IF there's one thing Peugeot knows about it's estate cars.
Going back more than 50 years, the French manufacturer battled for honours, and sales, with Citroen.
Peugeot had the 404 Familale and Citroen boasted the DS Safari. Both excellent, hugely spacious estates that could consume all but the kitchen sink.
Today, we have people carriers and SUVs, but there's still room for the estate car for active families and drivers who prefer saloon-like driving qualities rather than the tall stance and more cumbersome nature of off-roaders or MPVs.
If you are looking for an all-purpose family vehicle that can swallow up all the kiddie clutter, leisure kit and the occasional lawn mower, Peugeot is still turning out honest, unpretentious estates that are easy on the wallet to run and maintain.
The 508 SW, not only has masses of passenger and luggage space but gets a touch of luxury in Allure trim.
Beefed up and facelifted nearly two years ago, it comes with sat nav, touch screen, parking sensors, dual air con, reversing camera, heated front seats and LED headlights.
Power comes from a high economy, low emissions 1.6-litre diesel four cylinder pushing out a decent 120bhp. Acceleration is respectable rather than thrilling with a time of 11.0 seconds to 62mph and a max of 125mph.
Better news still is the everyday fuel consumption which should average around the 50mpg mark - I managed 51mpg over some 500-miles. With CO2 emissions of just 108g/km road tax is only Â£20 and company car drivers only need pay benefit in kind at 18 per cent.
The six-speed automatic gearbox copes well with town and motorway driving and takes the strain out of city centre driving. Changes are smooth and barely noticeable.
The cabin is smart enough, if a tad old-fashioned. The facia is dominated by the seven-inch touch screen which works well without being over-sensitive.
With the back row of seats in position the 508 SW boasts a massive 660 litre load space. This expands to 1,865 litres when the seats are folded.
There are plenty of useful stowage places within the cabin to accommodate the usual family odds and ends.
With half-leather leather trim and heated front seats, the Allure feels appropriately cosseting for its Â£26,995 price tag. The steering wheel is reach and height adjustable so there's no problem in finding a comfortable driving position.
A glass panoramic roof with an opening sun blind is standard equipment on the Allure and ensures the cabin is light and airy.
An easy-going ride is usually a Peugeot strength, but earlier 508 models tended to be on the harsh side and somewhat knobbly over poor surfaces. However, the current car is much improved with a firm yet absorbent passage on all but the worst surfaces.
Eighteen inch wheels shod with low profile rubber ensures the front drive estate has plenty of grip and can be hustled swiftly through bends. Cornering roll is well controlled.