The interior layout, fit and finish
The 508 SW features the same "i-Cockpit" dashboard design as the 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. However, while this setup works well in Peugeot's 3008 and 5008 SUVs, some drivers may 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. It's also worth pointing out that Audi's similar Virtual Cockpit system is far more configurable and clearer to read.
Some people will also struggle to get comfortable in the 508 SW's oddly shaped front seats, despite the fact that they offer a wide range of adjustment (the driving position is adjusted electrically in mid-range Allure cars and above). Part of the problem is that the squabs stick out further in the middle, which forces you to sit with your legs slightly apart. The Volvo V60 certainly has a better driving position.
Another advantage of Allure spec is that it brings a larger touchscreen (10.0in rather than 8.0in), although the infotainment system can prove just as laggy to respond to your commands and its menus remain illogically structured. On the plus side, sat-nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring are standard, while options include wireless smartphone charging and a punchy Focal stereo. The BMW 3 Series Touring, though, 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 GT 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 rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera are standard on Allure trim and above. 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.