Long term test report: Peugeot 508 SW Active 1.6 e-HDi EGC
With over 7,000 miles on the clock, how is James Folkard finding the Peugeot 508 SW?
With Christmas firmly in the rear view mirror, I think I’ve been getting a bit over confident behind the wheel recently. I’m not sure what links the accelerator pedal with the engine throttle, and whether the electronic gearbox is to blame, but it seems to have the same satellite delay on it that you would expect when watching a news correspondent talking to the studio from some far flung corner of the earth. This is a problem when wanting to pull out of a junction quickly into busy oncoming traffic – cross your fingers, close your eyes and floor it probably isn’t the recommended approach, and I’ve found myself sitting at junctions far longer waiting for a break in the traffic than I would have done in other more responsive cars. Throttle response is also an issue when parking. Not because I like to park at high speed, but because a smooth controlled motion is required. At a little under five metres in length finding a suitable space is often difficult and since inching forward and backward into a space is at best tricky, the lack of initial response followed by a lurch forward or back really doesn’t assist the manoeuvre. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships are used to attain command of the sea. They are larger and better armed than cruisers (RCZ?) and destroyers (308?). I’d say the 508 is Peugeot’s battleship. It’s a comfortable long distance load lugger, full of refinements that today’s executive has come to expect, just don’t expect any quick, sudden movements.
Date arrived: 13th July 2011
Mileage to date: 7,319miles
Fuel consumption: 65.6mpg (official combined) / 45.5mpg (on test)
At a shade under 1600litres, you would think it couldn’t compete with a van with over 5,000litres of rear storage. You would be right, except this isn’t a competition, and the 508 SW is not a van, it’s a very practical executive estate.
The rear seats do not fold as flat as some, so folding them down does not create a totally flat load space. This does not excessively compromise the space, and with fairly parallel sides I found it possible to get 12 large packing boxes in the back with little trouble. So many vehicles slope in towards the roof, restricting both the passenger compartment and the storage, but Peugeot have a design here that compromises neither looks nor practicality.
I was particularly proud of the SW when I found I could lay a 37-inch flat screen TV on top of the boot cover without losing boot space or rear visibility. Whilst not quite on the same scale, all loaded up it made me think of every antique dealers favourite, the old Volvo 240 Estate from the early 80s.
As the days are now about as short as they get, and even when it is light it is dull and grey, the automatic headlights have been on pretty much everywhere we go. The front fog lights have been cause for some attention from oncoming drivers. In the daytime they work as daytime running lights, and at night they are a confusing attempt at directional lights. Turn left, and the left fog light comes on, turn right and the right one does. The effect of this is not really noticeable from the driver’s viewpoint, and, when I was being followed by my Girlfriend Ruth driving the 508, I have to say I found it quite distracting. It looked for all the world like there was a short in the wiring, and the lights were dancing on and off of their own accord. Only after a chat with The Editor did we conclude that the lights were performing as they should, even if it wasn’t quite as one would expect.
We are just under three years away from FM being phased out, and sadly our expensive integrated Bluetooth audio streaming Peugeot Connect System does not have a DAB digital radio. It would be all the better if it did. DAB radio or not our 508’s Connect system sometimes seems to have a mind of its own. A couple of weeks ago it forgot both our mobile phones, requiring me to re-pair them with the in-car Bluetooth, and more recently the traffic announcements (TA) had started coming on, no matter what we do to the system. As far as I can tell we have them turned off, but every 20 minutes or so we get advised of traffic situations miles from where we are. Every other Peugeot I have driven in the last couple of years has come supplied with the TA turned on, and when I turn it off it has stayed off. This one came with it off, and it has now inexplicably come on. If the TA persists I think I will be in danger of having to refer to the manual!