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It is always refreshing to take the wheel of a new Estate…  Apologies, I must give it the proper title- SW, I refer of course, to the latest model from Peugeot, a new member to the stylish 508 family.

Once again the French manufacturer has delivered and it is fair to state that recent new model introductions have really put the Peugeot brand in a leading position; the new model scores in many key areas such as style and practicality and if you thought this type of vehicle had fallen from favour, perhaps it’s time to think again.

There is  a wide choice for the buyer in terms of trim levels and engines. Five trim levels, Active, Allure, GT Line, GT and First Edition. (The trim levels stated apply to Northern Ireland at time of writing we did not have the same info for the Republic of Ireland.)

Welcome news for customers throughout all of Ireland is that diesel power is a key element with the newcomer with a choice of four, while two petrol units are also offered. Later this year, plug-in versions will be available and 2023 all Peugeot models will feature an all electric derivative.

After having tried two models from the 508 line-up I was impressed with the overall package, styling is eye-catching with its sharp design and the interior delivers a helping of show factor being high tech with the very latest connected technology including the latest version of the Peugeot I-COCKPIT.

Worthy of note is that the frontal styling of the new 508SW is derived from a Peugeot concept which was originally shown at the Geneva Motor Show. Looking at dimensions, it is lower and shorter than the previous model and it is the first in class to feature frameless doors.

On the practical side, boot capacity is 530 litres and with the rear seats folded you have a generous 1,780 litres, making the SW the perfect choice for the family or business user. There is a ski hatch, load restraint net, and one of the lowest load sills in class.

The instrument panel is 12.3 inches and the touch screen is 10 inch which are ideal to display all of the many features including night vision. In poor visibility this system using an infra red camera which can detect obstacles and animals within a 200 metre range and the image is displayed in the 12.3 inch head up digital instrument panel. I am well informed that this system can even detect dogs. Many will be all too aware of the perils of driving on poorly lit roads.

Music on the move and a FOCAL sound system is offered with 10 speakers, real quality audio, and the low cabin noise levels means that you can pick up every word, enough to have you singing behind the wheel. With the PEUGEOT I-Cockpit, you can adjust the interior lighting levels and engine noise, the latter via active speaker technology. I can think of a few people who would very much appreciate the latter. One of the 508s which I tried had the optional massage seats, ideal for driver and passengers on those long journeys which we often have to endure.

Safety comes first and rightly so and there is a large menu of safety aids. To name just a few, Lane Positioning Assist, Driver Attention Alert, Visiopark and Full Park Assist with a 360 degree colour camera.

The engine line-up, already briefly noted, is based on the 1.6 PureTech, 1.5 BlueHDi and the two litre BlueHDi. Power outputs range from 130 to 225bhp and transmission choice is down to a six speed manual and the impressive eight speed automatic transmission, which I tried, and I must admit the modern automatic transmissions win all of the time.

With such a power choice there is a 508SW to suit all tastes and I sampled 177bhp and 225bhp, the latter coming from a most impressive 1.6 litre engine. If you thought performance is not a factor, then consider this, the 1.6 225bhp unit has a top speed in access of 240kph (150mph.)

There is a decided sports feel to Peugeots of late. Choose the right engine and this new member to the 508 clan can put a smile on your face. Behind the wheel it is  a driver’s car and thanks to the Michelin rubber wear and an excellent suspension set up, comfort levels and handling are in harmony.

Once again, it features the race styled small steering wheel which I favour. I do know that there are a few who are less enthusiastic, it certainly works for me.

Yet another chapter to unfold with the SW; – plug- in technology which will be available later this year. Featuring av12kWH battery and on a 80kW electric motor which will deliver up to 48km  (30 miles) of fully electric, depending on driving style and zero emissions. Batteries will be stored under the second row of seats, therefore in no way taking away from space or practicality.

In conclusion, if you have never considered this type of vehicle, a test drive just might paint a whole new picture.

Ian Lynas

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