First Drive

First Drive: Peugeot 508 SW

The story:
Peugeot’s striking 508 gets a new estate version to go with the fastback launched in 2018.
Category:Upper Medium
Key rival:Volkswagen Passat
Peugeot 508 SW 2.0 BlueHDI 180 EAT8
On sale:Now

The new Peugeot 508 certainly made an impression when the fastback model was launched last autumn, with the striking styling breathing some new life into a fairly conservative sector that’s suffering from drivers moving to the newer breed of crossovers and SUVs.

Now the estate SW model has arrived to broaden the 508 range, and the load-lugger is expected to take up to half of sales when it is up to speed. It costs an additional £1600 over its fastback sibling, and comes with the same choice of three diesel and two petrol engines, all offered with an EAT8 automatic gearbox; the entry-level 130hp diesel also has a six-speed manual option.

First Drive-July 2019-Peugeot 508 SW-Image 8The 508 SW is certainly a stand-out estate from a looks perspective, mostly thanks to its aggressively styled front end; the rear is a little bit more conformist but it’s still a fair bit more stylish than those of most rivals.

However, that sleek look does inhibit rear visibility; the rear window almost resembles a letterbox, and the thick rear pillars don’t help.

The diesels will, between them, account for three quarters of 508 sales, and they’re an efficient bunch, though the entry 130hp model is a little lacklustre. The top-spec 180hp model driven here, suffers not from that issue and offers pretty rapid performance. The ride quality isn’t so impressive, with the 508 SW thumping over potholes and large bumps, while not really settling down over more rippled asphalt.

The question of rivals is an interesting one, because Peugeot cites the premium Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3-Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class Estate, as well as the VW Passat, and has priced the 508 SW accordingly. The car can carry off the comparison from styling and interior quality perspectives, but there’s still a question mark over whether buyers will pay the thousands more than it would cost for a top-spec Skoda Superb or Vauxhall Insignia wagon, both of which can trump the 508’s 530-litre boot space with the rear seats up. Indeed, even the previous-generation (but less stylish) 508 had more space.

But all credit to Peugeot for actually producing the most head-turning and dramatic mainstream estate for some time, and backing it up with good interior quality and decent spec across the range. It just looks expensive compared with traditional rivals, and requires premium buyers to make the jump into the French brand.


Paul Barker

The verdict

Great looks, nice interior, good residual values and decent emissions are undermined by the high price.