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Peugeot 508 SW 2.0 HDI 163 Allure

Click to view picture gallery“Estate cars are making a comeback
  with drivers looking for more space
  for less money than it costs to buy an
  MPV or SUV. Impressive both around
  town and in the country, Peugeot’s
  smart 508 SW fits the bill perfectly
...”


PRIVATE MOTORISTS WANTING TO SAVE SOME MONEY
but not compromise on image or features and equipment — have been moving across from the premium German brands to stylish, roomy volume models such as the Peugeot 508, Volvo V60/V70, Vauxhall Insignia, VW Passat, Ford Mondeo and, most recently, the very stylish Hyundai i40. Also competing in this sector are Skoda (Superb), Honda (Accord) and Toyota (Avensis).

The five-door, five-seat 508 SW models can be on your drive from 19,475 to 30,275 — and the most popular models can be had for around 22-23,000.

The 508 range offers buyers a broad range of petrol and diesel powerplants. Petrol engines come in two sizes: 120bhp 1.6 VTi and 156bhp 1.6 THP turbocharged. Turbodiesels come in even more: 112bhp 1.6 HDI, 112bhp 1.6 e-HDI (micro-hybrid with lower CO2), 140 or 163bhp 2.0 HDI, and 200bhp 2.2 HDI. Adding to the mix are both automatic or automated manual transmissions and five trim and equipment levels: Access, SR, Active, Allure and GT.

“This model will officially
return 56.5mpg in the
combined cycle — during
testing the actual figure
was an acceptable
44.7mpg.
Although down on the
official mpg, it’s still
good enough to eke out
800 miles from
one tank of fuel
...”
Driven here is the 508 SW 2.0 HDI 163 Allure turbodiesel. This comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and costs 25,105.

While we're talking figures, this model will officially return 56.4mpg in the combined cycle — during testing the actual figure was an acceptable 44.7mpg but although down on the official mpg, it's still good enough to eke out 800 miles from one tank of fuel.

Tailpipe emissions are a financially healthy 130g/km: 0 road tax for the first year and then 95 annually thereafter — impressive given the 508's size and performance.

Sticking with figures, top speed is 137mph — while you may never drive this fast, it does make cruising at the UK's legal limit on motorways pretty effortless. Nought to 62mph acceleration is done in 9.9 seconds; swift enough in real-life. What makes this particular diesel engine ideal for UK motoring is its high 251lb ft of torque — on hand from 2,000rpm, it's strong and responsive in the mid range.

The 508 SW's sleek-looking estate body creates the impression of it being a long car — in fact it measures under five metres (actually 4.81). Yet lift the tailgate and you'll find plenty of room, starting with 512 litres of boot space if the three rear split/fold seats are in use. Fold these down and you'll have an accommodating 1,598 litres.

Active, Allure and GT models feature a full-length glass roof, making the smart load-lugger's cabin nice and bright. An electrically-operated blind with a number of pre-set opening/closing steps provides just the right degree of light while blocking out any glare or excess heat.

Talking of passenger comfort, all 508 SW models have air conditioning and power front and rear windows. They also come with remote central locking, a full array of airbags plus stability and braking electronic control functions.

In addition, Allure versions have 'open and go' keyless entry with a stop/start button, power-operated, heated front seats, a very good sound system (with Bluetooth and USB), cruise control, rear parking aid, electric parking brake (annoyingly slow to use), powerfold door mirrors, half-leather trim, on-board computer and 18-inch alloys.

Happily the larger alloys don't unsettle the ride. The suspension mops up potholes with ease and one of the highlights of the test drive was the 508's first class ride comfort: firm enough to provide taut body control, it's also compliant enough for comfort — a rare combination these days. Although the electro-hydraulic steering doesn't offer a lot of feedback, it compensates with its constant weighting and response which makes driving easy at both high and low speeds as well as light for parking.

“Happily the larger alloys
don’t unsettle the ride.
The suspension
mops up potholes with
ease and one of the
highlights of the test
drive was the 508’s first
class ride comfort:
firm enough to provide
taut body control, it’s
also compliant enough
for comfort — a rare
combination these
days
...”
Passengers were also quick to praise the interior space and seat comfort. Nitpicking maybe, but at this price half-leather trim seems a tad miserly.

SR and GT spec 508 models have a SatNav fitted as standard but lesser models have to do without so while most models have a reasonable level of standard equipment, there are lots of extra-
cost options. So if you're buying on a budget, take note.

Other items worth mentioning include the daytime running lights, signature LED rear lights and the automatic lights and wipers. And while it's not a unique function in this sector, the classy and welcoming lighting function when returning to the car is certainly appreciated — press the unlock button on the fob as you approach your 508 and a number of lights come on to see you back into the car.

All-in-all, the 163bhp HDI 508 SW Allure is a really good estate car; it's not the largest load-lugger in its class but it's more than adequate for most people.

And most people who travelled in it, including myself, remarked more than once on what a good car it is. I happen to live in the country but during my test I drove the 508 SW up and down motorways, along country roads and stop-started endlessly in towns and cities. And wherever it took me, the 508 proved to be comfortable, frugal with fuel and easy to drive.

Overall there's very little to not like (ponderous electronic parking brake; SatNav should be standard at this level) and much to like: stylish, looks and feels good inside, roomy and comfortable on long journeys, a strong and responsive engine, good fuel economy and, best of all, first class ride comfort. — David Miles

Peugeot 508 SW 2.0 HDI 163 Allure | 25,105
Maximum speed: 137mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 44.7mpg
Power: 163bhp | Torque: 251lb ft | CO2 130g/km