Genuinely enjoyable to drive, with uber-efficient engines
Plenty of adjustment to help anyone get comfortable at the wheel
Good safety kit and a maximum five-star crash test rating
Based on the build quality we'd expect it to fare much better than its 407 predecessor
Generous cabin and boot space puts the 508 up with the best cars in this class
Entry level cars have the basics but little more
The 508 SW ticks most of the boxes - it's fun to drive, with smooth, quiet engines and good body control. There's decent feedback from the steering and GT models offer a sharper set-up if you want an even more responsive feel. The ride is a touch firm on all versions, but it's not enough to make things uncomfortable. We like the 2.0-litre diesel with 138bhp, which is strong but efficient.
A family of five should be able to get comfortable inside the Peugeot 508 SW even if it's not quite as roomy in the back as a Ford Mondeo. There's a low central tunnel so the middle rear passenger gets plenty of footspace, too. The boot is a useful shape and size but it's a pity the rear seat bases don't fold away to help create a totally flat floor for longer loads. The cheapest Access models have air-con, electric windows and a USB socket; we'd upgrade to at least SR for cruise control, Bluetooth and sat-nav. All the dashboard controls are smart to look at and straightforward to find and use. There are Isofix lugs on the two outer rear seats but these are mounted quite high, so they may not fit as many child seats as some other cars'.
The 508 feels built to last and Peugeot appeared in the top half of the manufacturer's table in What Car?'s 2012 reliability survey.
Six airbags and stability control are standard, helping the 508 to an overall five-star safety rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. The 90% score for adult protection and 87% for child protection makes the 508 a little safer for children than a VW Passat (91%/77%).
The 508 makes a tempting family or business car, mainly thanks to the fuel-efficient diesel engines which help keep fuel and tax bills impressively low. It's cheaper to buy than an equivalent VW Passat and roughly comparable with a Ford Mondeo. Do push for a discount as dealers are likely to be accommodating.