Peugeot 508 opens up to the world with makeover

The 508 SW has got a new look, its first since 2010, and with a huge panoramic roof, it will let you see the city and country in a new way, writes John O’Mahony.

I like to change my car every year. Well to be more precise, I like to go through the ritual of changing my car every year. Along with the now hollow, annual promise to improve my overall wellbeing come early January, I’m eager to commit to a newer model.

And so begins the financial flirting with a succession of car sales staff — ‘you show me yours, you can drive away in mine’ sort of thing.

Last year, I was up for something a little more rough and rugged and so flirted briefly with a Land Rover Discovery, exchanged phone numbers with a Range Rover Evoque, and even took an Audi Q5 on a quick date.

But after a few days, the interest cooled and, like previous years, I knew my heart just wasn’t in it.

This year, I started the showroom romance even earlier. I was smitten by the exciting array of estates (or as some manufacturers have renamed them, Shooting Brakes) on offer and was anxious to, well, put a keyring on it.

Peugeot 508 opens up to the world with makeover

As well as getting what you’d expect from an estate — space, comfort, practicality, and a certain cool factor in something that isn’t an SUV — some of the models currently on offer are just great to look at.

Aesthetically, the Peugeot 508 SW fits into that category. Like some of its smaller siblings, it’s had a major makeover, its first since it was introduced in 2010 and greatly improving the overall appearance.

The blurb emphasis the new face — the two-tiered effect on the bonnet, the full LED inset lights, and new grille — all adding to the overall muscular effect.

Thanks to the absolutely enormous panoramic roof, there are effectively two interiors: One with the roof closed, the other with it open.

Even on the darkest of days, it makes no sense to keep it closed, such was the sense of space and room, not to mention the views.

Peugeot’s big push is “luxury at a reasonable price” and it is eager to point out that the 508 offers more spec, greater levels of comfort, and a bigger bang for your buck than its more recognised rivals.

Peugeot 508 opens up to the world with makeover

Spec on spec, it’s hard to argue with that. Standard equipment on the entry Access model includes 7” multi-function touchscreen, 16” alloys, full-size spare wheel, Bluetooth with USB connectivity, cloth trim, front and rear electric windows, cruise control, and hill assist.

The level 2, Active range gives you a rear parking aid, automatic headlights and wipers, multi-function leather steering wheel and Sat Nav.

For an additional €2,100, the Level 3 Allure model adds full leather upholstery, 18” alloys, keyless entry, electric parking brake, and front and rear parking aid with reverse camera.

As you expect from an estate, there is plenty of leg and headroom in front and back. Both front seats are electronically adjustable and supported, allowing for both comfort and excellent visibility. As well as the revamped styling, Peugeot has launched a new range of diesel engines. The 1.6 HDi, 115hp tested struggled and was a little noisy at times. So if you plan on filling the boot or piling in the kids, the 2-litre, 140hp may be a better option.

Given the size of the car the handling was good and the ride was both smooth and comfortable. Around town and to and from school, it preformed reasonably well, with a little noise on open roads but nothing too off putting.

Overall, the week I spent with the 508 was very enjoyable. It looks great — the estate better than the saloon, in my opinion, and offers both comfort and tech on the inside.

The boot, at 512 litres, can handle the demands of most families, with the rear seats easily folded away to create oceans of space.

I was never sold on the practicality of panoramic roofs for city, but seeing how much it transformed the interior and overall look of the car, I can see the attraction.

Peugeot has clearly upped the ante and, even in a crowded segment, has come up with an offering that will appeal to many.

Now where did I put my shopping wishlist again.

THE LOWDOWN

Peugeot 508 SW estate Allure

Prices from €29,290 — model tested, €31,495

Engine: 1.6 HDi

Power: 115hp

Transmission: 6-speed manual

CO2 112/km (Band A4 €200 per annum)

Economy: 4.3 litres /100km (66mpg)

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