Peugeot 508 SW roadtest proves its family talents

ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: Peugeot 508 SW Allure HDi 140

Enjoying a trip to the seaside - Peugeot's 508 SW proved to be the ideal family transport.

Peugeot’s 508 SW proves to be the perfect travelling companion. DAVID HOOPER packs it to the gills with “stuff” and heads south.

WHEN it comes to choosing the ideal transport for a family holiday, the “Allure” of a top-of-the range Peugeot 508 SW is hard to resist.
First of all, it’s big – big enough to accommodate all the luggage you need for a summer holiday, and big enough to travel long distances in comfort.
Secondly, it’s economical, thanks to Peugeot’s refined and frugal 140bhp diesel engine, the fuel costs were kept to a minimum, with a combined fuel consumption in the mid-40s.
The privacy glass was also useful for concealing all the things that had to be left in the car, not all of which could be covered by the retractable load cover, which winds itself away at the touch of its handle.
No matter how big the car is, it seems we always manage to pack it to the gills with food, inflatable mattresses, bedding, all our walking gear, rucksacks, boots – and the other must-have for a holiday break in England – waterproofs.
With a spare seat in the back, we opted to drop the backrest down for added flat storage, in the SW it’s a one-handed operation – just pull a lever and the seatbacks flop down all on their own, increasing the already generous luggage space.
The other plus with this car was the full-length panoramic sunroof which adds a new dimension for passengers travelling in the back who can keep an eye on what’s happening above the car, as well as to the sides. If only the camera had been to hand we could have captured a small helicopter directly above the car as it came in to land at a regional airport we passed during our travels. An electric screen glides across to shield rear occupants from the sun, which is handy if youngsters are trying to play computer games in the back.
During our trip to an increasingly crowded, but still beautiful north Cornwall coast, the attractively-styled SW acquitted itself with considerably aplomb, reinforcing my view that it’s a tremendous all-rounder and worthy of the critical praise that it has received.
It does everything well, and this highly-specced model left me wanting for nothing – except perhaps for memory positions for the electric seats.
The 508 SW is a big car, and with the boot packed to the rafters with “stuff”, I was glad of the rear parking sensors which made getting in and out of tight parking spaces that bit easier. The front sensors were equally useful, as the long bonnet was difficult to gauge after only a day or two at the helm.
Equipped with Peugeot’s latest sat-nav system getting from A to B was simplicity itself, although there is still no substitute for a good map in some situations. The Bluetooth phone connection was also useful for keeping in touch with friends we’d arranged to meet at some of the many tourist attractions the South West has to offer.
Spending more time than usual with this car, I also got quite used to Peugeot’s innovative heads-up display which is a small Perspex screen which rises up when the start button is pressed. It displays the car’s speed and cruise control settings in the driver’s eye-line, negating the need to look down at the controls and take your eyes off the road. It also projects the sat-nav graphics, which I found particularly useful in busy traffic – of which there was plenty in late August!
The SW’s six gears were well chosen, giving a good spread of torque, which allowed me to tackle Cornwall’s narrow lanes with the minimum of gear changes, while at motorway speeds, the rev counter settled around the 2,000rpm mark, which helped maximise the economy.
The only negative point I discovered was that the dashboard top reflected on the windscreen and was made all the more noticeable by the aperture for the head-up display.
For a family on the move, I think the 508 SW is a match for anything on the market at the moment, and with prices starting from £19,500, it offers tremendous value for money and is £1,400 cheaper than the entry-level VW Passat estate.

Rating: ★★★★★★

Whichever way you look at it, the Peugeot 508 SW is a good looking car!

From Access 1.6 VTi EGC 5dr (£19,475) to GT 2.2 HDi FAP 5dr (£30,275).
1997cc, 140bhp four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
Top speed 130mph.
0-62mph in 10.1 secs.
City: 44.1mpg.
Country: 72.4mpg.
Combined: 58.9mpg.
Fuel tank: 72 litres.
Group 28.
3 years/60,000 miles.
• All data correct at time of publication.