7 November 2019

Peugeot 508 GT Wagon Car Review

Look at the sales figures today and you’ll see that SUVs take the lion’s share of our market.

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Peugeot 508 GT Wagon
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Peugeot 508 GT Wagon
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Peugeot 508 GT Wagon
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Peugeot 508 GT Wagon
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Peugeot 508 GT Wagon
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Peugeot 508 GT Wagon
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Peugeot 508 GT Wagon

Buyers are abandoning conventional cars in droves, usually citing practicality rather than any notion of heading into the rough – after all many of the models they’re purchasing either won’t go off road, or were never designed to.

Trouble is, it’s hard to make an SUV look elegant without accepting compromises – usually in terms of cabin space and ground clearance, as well as road handling. No matter how clever your engineers, a taller vehicle has a higher centre of gravity, and it will be inherently less stable around corners than an equivalent vehicle which hugs the road.

Which this Peugeot 508 GT wagon does. The long, elegant lines still permit a boot that’s able to swallow 580 litres with all the seats in use, and 1780 litres with the rear seats folded. That boot was clearly designed by someone who uses one, as there’s a fold-open aperture for long items like skis to poke into the passenger space, are tie-down points to keep luggage secure, a lever each side to fold the back seats from the tailgate, and hooks so bags of shopping can be quickly secured.

But this is not just a practical beast, as it also has the dynamics of a well set up car, assisted by active suspension which you can adjust to one of three settings.

On paper the engine looks too modest for a vehicle of this size, at ‘just’ 1.6 litres, but again there are multiple settings. Sport is noticeably stronger than normal, and there was always enough urge on tap, especially appreciated through a bit of swervery, where the motor-suspension combination delivered a bit of fun, though we quickly preferred using the paddle shift as the eight-speed transmission didn’t always agree with the driver over which gear was appropriate. Again, look at the spec sheet and a keen driver might scoff at the car’s zero to 100 time. But few folk spend their lives tramping on the accelerator from rest to the open road limit, they spend most of their time between those speeds. Which given the broad spread of revs at which a decent amount of torque is available, means this car has a delightfully responsive feel, without actually straying into performance car territory.

Yet in normal or comfort modes – we didn’t bother to try eco – it’s also a quiet, refined cruiser which proved remarkably frugal during our test stint, which included a few commutes over the Waitakere hills and a Labour Weekend drive to the Bay of Islands, fully laden. The claim is 5.7l/100km. After 539 fairly varied km we’d logged 6.9l/100km, according to the trip computer, while the previous 1200km – we’d guess including quite a bit of ferrying around dealerships between days spent with lead-footed motor noters – had touched 7.9l/100km. Those are pretty decent figures for a practical, petrol-fuelled vehicle.

The good news continues inside, as interior ambience is great, too. The design is handsome and individual, the materials mostly the same – we especially like the woven carbon look sweeping across in front of your front passenger.

Our test vehicle was fitted with two of the three available cost options – night vision ($3500), and the Nappa red leather, which considerably lifted the interior ($2000) – to take the total to $63,490. However, the highly unscientific survey we conducted, asking random folk what they thought, brought the unanimous verdict that this car looks a lot pricier than that – most settling for a figure nearly 20K higher.

It feels pricier too, and not just because this engine is sufficiently strong to get the job done, without being too OTT to be frugal; or because it handles well, and looks good inside and out; but also because of the electronic goodies included, like the massaging seats, the ability to switch response between different modes and the adjustable active suspension.

Like the looks but happy to drop some of the goodies for a lower entry price? You’re fresh out of luck – both the sedan and wagon are sold just in top-spec GT form.

Given our obsession with SUVs, many distributors have dropped wagons from their line-up, though Mazda still sells a torquier Mazda6 Takami, Ford a hybrid Mondeo wagon, and Holden its Euro Commodore, none of which have quite the presence of this Peugeot.

To get that you need to head up market to the German brands, and dig quite a bit deeper into your wallet.

All of which means that those seeking a family load hauler with style, decent handling and reasonable fuel economy, who don’t need four-wheel drive and don’t want to live the cliché, have a genuine alternative to consider.

At a glance


Peugeot 508 GT wagon


1598 four-cylinder petrol


$63,490 as tested

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

169kW at 5500rpm and 300Nm at 2500rpm


Eight-speed auto with paddle shift

Fuel economy


Towing capacity



2WD front

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

580 litres rear seats up (1708 litres with rear seats folded)

Safety systems

  • Trailer stability control
  • Driver Attention Alert
  • Road sign recognition and recommendation
  • Active lane departure warning
  • Advanced auto emergency braking
  • High Beam Assist
  • Active Blind Spot detection
  • Front and rear parking sensors and cameras with full park assist 
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