Edward Stephens takes the new Peugeot 508SW into the Welsh mountains.

A drive into the mountains of Wales is one of the best ways to appreciate Peugeot’s 508SW.

Not because of the ride or the handling – although both are pretty good – but because of the panoramic glass sunroof which stretches almost the entire length of the cabin and gives passengers in the back seats a spectacular outlook on any vista which rises above the height of the average house.

It struck me at the time that the 508SW would
be the ideal car in which to drive through the
streets of Manhattan, should I ever get the opportunity.

The sunroof doesn’t open, but there is an electric cover on the inside which closes at the touch of a button when it’s too sunny.

Peugeot has been making SWs for some time, but the new 508 version is one of the best looking estate cars in its price range.

It’s also one of the most practical – which is what most estate car buyers want.

The curvy, free-flowing shape of the car, the raked roofline and the sleek, swept back bi-Xenon headlights – which are among the best I have come across – are a world away from the traditional squared-off estate cars of the past.

And when it comes to creature comforts, this car is ahead of the game, with keyless entry, so you don’t have to get the keys out of your pocket to open the doors or start the car; heated, electrically adjustable front seats, a real bonus in the winter; and a fighter pilot-style head-up display so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road ahead to read what speed you are doing.

On the practical front, the tailgate stretches right down to the rear bumper for ease of loading, and you can pack in 660 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place or a hefty 1865 litres with the seats lowered.

There is also a limited amount of additional space under the boot floor, too.

In the cabin, the leather-covered steering wheel is squared off at the bottom to give the driver more leg room, the seats are half leather and half cloth and there’s a stylish dashboard with sharp, easy to read dials. In fact, the cabin is a nice blend of refinement and technology which makes the car very easy to live with.

Interior illumination using ultra-bright directional LEDs instead of bulbs means a passenger in the rear can read a book on their lap without the light being seen in the rear view mirror by the driver.

On the move, the 163bhp diesel engine offers plenty of pulling power although is slightly noisier than the 140 bhp engine offered in this car.

The engine is mated to a very slick six-speed gearbox and between them they offer very responsive motoring with little lacking in the way of performance.

Seventy miles per hour comes up at less than 2000 revs, so you also get very relaxed cruising.

The power steering is progressive and the car’s handling is particularly sharp, ensuring enjoyable motoring.

And for such a large car to offer well over 50 miles per gallon is the icing on the cake.

Fast Facts

Model: Peugeot 508 SW Allure HDi 163

Price: £25,805

Mechanical: 163 bhp, from 1997 cc, four cylinder diesel engine driving the front wheels via a six speed manual gearbox.

Max speed: 137 mph

0-62mph: 9.9 secs

Combined mpg: 56.4

Insurance group: 25E

CO2 emissions: 130g/km

Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles