Peugeot 508 SW GT

Line BlueHDi 130

Peugeot 508 SW, front
Peugeot 508 SW, front
Peugeot 508 SW, front
Peugeot 508 SW, front
Peugeot 508 SW, rear
Peugeot 508 SW, side
Peugeot 508 SW, interior

DESIGNING a car that is both good looking and practical is a surprisingly tough needle to thread.

Strive for the capacity to allow a mountain bike to be loaded in the back without touching the sides and sporty design is normally the first casualty - while swooping lines often restrict head space for those in the rear and reduce luggage room in the boot.

But French motor manufacturer Peugeot, in defiance of the all-conquering SUV, has produced a winning combination with a gorgeous estate - the 508 SW.

Yes it has a sloping body but this is no hindrance to its versatility as the cabin's flexibility and spaciousness are key features, backed up by the use of top quality materials and a raft of technology.

Throw in running costs that will ease the many pressures on a family's budget plus low emissions and, as the good people at Peugeot might say, voila!

The 508 SW - station wagon, or estate to right-thinking members of society - is based on the Fastback saloon so retains much of that model's handsome visage while adding sharp rear light clusters, a longer overhang and squarer tail-end that if anything add to the film-star good looks.

The changes also create a 530-litre boot beneath an electrically-operated tailgate with the rear seats easily folding - on a two thirds, one third basis - to create a cavernous 1,780-litre space.

This makes the 508 SW more than a match for the majority of SUVs and in the same league as the big German manufacturers' premium estates.

Flip those rear seats back up and despite the low roofline there's plenty of headroom for your tallest friends with comfort further assured by a super smooth ride even on the optional £300 19-inch alloys.

The obvious effort to cater for the worst our roads have to offer is largely successful without adversely affecting the sharp handling characteristics which leave the estate nimble through corners while offering confidence-inspiring levels of grip.

That said, I found the 508 SW at its best when cruising on a motorway as it is so relaxing to drive taking very little out of you - even on the longest journeys. The strain is instead ably absorbed by the 1.5-litre diesel engine and slick eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Peugeot offers a total of three oil burners and two petrols on the estate model, but you will struggle to better the efforts of the BlueHDi 130 on show here which gave a bravura performance recording an average of around 50mpg during my time of mixed motoring with the car.

Emissions are low at 98g/km while under the new WLTP fuel test programme the diesel is rated at a best of 62mpg.

It is reasonably sprightly from a standing start with 62mph reached in a shade over ten seconds with a decent amount of mid-range pulling power particularly useful in an estate.

A decent position behind the dinky steering wheel is easy to obtain through buttons down the side of the seat that power it into the perfect spot. The driver enjoys further treats via Peugeot's multi-mode i-Cockpit digitised instrument panel and snazzy sat nav.

The GT Line model is expected to be a popular choice with a long list of goodies - accessed via a 10-inch touchscreen with natty toggles underneath - that includes automatic dual zone air conditioning, colour reversing camera plus sensors and a digital radio.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included allowing the things you want to do with your smartphone while driving to be put on the car's built-in display.

A plethora of safety systems gives reassurance as they work to prevent accidents as well as mitigating the results if the worst happens.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot 508 SW GT Line BlueHDi 130

Price: £32,280

Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,499cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 129mph

0-62mph: 10.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 62

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 98g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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