Peugeot is going through something of a resurgence these days, and to be fair it’s been a long time coming. The brand found itself competing less and less with the big sellers and being overtaken by new competition that was offering strong build quality, more efficient engines and better design. So, it’s gone back to the drawing board and launched a new range of cars that are better built, better to drive and more arresting to look at, and one of those as a case in point is this, the 508.
There’s no question from the outside its looks are more aggressive than the rather sober and uninspiring designs of the past. But is there more to the new family hatch than a stylish exterior? Time to find out if it’s a good all-round package.
In the cabin
We’ve already established the 508 is stylish on the outside, but Peugeot hasn’t stopped there. That sporty theme has been carried through to the cabin, which is beautifully laid out and far more premium than we’ve seen on Peugeot’s of old. There are lots of quality materials on show that give it a high end feel. The centre console is dominated by a touchscreen infotainment system, which comes in 8 or 10-inch guise depending which spec you go for, and you get these shortcut keys underneath, which look very Lamborghini-esque, again not something you used to associate with Pugs.
You’ll get Bluetooth and DAB radio as standard, and all models will connect to your phone with either Apple Carplay and Android auto. But if you want the larger screen you’ll need to opt for the larger 10-inch screen. Overall the system works well, there are better and quicker systems out there, but most will be happy with its ease of use.
Space is one area Peugeot has sacrificed in the interest of style. That sloping Fastback roofline means that any taller passengers in the back will struggle for headroom. Up front, though the driver won’t struggle for space, there’s plenty of adjustment on the seat and steering wheel so there should be no issues getting a comfortable driving position.
Peugeot’s i-cockpit set up in front of the driver is neatly designed, but some may struggle with its positioning as it sits over the steering wheel rather than through it.
Unusually, the 508 is a smaller package than the outgoing model, and shorter than rivals like that Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, that means that if you want a big cabin, you’re best looking at alternatives like the Vauxhall or Skoda Superb.
With the rear seats in place, you’ll get around 487 litres of boot space, which expands to 1,537 when they’re folded flat. It’s a good size but it is dwarfed by some of the competition. If you want more space inside but like the Peugeot, then the estate SW version is worth considering, but we’ll cover this in a separate video.
On the road
From the outside, it’s pretty evident that Peugeot has designed the 508 to make a statement, and that’s carried through to the way it drives. It really is a car that you’ll enjoy driving, not as much as say a 3-series, but certainly drivs=es better than some of the competition.
The ride is slightly firm but it somehow manages to tackle imperfections in the road easily, so while it looks like it could take on twisty country roads with real gusto, it will do so without having kids in the back reaching for the sick bags.
The steering does have an unusual feel to it though, largely because of the size of the wheel, so that will take some getting used to, it almost feels like you’re driving an oversized go-kart with seats in the back, but after time you will find it responds well.
Engine wise, you won’t be surprised to hear the line-up comprises mainly of efficient diesels, but there are some high-performance petrol versions too for real petrol heads. The range starts with a 1.5-litre blue HDI with pumps out around 130bhp, that makes it good for 0-60 in a pedestrian 10 seconds and a top speed nudging 130mph. This is the most fuel-efficient model in the line up returning an average mpg in the mid-50s. There are two 2.0-litre diesels with either 160 or 175bhp, both do the 0-60 dash in just over 8 seconds and a top speed of around 140mph. MPG figures for both of these will be in the mid-40s. The lower powered version is likely to be the best all-round blend of performance and economy though.
Petrol wise, there are two 1.6-litre turbocharged units with either 179 or 225bhp, the latter only being available in First Edition or GT spec, which means it will be somewhat pricey starting at £36,000.
Overall, the Peugeot is an attractive proposition it certainly stands out from the crowd in a category that’s dominated by competition that likes to play it safe. Is it a game changer like Peugeot claim? Well, it certainly looks that way. It certainly does a lot of things well, it looks the part, it’s well equipped even if you opt for the entry-level spec and it’s engaging to drive. The only downside would be that some of that function has been sacrificed in the interest of form. But if you’re in the market for this type of car, we’d definitely put it on your short list.