We really have to come out and say it straight off the bat: the Peugeot 508 SW is one of the best looking estate- or wagon-style vehicles on the market right now at any price. It builds on the striking but stylish look of the 508 sedan but adds extra coolness and practicality courtesy of the wagon shape.

It debuted a few months after the three-box hatch (which looks like a sedan, but it really isn’t) was unveiled at the 2018 Geneva motor show, where people flocked around the Peugeot stand to get a better look at it - I’ve literally never seen a motor show stand more crowded, and as I was approaching it, I thought Peugeot had unveiled a surprise concept. In the end, it was actually the production-spec 508.

The 508 SW I think looks even better than the already pretty hatchback, especially since it’s not really a boxy, traditional wagon, but more of a fastback/shooting brake type of vehicle. Unusually for a load lugger of its type, it ticks the “looks like it’s moving while standing still” cliché box.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW Exterior

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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The front end of the 508 SW is identical to that of the sedan, and nothing is really different until the B-pillar where the roofline keeps extending back all the way to the end of the car. The resulting shape is quite attractive, from whichever angle it may happen to be viewed, thanks to excellent proportions and an aggressive, planted look.

The 508 SW has the same daring headlight design as the sedan, with big daytime running lights that start in the headlight clusters and extend surprisingly far down, near the lower edge of the bumper.

Peugeot designers have also made the leading edge of the hood protrude outward quite visibly, making its front end look quite pert and purposeful.

One nice design touch is the placing of the 508 model name above the grille, on the nose of the car - Peugeot is definitely proud of this car and they want to show it off wherever and however they can.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Viewed straight from the side, the 508 SW isn’t as wedge-shaped as some rivals, and its belt line actually begins to drop down and taper above the rear wheel - this really gives it quite a premium look.

Like the sedan, the SW has a road-hugging stance thanks to wide haunches and wheels fairly close to the corners of the car.

The rear end is especially attractive, thanks to the design of the rear light clusters both of which are integrated into a piece of black trim that runs from side to side. There is a slight hint of Mustang in the rear lights, but unlike the Ford, which has three vertical bars on each side, the Peugeot has three sets of three narrower bars which put on a light show when the car is locked and unlocked.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Peugeot will sell you the 508 SW in several flavors and the most basic model doesn’t get the long daytime running lights that cut down into the bumper - that piece is replaced by plastic trim and the only daytime lights are confined to the headlight clusters.

The front bumper itself is less aggressive, and the rear lacks the diffuser found on the higher spec GT and GT Line models.

One design feature that you will definitely notice, especially when the doors are open, is that all side windows are frameless - that just adds a touch of extra class for a fixed roof model, as this is a feature usually reserved for premium cars... and some older Subaru models.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW Interior

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Many cars look dramatic on the outside but feature a tamer and restrained interior, but the 508 is not one of them. In the spirit of recent Peugeots with striking interiors, the 508 takes it one step further by using the best and most premium feeling materials on any car in their current range.

It looks and feels as good as most luxury rivals, and in fact, in terms of design there is literally currently nothing else like it in the industry.

It still has a smaller than usual steering wheel compared to any other car on sale, and Peugeot wants you to look over it, not through it at the dials (or as the manufacturer likes to call it, the “i-Cockpit”). Some people like this, others don’t, but it certainly creates a unique look. The automatic gear selector is also a peculiar shape, but just like most other strange selectors we find in cars nowadays, it actually feels great in the hand and has decent ergonomics.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Top of the range models have a fully-digital gauge cluster in front of the driver, as well as a 10-inch touchscreen for the infotainment.

I had a chance to test it out in Geneva earlier this year, and while it certainly looks good, touch response is not as good as the best systems out there can offer.

Below the infotainment screen, Peugeot has placed some uniquely shaped buttons for the heated seats, and basic climate controls - you still have to use the touchscreen to adjust temperature and some other climate control related parameters. Top of the range 508s come fitted with a premium ten-speaker sound system by Focal.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Space and comfort should also prove pretty good, and the slight problem of rear headroom of the five-door model is negated by the SW’s higher roofline that extends all the way back. It’s certainly nowhere near as cavernous as some boxier rivals, but it shouldn’t prove uncomfortable to travel in the back of either.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW Drivetrain

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Being aimed mostly at the European market, Peugeot has given the 508 SW gasoline, diesel, and hybrid powertrains to make it as competitive as possible. At launch, the 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine will be available in either 180 or 225 metric horsepower outputs, and there is no manual gearbox option - just the eight-speed self-shifter is offered. The most powerful gasoline turbo unit is only available in the sportier GT model.

The 130 metric horsepower 1.5-liter diesel, however, is offered with a six-speed manual, although it too can be had with the same eight-speed auto.

The 2.0-liter diesel is available with either 160 or 180 horses twinned only twinned with the automatic.

Peugeot says that the eight-speed it uses has a freewheeling mode available between 25km/h (15mph) and 130km/h (80mph) and it is said to improve overall efficiency by up to 3 percent.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Later on in 2019, the 508 SW will be available for order as a plug-in hybrid with an electric-only range of 50 km (estimation calculated for the new WLTP cycle). It is going to be the only all-wheel-drive model in the range which has the same 1.6-liter turbo engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor powering the rears.

Peugeot is reportedly planning to launch an even more powerful version than the GT with its 225 horses, but it is currently unclear whether this will be the hybrid or another one altogether.

As a reminder, Peugeot makes the most powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot in the world, which makes 270 metric horsepower and currently only powers the hot 308 GTi, but it could be what motivates this most powerful 508 (which may or may not be called GTi).

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Handling-wise, those who’ve driven the car say it is certainly sharp to drive and it is fun to throw around, although the driving experience doesn’t quite live up to the rakish styling and what you’d imagine it to drive like based on the way it looks. There are certainly more fun, sportier rivals to pick from in the segment, especially since based on how much a 508 SW costs, it may be cross-shopped against the BMW 3-Series, or the Mercedes C-Class , both of which are better drivers’ cars.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW Price

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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When Peugeot launched the previous generation 508, it announced its intention for it not only to replace the 407, but also the larger 607, so the car grew in size over the 407 and it was also priced somewhere in between the two models. Now, with the latest 508 and 508 SW, the French automaker is moving the car upmarket without changing its size and it wants to muscle in on premium territory.

In its native France, the 508 SW starts from €33,600 (the equivalent of around $38,500) in base Allure trim, but it is decently equipped for an entry-level model. However, should you be interested in the top of the line GT variant, that will set you back from €47,300 (which equates to roughly $54,120) and there are still options boxes left to tick, one of which is the diesel engine option which further bumps up the price to €48,900 (or right around $56,000).

You can make it way more expensive than €50,000 (or over $57,200) if you really want to, by adding some of the features not even the GT gets as standard. The red leather interior, for instance, adds another €1,000 (or around $1,150), or one of the two most expensive paint finish options (Rouge Ultimate and Blanc Nacré) add another €920 (or $1,052), the opening panoramic roof adds €1,300 (or around $1,490), the 19-inch rims another €570 (or $650) and the night vision system yet another €1,400 (or $1,600) - and there are still more options to add.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW Competition

Volkswagen Passat Variant

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2015 Volkswagen Passat High Resolution Exterior
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Believe it or not, the base 508 SW is more expensive than the base VW Passat estate, which is a few hundred Euros cheaper than the Peugeot. The Passat is without a question the benchmark for a premium feeling wagon in the segment without a premium badge, and while you may look at it and think it’s a bit boring, it’s actually probably the best and most well rounded vehicle in its class.

Its driving dynamics are decent, its interior is better than that of some actual premium-badged cars and it has so many gadgets it would put the Peugeot to shame. It looks nowhere near as bold and dramatic as the French car, though, so it’s really more of a sensible buy in the segment, one you carefully plan - it certainly lacks the “I want it now” factor that the 508 SW has in spades.

Read our full review on the Volkswagen Passat Variant

Mazda6 wagon

2018 Mazda6 Tourer Exterior
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If there is one vehicle trying a similar premium-like but not really premium approach, it’s the Mazda6 wagon which still probably remains the prettiest car to look at in the segment. It is more understated than the Peugeot, but it still turns heads and with the latest update it’s received, its interior quality and design finally match its lofty aspirations.

Its starting price in Europe is higher than both the Peugeot 508 SW and the VW Passat estate (€34,700 or around $39,700) and unlike its rivals it lacks any kind of turbocharged gasoline powerplant or electric/electrified versions. And it’s not going to get any of these, although its engines are actually not bad, not even the base 2.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline burning four-pot; it also has the best feeling manual gearbox in the segment, although automatics are probably more popular here, as proven by Peugeot’s mostly automatic approach to the 508 range.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda6 wagon

Opel Insignia Tourer

2018 Opel Insignia GSi Sports Tourer High Resolution Exterior
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Opel has built on the success of the first Insignia tourer, which replaced the load-lugging Vectra, with this much improved second-gen model which improved on the first one significantly. It is even more stylish to look at from the outside, plush-feeling to sit inside of and it’s really not bad to be and travel in at all.

If you get a well specced model with one of the more powerful engines, the amazing AGR optional seats and some more tech options, it’s really not a bad way to spend your cash in the segment. Its starting price of around €28,000 (or around $32,000) also makes it considerably cheaper than rivals, although it’s really not far off any of them in any measurable way.

Read our full review on the 2018 Opel Insignia Tourer

Audi A4 Avant

2016 - 2018 Audi A4 High Resolution Exterior
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Since all these vehicles have luxury car aspirations and want a piece of premium pie, it is worth comparing them against an established premium load lugger of the same size: the Audi A4 Avant. And believe it or not, but its starting price is almost identical to that of the Peugeot - you can have an A4 Avant in Europe starting from €33,670 (which equates to roughly $38,500), a price which really puts things into perspective.

Sure, you can easily double it with options, and it is probably less well equipped than the Peugeot, VW, Mazda or Opel, but none of these names can touch it in terms of prestige, interior quality, refinement and technology - the Passat certainly comes close, but the Audi just feels more special to be in, and for many the fact that it has the four-ringed badge will be the clincher.

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi A4 Avant

Conclusion

2019 Peugeot 508 SW
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Peugeot has high ambitions for the 508 and 508 SW and it has all the reason to be hopeful for a success story: the car looks just brilliant both inside and out, with unmatched style and great quality for a non-premium vehicle in its segment. It has sufficient engine options and a sporty GT version at the very top of the range to add credibility to all other models and plans to introduce an even hotter one which may or may not be the expected plug-in hybrid variant.

It is certainly a head-turning vehicle in a segment not necessarily known for it, but through the way it’s priced, Peugeot is aiming it squarely at established rivals with far more prestigious badges than the prancing lion from Lyon. Anything with a propeller, three-pointed star or four rings on the front will be instantly more desirable, and in the past mainstream manufacturers had lower prices on their side to try to woo buyers into their showrooms.

Peugeot is certainly making a statement through its pricing of the 508 range and while for many, the car’s many qualities and unique look will certainly convince them to make the purchase. Others will question the decision and opt to not much more for a premium-badged car with the piece of mind that at least it will hold its value better come resale time.

Let’s not forget most Peugeots have appalling residual values and for many the expected depreciation will be the main factor keeping them from buying one. To that end, the 508 and 508 SW will make for excellent second-hand buys in a few years time when their value will have halved (or worse).

  • Leave it
    • It’s expensive to buy
    • Won’t hold value as well as premium rivals

Further reading

Peugeot 508 First Edition Shows its Teeth in Geneva; Sets its Sights on the Volkswagen Passat Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Peugeot 508.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW GT
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Peugeot 508 GT.

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