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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Peugeot 508 SW GT BlueHDi 180

Click to view picture gallery“Given the number of SUVs and
  crossovers Peugeot now make,
  you could be forgiven for overlooking
  the French carmaker’s ‘grand tourer

  range of saloons and SW-badged
  estate cars...”


WITH PRICES KICKING OFF from 26K and topping out with change from 35K, the 508 estate offers a lot of space for your money. Looks-wise the 508 SW 'station wagon' is a 'bit of all right', with clean and classy lines that need no embellishments, body sculpting or bodykit add-ons to make it look appealing.

Eye-catching features include distinctive and high-tech headlight units with highly-structured lenses sitting above the sweeping arcs of daytime running lights, a wide horizontally-slatted chrome grille (sporting the brand's rampant lion motif) fronting a long, profiled bonnet that runs back to steeply raked windscreen pillars.

The 508 estate's long body is punctuated by 19-inch two-tone multi-spoke alloy wheels and fluently finished off at the tail with wraparound light units above neatly integrated trapezoidal chromed tailpipes. Overall the Frenchie's kerb-appeal is all the more appealing given its well-tailored understatement, and is a swish alternative to the German estates.

Full-size estate cars
like the 508 are bought
for two very good
reasons: masses of
cabin room and stacks
of cargo space.
The near five-metre-long
508 satisfies on both
counts — not only will it
accommodate five in
comfort but few wagons
can beat its 758-litre boot
and huge
1,865-litre loadbay...”
Full-size estate cars like the 508 are bought for two very good reasons: masses of cabin room and stacks of cargo space. The near five-metre-long 508 satisfies on both counts — not only will it accommodate five in comfort but when it's time to load-up, few wagons can beat it on luggage or cargo space: its 758-litre boot expands to a huge 1,865-litre loadbay at the drop of a seat.

What marks out Peugeot cabins these days is the classy finishing to match the more upmarket placement of their cars. You can leave the electronic key in your pocket or handbag; the door unlocks automatically the moment your fingers curl around the door handle — always welcome this feature, especially on cold, wet days (and it's on all four side doors not just the front pair).

The seats, upholstered in high-grade soft black Nappa leather with red detail stitching, are invitingly well padded. Three-stage heating can, of course, be taken for granted (it's comprehensive too, reaching high up your back as well as fully under your thighs) and there's extra cosseting in the form of a massage function for the driver which provides up to an hour of 'therapy'. In addition there's a two-setting memory that stores the head-up display settings along with seat and mirror positioning.

Both front seats are electrically-operated and there's also powered lumbar adjustment along with head restraints that are particularly effective and easy to adjust, so whoever is riding shotgun with you will also be perfectly comfortable too.

The driving position is spot-on and it's nice to see all the way down the bonnet because it makes placing the 508 in heavy traffic a no-brainer. And making it easy to keep your eyes on the road is a head-up display showing road speed, cruise control and graphic navigation information in colour, viewed on a retractable screen in the driver's line of sight. Added to which there's voice control for hands-free operation of key functions.

Further enhancing the sense of space is a panoramic glass roof with a one-shot-op sunblind for easy screening on the move; combined with the 508's large glazed areas it make you feel as though you're riding in an open car. Light is a ruthless shower-up of quality — but in the 508 SW GT's case it only confirms the first-rate trim and fit-and-finish.

Set dead-centre of the fascia is a seven-inch touchscreen featuring a comprehensive infotainment, colour reversing camera, and 3D navigation system with Mirrorscreen to accommodate your smartphone as well as Peugeot's Connect apps for finding really useful things such as nearby parking spaces, fuel prices, traffic, weather and tourist information. Reassuringly, Peugeot's Connect SOS and Assistance is also standard-fit and calls for help in an emergency either in the event of an accident or, less seriously, a breakdown.

The 508 estate handles
easily; loping along
on motorways it feels
well planted and poised
and on A and B roads
there’s sufficient
feedback through the
direct steering for the
driver to feel engaged —
enough to make the
well-composed SW GT
feel reasonably nimble
despite its five-metre
length
...”
The fascia, centre stack and central tunnel meld together as if one seamless structure, garnished with metallic-effect and high-gloss black inserts and satin chrome filleting; the soft-touch fascia and other textured trim all feels pleasant to the touch. And the leather and dark satin alloy selector knob fits comfortably into your palm. Traditionalists will be pleased to learn that the climate control is worked by manual controls, and not via the touchscreen.

Between the speedometer and rev-counter (capped with smaller gauges for oil temp, water temp, and fuel) is a multifunction driver's display that shows digital speed along with all the usual core data such as range, mpg, currently selected media/audio, navigation visual prompts, etc — all of which can be scrolled though using the buttons on the steering wheel. Keeping you 'legal', the posted speed limit is clearly displayed on the mapping.

In-cabin storage has been well thought out: the centre console includes a lidded storage box ideal for a mobile or something sweet for the trip; the centre armrest is hinged on the passenger's side for easier driver access; there are also long, deep practical door bins, pop-out cupholders that retract in/out of the centre stack (the perfect place for them!), and a glovebox with a dedicated section that holds a full-size bottle.

Needless to say that as the flagship it's got the lot — in addition to items already mentioned you'll also find automatic dual-zone climate control, an automatic electric parking brake with hill assist (switching off the engine when the car is stationary triggers the parking brake to apply automatically), front and rear parking sensors, powered one-shot windows, powerfold door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking-and-leaving), DAB digital radio, CD player, Bluetooth, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control and speed limiter, dark tinted side and rear windows.

Safety comes with a five-star Euro NCAP endorsement as well as blind spot monitoring, auto lights and wipes, full LED headlights with automatic dipping and cornering function, LED daytime running lights, front indicators, and front fog lamps, tyre pressure monitoring, Electronic Stability Programme with Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control, driver and front passenger front and side airbags plus curtain airbags for front and rear windows.

Now, about that 180bhp — the Blue HDi diesels are clean-burners thanks to Peugeot's AddBlue special exhaust cleaning technology that reduces harmful NOx (nitrogen oxides) by up to 90%, eliminates 99.9% of particulates, and optimises CO2 emissions. Open the fuel filler flap and you'll see a second smaller cap for the AddBlue reservoir — nothing to do there as it's topped up at each service.

Despite the 508s size
and automatic
transmission, your wallet
won
t take a beating
at the pumps — over a
week
s testing we
recorded an impressive
and worthy 52.7mpg.
On extended trips, a full
tank of fuel ensures
a long time between
forecourt visits with a
continent-crossing 700+
mile range...”
Not that this welcome 'cleanliness' dents the 2.0-litre's willing 140mph performance in any way — press down firmly with your right foot and you'll find that there's plenty of punch all through the rev-range (0-62 is done and dusted in 8.6 seconds). It's also well in-tune with the responsive six-speed automatic transmission, feeling likeably keen and fluent at lower speeds and making light work of heavy traffic as well as cruising serenely at 70mph, turning tiresome motorway journeys into restful sojourns.

For those times when you need to up the pace, the autobox offers a Sport programme made more joyful by a manual mode with paddle-shifters a finger-flick away from the multifunction flat-bottomed wheel's leather rim; when discretion is the better part of valour, there's a Snow programme.

And despite the 508's size and automatic transmission, your wallet won't take a beating at the pumps — officially this 180bhp automatic will return 64.2mpg in the Combined Cycle; over a week's testing we recorded an impressive and worthy 52.7mpg. As usual, 'normal' drivers are likely to close the gap to the higher figure. On extended trips, a full tank (almost sixteen gallons) of fuel ensures a long time between forecourt visits with a continent-crossing 700+ mile range.

More important than outright handling for many 508 owners will be the ride quality. Those riding in the 508 estate will have nothing to complain about; and they'll genuinely enjoy its soothing comfort over long distances — it flows along, well insulated from bumps, in a way that doesn't let you forget that the GT badge stands not so much for 'go-faster' but for 'Grand Tourer'.

The 508 estate also handles easily; loping along on motorways it feels well planted and poised and on A and B roads there's sufficient feedback through the direct steering for the driver to feel engaged — enough to make the well-composed SW GT feel reasonably nimble despite its five-metre length.

While the suspension's bias is towards comfort, it's nonetheless well judged and keeps body lean to a minimum. Overall the estate version of the 508 serves up a satisfying drive with good road-holding that will see you arriving as relaxed as when you set out.

The rear cabin is definitely a prime spot for those who like to travel and arrive unruffled — as in the front, the rear cabin offers passengers shapely pleated leather seats. Backrest angles are relaxing with plenty of legroom and there's hat-wearing headroom. Three adults can be accommodated side-by-side — but why share when two can enjoy limo-like comfort. And if the sunblind is fully open the light's fantastic. All of which makes it a fine place to hang out or just dream away the miles as the 508 estate gets on with its 'Grand Tourer' role — something it does very nicely, thank you.

The rear cabin is
definitely a prime spot for
those who like to travel
and arrive unruffled.
Backrest angles are
relaxing with plenty of
legroom and there’s hat-
wearing headroom.
Open the sunblind and
the light’s fantastic.
All of which makes it a
fine place to hang out or
just dream away
the miles.
Playing the ‘Grand
Tourer’ is something the
508 does very nicely...”
Other agreeable features include a wide and comfy drop-down central armrest with built-in twin cupholders; these have a flip-up lid-cum-support that prevents any spills if your driver is a tad over-enthusiastic. Back seat users also enjoy their own air vents, damped grabs, coat hanger hooks, reading lights, real-world door bins, and sturdy net pockets on the front seatbacks.

Drivers ferrying children in the back will be glad of the switch on the driver's door that lets them remotely deactivate the back windows and lock the rear doors, as well as the Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer back seats.

To call 508 SW's boot 'large' really doesn't tell it like it is — with 758 litres for luggage that can be extended to 1,865 litres for cargo by folding the 60:40-split rear backrests, 'massive' is probably the more accurate description. The tailgate opens high, the rear sill is set low, and the loadbay floor flat and seamless, so loading cargo of any description is straightforward.

The one-touch retracting luggage roller blind in nice to have and saves time; even opening or closing the tailgate is labour-saving — power operation (using the electronic key, fascia switch or tailgate button) is standard on the GT estate.

Should you have a need to tow, then you can pull a braked trailer up to 1,475kg. Other handy features include a ski-hatch, release levers in the boot sides for the foldable seatbacks, bag holder hooks-cum-eyelets for the stretchy luggage net, side bins which have lift-out front panels, and a quick latching dog guard.

Drive a 508 and you'll immediately take to its French style — you'll never feel rushed even when in a hurry; just at ease and in control. You can add to that a spacious interior, high equipment tally, comfortable ride, and environmentally-friendly and economical engine. I believe the only reason the 508 doesn't sell in far bigger numbers is because it's actually a very well kept secret; much like a great restaurant that people don't even tell their friends about as they want to keep the pleasure all to themselves. ~ MotorBar
.
Peugeot 508 SW GT BlueHDi 180 | 34,810
Maximum speed: 140mph | 0-62mph: 8.6 seconds | Test Average: 52.7mpg
Power: 180bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 114g/km

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