Test drive: Peugeot 508 SW Allure HDi 163
The TotallyMotor Verdict
Fresh from my (enjoyable) wheel-time with the Peugeot 508 GT saloon (with 204bhp!), and it’s straight from one high-quality French interior and (hopefully) right into another one.
The 508 saloon was difficult car to criticise. I liked the look of it – especially on swanky 19-inch alloys – and the driving experience was fast, smooth and seriously miles-munching. But that was a £29,000 car.
This Peugeot 508 SW, the estate variant, is priced at £25,105 OTR for this near-top-trim Allure model, so it should be right up there with the saloon GT in terms of comfort and class-feel. Combined economy is quoted at 56.4mpg, and with 163bhp of turbodiesel power it should be no slouch either.
Test drive: Peugeot 508 SW Allure HDi 163
If you like the launched-in-mid-2011, 508 saloon for its modern styling lines then the smoothly-stretched SW should also tickle the right sort of fancy.
The handsome face is there, complete with trick LED driving lights and plenty of interesting detailing around the front grille, but instead of the saloon body we’ve got an estate roofline that gently descends from the top of the A-pillar all the way to the boot-lid-meeting C-pillar; terminating in a square, clean and uncluttered rear.
All in all, I’m finding the longer 508 comes across with a depth of design maturity, which may sound a little “la-de-da,” but if the Lion is going to compete strongly with the German brands all new Peugeot cars will need to keep up on this quality look and feel.
Into the interior:
Many of the current crop of longer Peugeots – like the Peugeot 308 SW just tested here – come equipped with a full-length glass roof, that can be electrically “blinded” to varying degrees with a click of a rotating dial, but, like in the 308, and even on grottier days, I like to leave the 508 SW’s expansive interior fully open to this mood-enhancing skylight. It doesn't open like a sunroof, mind.
All of this extra light illuminates a well-built and well-finished inner space with all passengers and the boot space – rear seats up or down, and easy to configure – fairing well in terms of sheer capacity, against the segment competition.
Like the 508 saloon, I found myself about 90% comfortable when driving the SW. The half-leather seats look and feel good and there’s plenty of adjustment in the seat in this high-spec car, but I would’ve preferred a little lower than the lowest setting for the seat and a little more reach to the steering wheel. Not a huge impact on comfort but it’s nice to strive for position-perfection.
You may or may not like the automatic switch-controlled handbrake. Most new cars have this console-clutter-clearing feature, so we’ll have to get used to them, but I did find the 508’s electric handbrake a little sluggish to bite or release. All in, however, this Peugeot’s interior can hold its hold its head up amongst the competition.
The smoothly-powerful 2-litre, turbodiesel motor – incidentally, the same one as nestled up front of the Peugeot RCZ coupe also just tested here – lends this 508 an easy-going, easy to drive character – complete with well-ratio’d, if slightly over notchy, 6-speed manual gearbox.
However, for a car like this – big and comfortable, with many motorway miles to make easy – I’d go for the automatic gearbox I tried in the 508 GT saloon. It’s not the perfect automatic gearbox but does a fine enough job when left to its own devices, and for faster fun there’s manual paddle-shifting.
Big bumps are smoothly soaked and body roll is controlled, but sharper jars aren’t dealt with so quietly. Front-end acceleration-grip I found to be lacking a little on wet roads with the engine’s torque overwhelming the tyres. This didn’t happen so noticeably in the 508 GT, because the two models have different front suspension set ups.
The top-spec GT gets a more expensive double wishbone front suspension, whereas this one-trim-below Allure gets the more usual MacPherson struts, and I could feel the difference between the two types, after closely back-to-back drives.
It’s not that the “standard” suspension is particularly bad, it’s just that the double wishbone design works very nicely. You should try them both…
During our week together, the 508 SW showed between very-late-30s and early 40s on the in-dash mpg readout, which is on a par with other similarly-powered cars I’ve sampled in this segment, while performance stats of 9.9secs to 62mph and 137mph top speed certianly felt (and sound) plenty quick enough on the commute.
Ten second sum up:
Peugeot 508 SW Allure HDi 163 is a stylish-looking estate car with a fine interior, plenty of space and commendable build quality. I did find some issues with ride and acceleration-grip on the (damp) road, but with so many engine choices on offer, a little less power could well be the solution.
Prices and availability:
The Peugeot 508 SW range starts at £19,475 for the 508 SW Access 1.6 VTi and rises to £30,275 for the GT 2.2 HDi 200. Price as tested, £25,105, plus metallic paint at £450, for the Allure HDi 163. Available now.
By Daniel Anslow
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