Peugeot 508 SW Hybrid review

Handsome styling and decent practicality make the Peugeot 508 SW Hybrid estate a viable alternative to the plug-in hybrid SUV norm

Peugeot 508 SW Hybrid
£36,530 - £42,230
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Stand-out styling
  • Very low CO2 emissions
  • Decent standard equipment

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • BMW 330e better all-round
  • Style is put before outright practicality
Car type Electric range Fuel economy CO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid 33-39 miles 166-235mpg 31-40g/km

The Peugeot 508 is one of the cars at the forefront of the French brand’s push upmarket, intended as a rival for executive models like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. It's available as a plug-in hybrid in both 'Fastback' hatchback and this 'SW' estate forms; the latter is even more practical, but without sacrificing any of its cool – this is one of the best-looking cars on sale in our opinion. Key rivals include the estate versions of the aforementioned BMW and Mercedes, as well as the Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate and Skoda Superb iV Estate.

It’s great inside, as you’d expect – Peugeot’s modernist interior design is unlike anything else around and the materials and build quality on show are decent, if not quite up to the standard of BMW and Mercedes. Standard equipment is good and there’s an up-to-date infotainment system that operates across two screens – one on the dashboard that varies in size depending on trim level and another behind (or rather, just above) the tiny steering wheel. Once you’re used to its unconventional layout, the 508’s interior is a comfortable and relaxing place to be.

The range is sorted into the usual easy-to-understand Peugeot hierarchy of Allure, GT Line and top-spec GT, minus the entry-level Active for the Hybrid. Even Allure cars come with generous equipment as standard, including automatic emergency braking, road-sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, part-electric cloth/leather-effect seats and Peugeot’s i-Cockpit infotainment system, plus some snazzy ambient interior lighting. 

Power for the 508 SW Hybrid comes from a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor; together they produce 222bhp and can push the SW to 62mph in 8.3 seconds. Performance is stronger from some non-hybrid models in the range, though – there’s about 300kg extra weight for the Hybrid to carry around.

It’s enjoyable to drive nonetheless; it rides well, has lots of grip through corners and is predictable and confidence-inspiring. It’s not the last word in sportiness, but that’s not exactly what the 508 is all about. It’s a great long-distance car that can hold its own on more demanding roads, all the while remaining easy enough to thread through town.

As with many plug-in hybrid models on the market, the system can be configured to prioritise efficiency or performance, or can be instructed to hold its electric power until needed – perfect for longer journeys that end with some lower-speed city driving. The system can also be set to shuffle between petrol and electric power as required.

Peugeot claims an electric range of 33 to 39 miles on a full charge. A 3.7kW charger is fitted as standard, while a 7.4kW one can be fitted as an option; the car’s 11.8kWh battery should charge in around three and a half hours with the former or just under an hour and 50 minutes with the latter, by our calculations.

The 508 SW is a car that’s hard to recommend over its premium rivals – not because it’s much worse to drive or live with, but because its lack of a truly desirable badge means its residual values will always trail those of the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes. The 508 is undoubtedly handsome and capable, but the equivalent BMW 3 Series, the 330e Touring, will always be the better choice.