The interior layout, fit and finish
The 508 SW features the same i-Cockpit dashboard design as the Peugeot 508 saloon. It centres around a small steering wheel that sits below your line of sight – you look over it, rather than through it, to see the 12.3in customisable digital display that takes the place of traditional dials.
While that set-up works well in Peugeot's 3008 and 5008, some drivers might struggle for a clear view of the digital dials in the lower-slung 508 SW unless the adjustable steering wheel is set lower than feels natural. Audi's similar Virtual Cockpit system can show a far greater breadth of information more clearly. The BMW 3 Series Touring and Skoda Superb Estate have far more physical controls rather than the distracting touch-sensitive ones (including for the heating) in the 508 SW.
Some people will struggle to get comfortable in the oddly shaped front seats, although they offer a wide range of movement including lumbar adjustment from Allure trim upwards. Part of the problem is that the squabs stick out quite a lot in the middle, which forces you to sit with your legs slightly apart. The Volvo V60 is the car to beat in this area.
Allure spec also brings a larger touchscreen (10.0in rather than 8.0in) with sat-nav, although both infotainment systems are laggy to respond to your commands and their menus are illogically structured. The USB ports are tucked away out of sight, making them tricky to access.
On the plus side, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring are standard, while options include wireless smartphone charging and a punchy Focal stereo that sounds significantly better than the standard item. The BMW 3 Series Touring still rules the roost with its responsive, easy to use iDrive infotainment system.
Fit and finish are generally impressive; the dashboard and surrounding areas feature plenty of soft-touch materials and neat trim inserts, while top-spec PSE models make good use of high-quality stitched leather. Sadly, some cheaper-feeling plastic on the doors lets the side down a bit, and the 508 SW can't match the Audi A4 Avant for plushness.
Due to the 508 SW’s swooping roofline, rearward visibility, especially to the sides, is still quite restricted, so you'll be glad that a rear-view camera plus front and rear parking sensors are standard on all trims. It's worth noting that the camera’s image resolution has to be one of the lowest on the market – that of the Volvo V60 is markedly clearer - with the 360-degree camera on GT Premium trim and above proving no better.
All models get automatic lights and wipers, although frustratingly you have to activate the latter every time you start the car. If you want powerful LED headlights, you’ll need to jump up to GT trim or higher while all models get an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
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