Peugeot 508 SW Active1.6 e-HDi EGC
James Folkard thinks he has found the 508’s calling – long distance motorway journeys, where the comfort levels come into their own.
I’ll openly admit that I was starting to lose enthusiasm for my long term Peugeot at the beginning of this month. Queasy passengers are not happy passengers, and in my experience unhappy passengers make sure their feelings are shared with the rest of those in the car. Not a prospect one relishes when a long journey of eight hours to the Scottish Highlands is looming. Since I’m not the sort of person who is easily put off their long term plans, I gritted my teeth, and, whilst I wasn’t expecting a joyous trip, I convinced myself that the destination would be well worth the short term pain.
But, by the time we had reached Loch Lomond, my faith had been mostly restored, and I was starting to believe that our executive estate was born to do long haul trips on dual carriageways and motorways. As a general rule it is unusual for me to go more than a couple of hours in a driving seat before my back starts to complain, after which my enthusiasm for driving dwindles and I’m happy to become the co-pilot for a while. But not on this occasion, after each rest stop I was still eager to keep driving – the 508 was just soaking up the miles. The EGC gearbox kept me feeling a bit more involved with the driving than if I just had to aim the car in the right direction, and the open motorway beyond Blackpool even tempted me to investigate the cruise control – a standard function on our Active model. With the roads in the Midlands so congested, it’s rare that I have the chance to play.
I’ve previously raised concerns about the soft suspension of the 508 SW, and there’s no doubt that coupled with the exceptionally long wheelbase, it has probably contributed to the seasick effect that we’ve occasionally experienced on local single carriageway roads. However, at motorway speeds, the smooth tarmac has the opposite effect, providing a comfortable, supple ride which makes the Peugeot a truly effective mile muncher, and not even a hint of nausea. Perhaps it’s the ‘new’ smell of the car that has been causing the sick feeling all along, and as that subsides, things are getting better. (Get yourself a magic tree – vanilla is best – for getting rid of nasty niffs, Ed)
Considering the Active model is in the middle of the five trim levels – Access, SR, Active, Allure and GT – the standard kit on board is impressive. The generous kit count includes convenience features like automatic lights, an automatically-dimming rear view mirror, a rain sensor, cruise control and a large light scooping panoramic glass roof. The latter I confess to having concerns about when I read the standard equipment list prior to taking delivery. In overcast November days, it’s great. Not only does it let in more light into the capacious interior, but it allowed great panoramic views of the truly 3D countryside on offer in the Highlands. Whether I have the same level of enthusiasm in July with the sun beating down, only time will tell, but there’s always the electric sunblind to cover it up, I guess.
I’ve struggled with finding anywhere for the obligatory bag of sweets in the 508. Indeed it is very short of storage space in the cabin generally. There is a relatively small space in the arm rest which includes input sockets for USB and power socket. Aside from that, the door pockets and small glovebox, that’s the extent of the cabin storage – a far cry from the 3008, which is much more accommodating for an upwardly mobile and busy executive on the move.