Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Up front, it's unlikely you'll find any shortage of head or leg room, even with a sunroof fitted. Oddment storage is excellent; there’s a huge central cubby under the armrest, two big cupholders, another lidded cubby next to the gear lever and a tray with wireless smartphone charging (on higher-spec cars) beneath. It’s a shame, though, that the glovebox is so small and compartmentalised that there’s no space in there for the car’s manual, which is relegated to one of the door pockets.
The 508 SW has a less abruptly curvaceous roofline than its fastback stablemate, and its extra 2cm of height brings a significant increase in rear head room. It’s still some way off the Superb Estate, but a six foot tall adult can still fit in the back. The slim rear windows are set very low, though, being well below an adult’s eyeline at the top, and this could make passengers in the back feel a bit claustrophobic. It’s also worth noting that the optional panoramic sunroof leaves a big bulge in the ceiling just in front of where a rear passenger’s forehead would go, and this adds to the cramped feel.
Rear leg room is exactly the same as in the 508 saloon, so it's a little tight, but a six-footer can just about fold their legs in behind a tall driver. Should your friends or children be much taller than 6ft, they'll find their head brushing the ceiling in the rear. If you do have lanky friends, the Skoda Superb is unbeatable for this sort of money.
Now for the bit you’ve been waiting for: the boot. The 508 SW is 4cm longer at the rear than the 508 saloon, and while that doesn’t sound like much, it has transformed the cargo space. True, like everything else in the class, it still trails the gigantic Skoda Superb Estate and Volkswagen Passat Estate, (plus the cheaper Skoda Octavia Estate), but it has more space its rear seats up or down than the Ford Mondeo Estate, Mazda 6 Tourer and BMW 3 Series Touring. The 508 SW also has a wide opening with virtually no loading lip, plus the boot itself is a usefully boxy shape.
The rear seat bench folds in a 60/40 configuration, and while there’s no option to upgrade that to 40/20/40, you do at least get a central ski hatch as standard, which allows you to carry long, thin items while still using the two outer rear seats. The seats are easily folded down by pressing the buttons mounted either side of the boot entrance, or by using toggles next to the headrests. When lowered, they lie almost flat.
And if you’re wondering whether there’s any practical compromise going from a non-hybrid 508 to a hybrid one – there isn’t. The only change is the fact you can’t have a spare wheel. That’s a shame, but partly offset by the fact that you get a handy underfloor storage for the charging cables in exchange.