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Car Review

Peugeot 508 SW review

£34,910 - £54,970
710
Published: 17 Jan 2024
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

It feels wieldy, lithe and confident on the road. Several factors contribute. First, it actually is light, especially the 1.2 version at 1,455kg. Second, you sit low, gripping that small wheel. Third, it rolls little. The 508 dives keenly into a bend, turns gamely, and its front-to-back grip levels are well balanced.

The 1.2 version is even more usefully agile on tight turns and roundabouts, and you do feel the extra weight in 1.6 four-cylinder PHEV.

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What about the tiny steering wheel?

Yeah, everyone comments. Some love it, some dislike it intensely. We reckon it suits Peugeot's higher-riding cars more. The wheel is small and low and the instruments sit up on top of the dash so you see them above the wheel rim. That means you don't have to divert your eyes far from the road.

But if you like to adjust the wheel high, and you sit low with the backrest reclined, the rim will obscure the dials.

You might expect a small wheel would lead to twitchiness, but actually the system is well calibrated and you can easily place the car very accurately, swinging neatly between apexes on a twisty section of road. It still holds its dual-carriageway lane with ease though. It also usefully cuts the arm-flailing when manoeuvring at low speeds.

Is the performance ok from those small engines?

The 1.2 needs to be worked hard, but it doesn't mind that. The chattery soundtrack is fun, torque is spread pretty evenly across the revs and lag is no great bother. But yeah, 0-62mph in 10 seconds is nothing to boast about.

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So, to the 1.6 hybrid. It cuts the 0-62 to 8.0s. On a long full-throttle section - overtaking up a hill, say - it is usefully brisk. And in gentle driving the two power sources play well together, and quietly.

But when you're coming onto the throttle vigorously, you get messy take-up and frustrating delays while the engine connects then comes on boost and the transmission downshifts.

You can prevent the engine from stopping by going into sport mode, and there are gearshift paddles too. But it defaults back to auto after just a few seconds, so any attempt to hold a gear between corners is pretty much doomed. Instead it'll shift up, then when you come out of the next bend it'll probably shift down more gears than you want and scream for dear life.

It's not even efficient when you're in a hurry. We saw 40mpg on an 80-mile trip that also drained the battery. Still, by contrast in pure-EV mode it's silent, smooth and the 110 electric horsepower is lively enough for the suburbs. Range in that mode is 30-odd miles.

For what it's worth, the 508 SW PSE will blast through 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and reach 155mph if you've got a runway at your disposal. Just sayin'.

Does the 508 SW ride well?

At main-road speeds the ride's taut but not uncomfortable. There's a bit of thump at town speeds, and patter when the road's corrugated or serves up sharp-edged bumps or potholes. The dampers keep good control of body motion. The optional adaptive dampers come with 19-inch wheels, and they don't make a vast difference other than offsetting the extra harshness of the shallower tyre sidewalls.

Despite the frameless doors, wind noise is no problem, so big mileage cruising on motorways is no issue. But tyre noise on coarse surfaces draws attention to the undercarriage.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

1.6 Hybrid4 360 Sport Engineered 5dr e-EAT8
  • 0-625.2s
  • CO2
  • BHP350
  • MPG
  • Price£54,970

the cheapest

1.2 PureTech Allure 5dr EAT8
  • 0-6210s
  • CO2
  • BHP128.7
  • MPG
  • Price£34,910

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