A significant number of Peugeot 508 customers choose the SW estate version - and you can see why. It's sensibly practical, yet very good looking. And of course it also benefits from all the technology that's revitalised the four-door second generation 508 model's proposition in the ever more competitive medium range market.
As you'd expect, this SW variant drives just as its saloon stablemate does. The hardware certainly looks promising here. There's a proper multi-link rear suspension set-up and a strong crop of engines from which buyers can choose. The previous generation 508 SW was launched with an all-diesel line-up, but a lot's changed since then and today, a car in this class needs strong petrol provision too - which it gets in this case courtesy of a couple of 1.6-litre turbo petrol units, developing either 180hp or 225hp. There's also a 130hp 1.5-litre diesel and 160hp and 180hp 2.0 diesels. Only the 1.5 diesel gets a six-speed manual gearbox; the others must be ordered with an eight-speed automatic. Peugeot can also offer you a plug-in hybrid version which uses a 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine mated to an 80kW electric motor, the resulting package offering a combined total output of 225hp.
At the wheel, you're positioned in front of an improved version of Peugeot's i-Cockpit dashboard layout, which as usual, sees you looking over the rim of the steering wheel at the instrument dials, rather than conventionally through it. And as usual, the leather-stitched tiller in question is a small, grippy thing which gives you the illusion of greater interaction with the car. Or maybe it won't be an illusion. Higher-spec models are fitted out with adaptive damping. And all variants get the usual drive modes system, which adapts steering, throttle and gear change timings to the way you want to drive.
The idea with this estate model was to bring the radical styling traits of the 508 saloon to station wagon customers. At just 1.42m in height and 4.78m long, the 508 SW's proportions give it quite a dynamic body shape, stylised by smooth, flowing lines and a sleek, low roof. The look is further enhanced further by exterior details, including frameless doors - a unique estate car feature for a mainstream carmaker. Plus there are full-LED headlights and opalescent LED daytime running lights with a vertical visual signature.
The unusual exterior looks are mirrored by an original interior, highlighted, as mentioned in our drive section, by the usual Peugeot i-Cockpit dashboard design, plus there's a large 10-inch capacitive touchscreen angled towards the driver and a 12.3-inch head-up digital instrument panel. The cabin also features i-Cockpit Amplify, which enables the driver to choose between two levels of ambience - 'Boost' and 'Relax'. As for practicality, there's a hands-free, powered tailgate, a 530-litre boot and a 'Magic Flat' function for the rear bench seat which retracts to reveal a total load space capacity of 1780-litres.
This second generation 508 SW is smarter, cleverer and better equipped. In other words, we're talking about a very complete package. Would you really want the kind of stripped-out, basic BMW 3 Series Touring or Audi A4 Avant you'd have to pay more for in preference to one of these? More pertinently perhaps, would you rather have a more ordinary-feeling Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer or Ford Mondeo estate?
These are key questions if you're in the market for a conventional spacious station wagon of this sort. Try a 508 SW and you might well find that answering them is a little easier.Click here to find out more about our Peugeot 508 SW range