot 508 SW (19 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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PROS

  • Handsome, individual looks
  • Refreshingly different from premium rivals
  • Powerful and economical engines
  • Innovative, upmarket interior

CONS

  • Top-spec models are pricey
  • Load floor not flat when rear seats folded
  • Safety systems can be intrusive
  • Tiny glovebox in right-hand drive cars

PROS

  • Handsome, individual looks
  • Refreshingly different from premium rivals
  • Powerful and economical engines
  • Innovative, upmarket interior

CONS

  • Top-spec models are pricey
  • Load floor not flat when rear seats folded
  • Safety systems can be intrusive
  • Tiny glovebox in right-hand drive cars

Peugeot 508 SW rivals

The Peugeot 508 SW is the practical alternative to the sleek 508 Fastback, but hasn’t skimped on style in its transformation into a versatile estate.

There are plenty of eye-catching features from the large LED running lights/indicators at the front that resemble a lion’s tooth, full-width black panel across the back and neat proportions, but that’s not enough to impress when it’s competing with the likes of the Volkswagen Passat Estate, BMW 3 Series Touring, Audi A4 Avant and Volvo V60. That’s right, Peugeot has gone premium with the 508, but families prioritising practicality and value won’t be ignoring cars like the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer and Skoda Superb Estate.

It’s off to a good start with sharp styling, a wide range of powerful yet economical engines and a showstopping interior design like nothing else in the estate car class. But does it have the practicality and driving credentials to really impress?

Why the Peugeot 508 looks so much better than before

The 508 SW is a car that doesn't directly compete with premium offerings but instead offers an alternative form of desirability. That's Peugeot's plan, at least, and the company also points to renewed interest in estate cars as buyers, according to its research, show signs of turning away from SUVs on environmental grounds.

These estate cars aren't necessarily utilitarian beasts of burden, at least in the size class inhabited by the 508. They are bought as much for their style, which is why – as here – they can get away with actually having less load space than an estate car in a smaller size class, such as the practicality-oriented Peugeot 308 SW.

The design is at its best in higher-spec trims, which get the attractive LED front and rear lighting signature that sets this load-lugger apart from its rivals.

Peugeot 508 SW GT interior - red leather

What are the engine choices?

The SW's engine range is exactly the same as the Fastback's, which means a pair of 1.6-litre, turbocharged petrol engines of 180 and 225hp, a 1.5-litre turbodiesel with 130hp, and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 163 or 180hp.

All are matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, but a six-speed manual is also available with the 1.5-litre diesel. Even under the more stringent new WLTP emissions test regime all the engines are impressively economical, given the size and weight of car they have to haul: 100g/km CO2 for the small diesel, while even the 225hp petrol SW scores just 132g/km.

Peugeot expects the diesel derivatives to sell strongly despite the market downturn for diesel, and indeed we’ve been impressed by all BlueHDi variants, but the sweet spot of the range – for private buyers at least – is a 508 SW powered by the lively, frugal and very civilised 1.6-litre PureTech 180 petrol engine.

The highest output engine, with 225hp, feels noticeably punchier than the 180 but somehow doesn’t suit the 508 SW’s comfy, laid-back character quite as well. At the other end of the range, the 1.5-litre BlueHDi is nicely efficient, but can be a little rattly and noisy when getting up to speed and the manual gearbox a little underwhelming to use.

Is it spacious enough for the family?

Peugeot has an extensive back-catalogue of roomy estate cars and the latest iteration of the 508 SW is no different.

The previous model was a relatively spacious vehicle, with room enough for four six-foot-plus adults, and this new 508 SW has the same amount of space behind the front seats. It’s not commodious in the way a Skoda Superb Estate is back there, but certainly more generous than an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series – both smaller cars, but ones Peugeot thinks buyers will be considering alongside this new French protagonist.

With the rear seats in place there’s 530 litres of space available below the fabric luggage cover, extending to 1,780 when the seats are dropped down.

Tell me about the plug-in hybrid…

Electrification is coming: joining the range late in 2019 will be a 508 SW plug-in hybrid (PHEV), marrying up a petrol engine with electric power.

The Hybrid version will use the PureTech 180 petrol engine in combination with an electric motor for a combined system output of 225hp and an electric driving range of up to 30 miles.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make for much in the way of tax incentives for company car drivers in the UK, since benefit-in-kind is calculated based on both CO2 output and the range available on electric power alone.

The 508’s range is simply not long enough for much of a discount in the coming years. BIK will be payable at 13%, 16% and 14% for the next three tax years, assuming the CO2 emissions fall below 50g/km. If not, it’ll be more expensive still. If the electric range was longer, that third year could drop to 12% or even 8% in 2020/21 – saving you significant cash.

Peugeot 508 SW rivals

Other Peugeot 508 models: