Before talking about the new Peugeot 508, we needed to do a rant.
Everyone is still comparing French sedans to German sedans. It’s like comparing the German Shepherd and the French Bulldog: nonsence. They are two dogs, yes for sure, but it’s the only common point. Same for sedans. They have opposite philosophies, customers, design, price ranges … so please stop that!
As we don’t agree with this systematic opposition we decided not to test the sedan. Instead, we chose to drive the station wagon version of the new Peugeot 508: the Peugeot 508 SW.
Indeed, estate cars don’t suffer from this comparison syndrome and we’ve always liked station wagons: two good reasons to test it. And no reason to give points to the trunk volume trying to promote French production.
Face to the new Peugeot 508 SW
Honestly, this new car is beautiful, very beautiful, especially under the sun of Cascais in Portugal.
From the front we see a modern and aggressive car. The tapered front lights give it a real tension in the eyes. Led strip shapes like claws, or lion’s teeth, and they look pretty wild on it. More, they are attractive.
When we look at the car from the side, we notice a line taut and slender. The line from the door to the trunk is splendid, it looks like a Pininfarina’s shooting brake.
We also note the double embossing of the gas hatch, a detail that doesn’t leave us indifferent. Bravo Gilles Vidal, Sylvain Henry and Giovanni Rizzo (three designers)! Not bravo for the handles (that economy of scale requires). They are really unsightly. European manufacturers have a problem with pretty handles.
From the rear, the car gives an impression of modern robustness, especially with this dark taillights drawn like claws. It’s not very clear ? To be simpler it looks like a Volvo the French way, with a je ne sais quoi of madness. What can be better for an station wagon?
Aboard the Peugeot 508 SW, Allure or regular version
For the first test, we didn’t choose the version and to be perfectly honest it was a disappointment. The regular version in our hands (as we nicknamed it), is everyone’s car. It will probably be the most sold and the most seen in the coming years in France.
I’m white or gray, I have a diesel engine 1.6L, 130cv and almost no options. I’m, I’m … a travelling salesman car! Which explains his lack of personality and character.
Noisy in a bad way, sluggish, too soft, very very basic finishes and equipment from a 2002 Peugeot 206, only the chassis and the I-cockpit make us want to know more about this 508 SW. Rest easy, there are other versions.
Meeting the 508 SW Gt line
The sun remains the sun even behind clouds. I swap my grey and sad 508 SW for a sparkling red 508 SW. More than a color question, we go up in range !! The rims are bigger, 18 inch, and much more beautiful. A dios plastic cover imitating a exhaust line that everybody hates. Bonjour real and elegant exhaust.
Inside, hazardous imitation of the polymer carbon fiber is replaced by minimalist grey oak veneer on dashboard and centre column. It’s a quite dark but so fancy. The dashboard has a very nice shape, both minimalist and premium.
Some elements enhance the atmosphere, as the gearbox selector lever which is very well designed. As always (too often), low plastics are hard as rock and rasping like cheese graters. We notice a nice imitation aluminum line crosses the dashboard, but cut on the last centimeter, just in front of our eyes …
Driving is something else. From the first turns of wheels we hear an interesting sound that awakens our senses. Discovering the I-Cockpit in a sedan / station wagon (already in the 208 GTI we tested), I was a little surprised. We used to have large and luxurious steering wheel in this kind of car. However, it’s so comfortable and fun. The car feels like a 4.77m go karting, especially in sport mode: great Peugeot are back.
Driving the most powerful Peugeot 508 SW
After this appetizer, we could try the 225cv version of the Peugeot 508 SW. Perfect opportunity to confirm first impressions. Surprisingly, the small 4 cylinder 1.6L is very expressive. In sport mode, the engine exploits all its resources. From mid to high rpm, we hear it purring with a metallic sound that we haven’t heard since the 90s. What a simple happiness!
On the winding roads of Rally de Portugal the car is well balanced, chassis is excellent, front-end super efficient and sporty, with its 221 foot pounds of torque. Special mention for front axle and suspensions which are surprisingly agile! Confortable when we needed to, dynamic on simple request.
From 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 secondes, that’s definitely not a space rocket (It’s not the intention, for the moment …) but it gives you amazing sensations and that’s what we wanted. Sad grandpas we used to see behind the wheel of Peugeot station wagons would be most becoming smiling gentlemen drivers?
Suspensions are just what we expected, not too smooth. Gearbox is relatively efficient, even if we regret the sport mode doesn’t offer shift gears ability … there is a “manual” mode, but it offers regular settings of the car. Too bad, we already saw us crossing Europe by county roads.
#FunToDrive score : 76/100
Difficult to detach from the image of daddy car serious and boring we could have with modern Peugeot. Except when we see the new 508 SW GT. Level design is a masterpiece, the French station wagon is elegant and original, two qualities that rarely go together. Then on the road (with the 1.6L Puretech 225cv engine) you’ll never guess what happened: Peugeot produced a healthy estate with a real dynamic character. A guilty pleasure, may be a little old fashioned, which reminds us wagons from childhood. Perfect for driving a sleepy family on highways and also keep it awake all day long on small winding roads. We really enjoy driving this station wagon thanks to pure and direct sensations. Could we try it again with a 300 or 350cv engine? It would really be a nice gift for 2019, Peugeot. And maybe Peugeot Sport can take care of it?
It’s now time for you to discover our “Peugeot 508 SW” story at the top of our Instagram profile.
And please keep station wagons gorgeous and #FunToDrive.