Peugeot 508 SW 1.5 BlueHDI 130 2019 Review

PSA’s 1.5-litre turbodiesel doesn’t sound like a particularly enticing engine for a car of this size and type, but it does a respectable job here – combined, as it is, with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s certainly not the noisy, ever-straining act you might expect it to be. Torque of 221lb ft turns out to be enough to keep the car mooching along in give-and-take traffic just fine when it’s juggled by the slick, smart-shifting transmission.

The engine stays fairly quiet and smooth for a four-pot diesel – until, that is, you’re asking for everything it can give. At that point, when overtaking and generally hurrying only, the 508 SW does begin to feel a bit slow, and with a family and baggage aboard, it would feel slower still. But performance doesn’t really seem limited on part-throttle or indeed most of the time.

Judge that performance in combination with the fuel economy this car can achieve, in fact, and you might be well satisfied with it. You have to drive hard not to average 50mpg on the road. On a longer route and under a moderate style, an indicated 60mpg is easily possible.

It’s a shame that the ride and handling aren’t quite so creditable, then – at least, they weren’t in the particularly case of our test car which, because it was in GT Line trim, didn’t come with the adaptive dampers available on other derivatives but did have the 508’s very biggest 19in alloy wheels.

Rolling refinement is average at best on those on those rims, which kick up a lot of road roar while offering too much in the way of unsprung mass and too little in the way of tyre sidewall to make for the sort of supple ride comfort you’ll likely want from this sort of car.

The 508 SW handles with good accuracy and precision and has good lateral body control. It steers more intuitively than other Peugeots featuring that same divisive i-Cockpit control layout, too, with weight better matched to its directness, provided you use Sport driving mode. But vertical body control can be a bit fussy, wooden and short-of-travel over less smooth roads and bump absorption is not all you’d want it to be.

The only other bugbear to report of the 508 SW's touring manners concern its electronic driver aids. It comes with an adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance as options on mid-grade cars. The former can occasionally be quite slow and abrupt when reacting to changing traffic conditions ahead and doesn’t prevent you from undertaking, while the latter can feel too much like it’s wrestling control away entirely and is more flakey than rival systems we’ve tested. As such, neither system really feels like it’s genuinely taking much strain out of a long-distance journey.

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