PEUGEOT 508 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Large sedan.
Price: $52,990, $58,890 as-tested
Fuel Economy (claimed): 5.7 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 7.6 l/100km
The arrival of the all-new Peugeot 508 heralds a new direction for the French brand. Replacing both the 407 and 607, the 508 is better in almost every way, and its more conservative design and fuss-free interior hold much broader appeal.
The range-topping 508 GT can compete in the same league as fancier European metal like the Volvo S60, and in fact offers a higher level of specification for much less money.
Quality: Interior quality, tactile surfaces and switchgear feel are vastly improved over others in the Peugeot range.
It’s pleasing to see that the old cruise control and audio control stalks have been ditched in favour of conventional steering wheel-mounted buttons.
The optional Nappa leather fitted to our tester is soft and supple, and available in a variety of hues. Dash plastics are soft to the touch, and doors are trimmed in soft leather-like vinyl.
This interior is a cut above any other Peugeot, with key touch points like the gear selector and leather-bound steering wheel possessing a very upmarket feel.
Comfort: The seating position up-front is somewhat high, but there’s plenty of headroom. Peugeot has finally got the pedal/wheel relationship right with the 508 (in models like the 407 and 308, the pedals are too close for comfort).
Tilt-reach adjustable steering also helps the driver get comfortable.
Both front seats are powered and heated in the GT, and also feature a massage function. The rear bench is comfortable and roomy, yet not quite wide enough for three adults to ride in comfort.
Quad-zone climate control is standard, and the rear doors are fitted with integral sun shades. Overall, it’s a very accommodating cabin, but outward visibility is hampered by the 508’s high rump and very thick B-pillars.
Equipment: Standard equipment includes cruise control, four-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlamps, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, a colour head-up display, bi-xenon headlamps, 18-inch alloys, Bluetooth integration and USB/auxilliary inputs for the stereo system.
Our tester was also fitted with the optional satellite navigation system, which adds a multi-function controller to the centre console.
Storage: The 508’s 545 litre boot space is about par for its segment, and expands to 1581 litres with the 60/40 split rear seatbacks are folded.
The glovebox suffers from the usual Peugeot problem of being too small, and the centre console bin isn’t exactly spacious either.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The 508 GT’s 2.2 litre turbodiesel inline four effectively replaces the 2.7 litre diesel V6 that featured in the 407, and produces a robust 150kW and 450Nm.
It pulls smoothly and cleanly from as low as 1800rpm, although (like most diesels), it runs out of puff well before its 4500rpm redline. Acceleration isn’t especially quick, but the 2.2 diesel has more than enough grunt to keep up with fast-moving traffic.
A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission choice for the GT, and is difficult to fault when pottering about town in fully automatic mode.
Manual shifts can be called up by either the shift lever or the steering column mounted paddles, and downshifts are nicely rev-matched in manual mode.
Refinement: The diesel engine grumbles rather than clatters, and is quite muted from within the cabin. On coarse chip roads there was some tyre roar from the 18-inch rubber, but road noise wasn’t overly intrusive.
Suspension: The 508 GT scores a double wishbone front suspension set up (all other 508 models are equipped with a MacPherson Strut front suspension) and multi-link rear suspension, and is quite a capable handler.
Grip from the Michelin tyres is good, and the suspension is a lot firmer than the old 407 yet still maintains a good degree of compliance.
The big Peugeot handles more like a German car than a French car, but one that allows a touch more body roll and suspension travel.
Braking: The 508 stops smartly, but the soft brake pedal requires a fair shove to get the all-disc system working hard.
ANCAP rating: Not tested.
Safety features: ABS, brake assist, EBD, cornering brake control, stability control and traction control are standard. The 508’s airbag suite consists of dual front, dual front side and full-length curtain airbags.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Service costs: Under the Peugeot Assured Service plan, scheduled services for the 508 GT are capped at $330 per year for the first three years/60,000km. Service schedules are set for every 12 months/20,000km.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Volvo S60 D5 ($57,950) - Although not classed as a large car, the S60 is dimensionally similar to the 508, and boasts exceptional design, superb cabin quality and a high standard of safety.
Expensive options can see the retail price balloon quickly, though. (see S60 reviews)
Skoda Superb Elegance 125TDI ($47,990) - The Superb is impressively roomy inside, particularly in regards to rear seat legroom and headroom.
Its spec sheet is lacking compared to the Peugeot, but its Volkswagen-sourced powertrains and transmissions are excellent. (see Superb reviews)
Ford Mondeo Titanium TDCi ($46,990) - The Mondeo is a good, honest mid-sizer, but a little underwhelming inside. At $46,990 it represents good value, but it can’t match the 508 GT for spec. (see Mondeo reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The 508 breathes new life into Peugeot’s local line-up; it’s a very nice drive and deserves to sell well.
There might not be a German badge on the front, but the 508’s combination of classy styling, solid on-road performance and a generous standard equipment level make it well worth consideration if shopping in the entry-level premium sedan market.