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► New Peugeot 508 SW review
► We drive smart new estate
► Could it tempt you out of SUVs?
Change might be afoot. Jean-Philippe Imperato, Peugeot’s CEO, thinks so anyway, despite riding high on the success of the 3008 and 5008 SUVs. ‘Sales of SUVs are slowing down in Europe,’ he says, ‘because buyers are having environmental concerns. So they need estate cars again. The estate car is back.’ In particular, the new Peugeot 508 SW.
Makes sense. An estate car is typically lighter than an SUV and has a smaller frontal area. Now, more change. Perhaps buyers are bored with the endless default-choice premium Germans and would like something obviously different, while still able to meet their needs and aspirations. ‘The best way to win the competition is to avoid the competition,’ says Gilles Vidal, Peugeot’s design director. ‘And if we keep the design simple, it will be timeless. If there’s too much going on, it will age.’
The 2019 Peugeot 508 SW is the result of this thinking. It’s intended to sidestep the premium hegemony, offering a different sort of ‘premium’ while also appealing to the so-called mainstream market which, as far as estate cars are concerned, is nowadays probably no bigger than the premium one anyway. In this ‘D’ segment, more estate cars than saloons are sold across Europe, especially in Germany, but this time Peugeot is not chasing sales volumes with the residual-value damage that such a strategy inflicts.
So that’s why the new Peugeot 508 SW exists. What is it, then?
The 508 Fastback (saloon-shaped but actually a hatchback) has already garnered far more critical approval than the previous-generation 508 ever managed. Crisp looks, the best interpretation yet of the ‘i-Cockpit’ interior, credible quality, decent driving dynamics and an impressive equipment list are why, and the SW builds on that promising base.
Peugeot 508 Fastback review
Peugeot, like several other manufacturers, reckons that estate cars in this size class are bought as much for reasons of style as for practicality, which is why its cargo space – with rear seats in their normal position – is actually less than in the Peugeot 308 SW from the size class below. Much greater rear legroom and a low roofline are the causes, although the latter is fractionally loftier than the very low roof of the Fastback. Overall the SW is 40mm longer than the Fastback but its wheelbase is the same.
The SW of course shares the Fastback’s dramatic nose, with its vertical-slash daytime running lights which change colour to function as indicators when needed, its crisp edges and its refreshing lack of the cliché that separate brake-cooling ducts, be they real or fake, have become. Also shared are the side view’s key features, the ridge motif sweeping around the door handles and the frameless door glass, an upmarket feature which allows a 25mm lowering of the roofline for a given size of door aperture.
The rear view mirrors the simplicity of the nose, and its avoidance of visual cliché, by having a continuous black-tinted strip across the tail incorporating highly sculpted tail-lights. The tailgate is powered, with the usual option of remote operation by sweeping a foot under the bumper.
Inside the 508 SW interior: luxury car or load-lugger?
As far as its occupants are concerned, the SW is almost exactly like the Fastback except for one vital difference: its cabin is a lot airier, so rear passengers feel less hemmed-in and the driver gets a better view aft through the bigger rear window.
So the horizontally-themed dashboard, with its high-mounted TFT-screen instrument display, its central screen with a row of quick-access toggle switches below, the high and sloping centre console and the tiny, low-mounted steering wheel are as already experienced in the Fastback. So are the ambient lighting strips and the sense of convincingly premium quality, especially in the seat coverings of the upmarket versions.
The low steering wheel, with instruments visible above rather than through it, is easy to acclimatise to and adds to the sense of space around it. The result is a driving position unusually laidback for a car not deliberately intended to be sporting, the top models’ GT or GT-Line badging notwithstanding, but still very comfortable.
The instrument displays are configurable in several variations of presentation, information and colour, including a mirroring of the sat-nav screen. And right-hand drive versions have only half a usable glovebox, an unforgiveable, PSA-specific aberration which has been inflicted on us for far too long.
Rear-seat space is ample, boot space is sufficient to make the SW a useful family load-carrier. There’s 1780 litres of cargo space with the seats folded, but as is usual nowadays the rear seat cushions stay fixed and the backrests fold down on top of them. That makes for less load height than estate cars had in days gone by, further reduced by the way the backrests don’t fold completely flat but instead give a slightly sloping floor. Part of the reason for quite a high rear load platform is to make room for the battery of the plug-in hybrid version, to be launched in the next few months.
The best hybrid cars: our pick of the best plug-ins and hybrids
An extra-luxurious Peugeot 508 First Edition version will include a boot floot in Zebrano wood.
What’s the Peugeot 508 SW like to drive?
There are no revelations here – it feels almost exactly the same as the Fastback, even allowing for slightly stiffer rear suspension to compensate for the extra rear bodywork and the likelihood of heavier loads. That means the same excellent body control in fast bends and over big undulations, and a similar tendency to firmness over bumps and ripples.
It also means the same darty steering response until you get used to the small movements required by the tiny steering wheel, and to the lack of true road feel that’s the result of the high power assistance needed to compensate for the small wheel’s lack of leverage. Once you’re in tune with it, though, which doesn’t take long, you’ll discover surprising agility and an impressive resistance to understeer.
The engine range is exactly the same as the Fastback’s, with two 1.6-litre, turbocharged petrol engines of 179 or 221bhp, a 1.5-litre turbodiesel with 129bhp, and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 161 or 179bhp. All come with an eight-speed automatic transmission; the smaller diesel, alone, can also be had with a six-speed manual. With so many gears, every ratio is always somewhere in the meat of the broad torque curve and you’re seldom left gasping as the turbo spins up to speed. Intervening manually with the paddle-shifts is largely pointless, though occasionally pleasurable.
The 221bhp petrol engine makes the SW a lively machine, impressively so for 1598cc and 1500kg, yet it’s surprisingly frugal with just 132g/km of CO2 recorded even under the new, stricter WLTP rules. But even with the lowliest, smallest diesel – an oddly growly unit at certain speeds – this hefty estate car doesn’t feel under-engined. This 100g/km CO2 engine, and the 179bhp petrol motor, are likely to be the biggest sellers; Peugeot hasn’t written-off diesel just yet.
As with the Fastback, there’s a plethora of standard or optional safety systems including Night Vision – it uses infra-red radiation to spot pedestrians in the sensors’ line of sight – and a lane-keeping system which, irritatingly, illuminates a bright yellow warning light in the instrument panel even if you’ve disabled it, having got tired of the steering wheel’s tugging on a narrow, twisty road.
The Peugeot 508 SW is an unusually good-looking estate car with the extra merit of being instantly recognisable among the hordes of brand-themed German rivals. It virtually matches them for cabin quality and driving abilities, beats most of them for standard equipment and should undercut them on price, given Peugeot UK’s guide pricing of £1600 over the cost of a same-engine, same-trim Fastback.
Most of all, though, the 508 SW dares to be different and pulls it off. We admire it for that.
508 SW prices are likely to range from £26,600 to £39,000 when UK sales start in spring 2019.
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Indeed, Euro NCAP awarded it five stars out of five, with very high ratings for adult and child occupant protection. Two Isofix child-seat points are fitted to the outer rear seats. In our 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, Peugeot finished down in equal 22nd out of 30 car makers in the manufacturers table.What is the range of a Peugeot 508 SW? ›
commitment, choose your PEUGEOT 508 SW equipped with an efficient petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engine, with up to 39 miles of driving range in Electric mode.How many miles can a Peugeot 508 do? ›
The best economy figures in the 508 range come from the plug-in hybrid 225 model. The PHEV is able to travel between 33-39 miles solely on electric power, with claimed combined fuel consumption of 166-235mpg.Why did Peugeot fail in the US? ›
Peugeot exited the U.S. market in 1991, driven out by a recession, slumping sales and the rising costs of U.S. regulations. The company had sold just 4,292 cars in 1990, nearly 80 percent below 1984 levels.Does Peugeot have a good reputation? ›
Peugeot's reliable reputation is based on various different factors, and lots of them revolve around the affordability of the brand. The smaller models of Peugeot especially tend to be regarded as both affordable and highly reliable, particularly models such as the Peugeot 107, 206, and 308.Do Peugeots hold their value? ›
Peugeot were found to hold their value the least after the firm looked at 150 of the most popular cars to work out which cars represent a bargain second-hand - and which ones have barely moved in price.Is Peugeot a high end brand? ›
PEUGEOT's new identity asserts its positioning as an innovative high-end generalist brand.Where does Peugeot rank in the world? ›
PEUGEOT improved its ranking by four places to eighth position for customer satisfaction by owners in the Driver Power survey 2020. With an overall satisfaction rating of 89.87%, PEUGEOT is just 0.98% behind Lexus, ranked number 1 in the survey.What is the most luxurious Peugeot? ›
Peugeot says that the 508 PSE can complete a 0-60mph sprint in 5.2 seconds, and travel a maximum of 26 miles on just electric power. This is the most expensive model that Peugeot has ever sold, and by current plug-in hybrid standards, that all-electric range is middling.
All engines used in the Peugeot 508 (there were at least two engine options) use a timing belt, not a chain.How many miles per gallon does a Peugeot 508 do? ›
|Petrol engines||36.3 - 50.4 mpg|
|Diesel engines||45 - 63.6 mpg|
|Plug-in petrol engines *||166.2 - 235.4 mpg|
They can last 400–500,000 miles of you look after them. That doesn't mean pussyfooting them either - diesels like to work hard, but like any engine, they benefit from timely and good maintenance.What is the real mpg of Peugeot 508 SW hybrid? ›
Officially, the 508 Hybrid can manage between 166.2mpg and 235.4mpg, but its real-world economy will depend entirely on how often you can charge the battery. Do so and you'll be able to make use of its 30 to 34-mile driving range at speeds of up to 84mph.Can I buy a Peugeot in the USA? ›
Peugeot was the last French automaker to sell cars in the U.S., but it hasn't operated dealers here since the late 1980s. Citroën puttered out of the American market in 1974. Both French brands have relatively strong footholds in Europe and South America, and Peugeots are even sold as far north as Mexico.What is the most unreliable car brand in America? ›
Given the difference between U.S. and European regulations, ordinary French cars cannot be driven in the United States. With its DS model, Citroën was the only brand to ever break through. However, it left the country in 1973 due to insufficient sales and was acquired by Peugeot, which then left America in 1991.Is Volkswagen better than Peugeot? ›
The VW is still, realistically, the better car of the two, and review scores on carwow corroborate this fact. Its objective qualities – space, refinement, comfort – are better than the Peugeot. But the Peugeot does have a healthy dose of French chic and plenty more options for really making it your own.Are Peugeot expensive to fix? ›
Peugeot and Toyota cars have been identified as the most expensive to repair, according to internal data from WhoCanFixMyCar.com.Is Peugeot made by Toyota? ›
The resulting company is called TPCA (Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile). It manufactures the Citroën C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo. This joint venture was ended in late 2020 and has been takeover by Toyota in early 2021.
They're well known for being affordable and reliable family cars and city runabouts and one of the things that attracts people to a Peugeot is that they're generally relatively cheap cars to insure.Which SUV loses its value fastest? ›
1. Maserati Levante. Chances are that if you're in the market for a six-figure sports SUV like the Maserati Levante, depreciation isn't top on your list of concerns. Still, we reckon even the most steadfast of business hands would wobble knowing how much value this SUV loses in three years.What is the most devalued car? ›
|Top 10 Vehicles With the Highest Depreciation – iSeeCars Study|
|Rank||Vehicle||Average 5-Year Depreciation|
|3||BMW 7 Series||61.5%|
Peugeot. A surname from French. A French manufacturer of cars. coordinate terms ▼
The PSA Group (Peugeot/Citroën) sells a variety of automobile engines. Later HDi engines are built as part of a joint-venture with Ford Motor Company.Which car is No 1 in world? ›
|Name||Top Speed||0-100 kmh|
|Ford GT||348 kmh/216 mph||3.3 seconds|
|Lamborghini Aventador SVJ||350 kmh/217 mph||2.8 seconds|
|Aston Martin Valhalla||354 kmh/220 mph||2.5 seconds|
|Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+||482.80 kmh/300 mph||2.4 seconds|
Peugeot sold automobiles in the United States from 1958 until its formal withdrawal in the summer of 1991.What is the most trusted car brand in the world? ›
|Headquarters||Wuhan , China|
|Area served||Mainland China|
You're right about Peugeot returning to the American market in 2023 after pulling out in 1991. However, Peugeot is not considered a luxury car in any other market across the globe. With that said, the French-made Peugeot is still an exciting option for people looking for something a little different.Are French cars reliable? ›
Much to the surprise of some commentators, a French car proved the most reliable in the 2018 Driver Power survey.Is Peugeot German or French? ›
The flagship of French industry, PEUGEOT is one of the foremost pioneers on the international automotive front. In just over two centuries, the brand's business has evolved around the principles of passion and technological innovation.Where is Peugeot 508 made? ›
The Peugeot 508 is available in three variants, is classed as a Large Car and is built in France.Do Peugeot use BMW engines? ›
It is designed in cooperation between BMW and the PSA group (Peugeot and Citroen group), but they are both using the same engines. The BMW designation for this engine is N13, N14 and N18. It uses BMW's technology for variable valve-timing.Is Peugeot 508 fast? ›
Plug-in hybrid power brings together a 1.6-litre petrol engine, along with a 11.8kWh battery which supplies a 108bhp electric motor. Total output is 222bhp, with 0-62mph covered in 8.3 seconds. As you might expect, the Hybid 360 PSE model is the quickest 508 model, dispatching the 0-62mph benchmark in 5.2 seconds.What is the top spec Peugeot 508? ›
1.6 Hybrid GT Premium 5dr e-EAT8
This top-of-the-range model adds adaptive suspension, a 360-degree camera system, full electric seat adjustment, a Focal sound system upgrade and larger 19in alloy wheels on diesel and petrol models....
The BMW i3 can be had with an available tiny range-extending gasoline engine, making it either an all-electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid. As a plug-in, it has an EPA-estimated 100 mpg-e rating.What cars get 100 miles per gallon? ›
- 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV. Combined: 119. ...
- 2014 Honda Fit EV. Combined: 118. ...
- 2014 Fiat 500e. Combined: 116. ...
- 2014 Nissan Leaf. Combined: 114. ...
- 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Combined: 112. ...
- (tie) 2014 Smart fortwo EV cabriolet. Combined: 107. ...
- (tie) 2014 Smart fortwo EV coupe. Combined: 107. ...
- 2014 Ford Focus Electric. Combined: 105.
Depending on how well you treat your car, you could potentially reach over 500,000 miles. In fact, there's a driver whose car reached even more than that.
The plant is located in Sochaux in the department Doubs, at the eastern extremity of the Franche-Comté.Is Peugeot reliable 2022? ›
The Peugeot 208 came a respectable 37th out of the top 75 models in our 2022 Driver Power survey, with an average score for reliability and build quality. Peugeot came fourth out of 29 manufacturers overall, with good results for build quality, running costs and reasonable servicing prices.Are Peugeot hybrids reliable? ›
Peugeot 3008 hybrid reliability & problems
Based on the 2022 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, prospective 3008 buyers should have little to worry about. The car finished 13th out of the 75 best new cars to own, while Peugeot as a brand finished fourth out of 29 in the manufacturer rankings.
Beyond the mechanicals, the 2022 Peugeot 508 plug-in hybrid has the same mix of equipment and trim levels as we have seen in previous models. And spoiler alert: it's quite nice. There's a nice interior with plenty of tech and nice touches, and the second row works well for loading up with kids and adults.