Vehicle Style: Medium sedan
Price: $44,990 (drive-away)
Engine/trans: 120kW/340Nm 2.0 turbo diesel 4cyl | 6sp automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 5.7 l/100km | tested: 8.9 l/100km
Updated for 2015 with a sharper snout and more standard equipment, Peugeot’s 508 range is, at first glance, reasonably competitive with other mid-sized European diesel sedans.
But behind that facelifted exterior and slightly revised interior lies an ageing car.
While the 308 range has moved on to a cutting-edge platform and smart new lines, the 508 has yet get the same treatment.
Instead, 2015 marks the current-gen 508's fifth year in the Australian market. Does it feel like it’s in its twilight years yet?
We borrowed the keys to a mid-grade Allure diesel sedan for a week-long loan to see if we could find any wrinkles and crow’s feet.
- Standard equipment: Keyless ignition, cruise control, quad-zone climate control, leather upholstery, power adjustable and heated front seats, retractable sunblinds in rear doors, fold-down rear centre armrest.
- Infotainment: 7-inch colour touchscreen display with integrated sat-nav and 8-speaker AM/FM/CD headunit. USB audio input and Bluetooth phone/audio integration are standard, plus 8GB on-board music storage.
- Storage: 497 litres minimum, 1533 litres maximum
It’s starting to look and feel a bit dated, but the 508’s cabin is certainly built with comfort in mind.
The front seats are commodious and heated, the rear seats offer plenty of legroom and are easily accessed through large door openings, and quad-zone climate control ensures the thermal comfort of all passengers.
Roll-out sunblinds are also integrated into each rear door.
The touchscreen infotainment is a little clunky to operate, but the 8GB of on-board music storage means you can pump plenty of tunes without plugging in a media player.
But quality isn’t quite there. Some small trim pieces (such as the coin holders on the centre console) were loose on our car, and the front cupholders have a tenuous grip on slim bottles and cans.
Pop a tall bottle into the cupholders and suddenly your vision of the infotainment display is obscured.
Peugeot perhaps needs to give that area a re-think. While they’re at it, they could also do something about the pointlessly small glove box,
The addition of blind-spot monitoring as standard equipment on the Allure is a welcome change, given the thickness of the B-pillar.
It’s not the best interior in its class, and we do wish some of the 308’s slick interior design had transferred over to the 508 as part of this update. However, it must be said that after a week of driving we never got sick of sitting behind the 508’s wheel.
It might be a little dull, but it’s a comfortable cabin.
ON THE ROAD
- 120kW/340Nm 2.0 litre turbo diesel inline four
- Six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, front-wheel drive
- MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension
- Electric power steering, 11.9m turning circle
- Disc brakes, ventilated 304mm rotors at front, solid 290mm rotors at rear.
One area where the 508 diesel certainly doesn’t disappoint is in the engine department.
With 120kW and 340Nm, the Peugeot 2.0 litre turbo diesel isn’t class leading (the Mazda6 has 9kW more power and 80Nm more torque, but it’s got more than adequate thrust for regular driving.
Overtaking, or slotting into freeway traffic, is a breeze.
It’s also wonderfully smooth and quiet. Even when worked hard the Pug’s diesel exhaust note doesn’t become harsh or clattery, just louder.
The diesel is connected to a six-speed conventional automatic (no dual-clutch malarkey here), and drive is taken to the front wheels.
This transmission makes a perfect partner for the 2.0 diesel, thanks to gearing that complements the engine’s abundance of low-end torque and shifts that are smooth and decisive.
Ride comfort is another area where the 508 won’t let you down.
It isn’t as supple as Peugeots of years gone by, but it’s still soft enough to soak up pretty much any road imperfection.
There’s decent grip through the 18-inch Michelin Primacy tyres, but the top-shelf 508 GT is the one to get if you’re after dynamic performance thanks to its more sophisticated multi-link front suspension.
The Allure, by contrast, has 'iffy' steering feel, plenty of body-roll in hard cornering and a bit too much float to the suspension to be driven enthusiastically.
But we can forgive the Allure for its doughiness on mountain roads, it’s no sports car after all.
What’s harder to overlook is the disparity between the claimed fuel figure and what we got in real-world driving.
Our average fuel consumption of 8.9 l/100km was well off the factory claim of 5.7 l/100km, and that was with an even mix of urban and highway driving.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars - this model scored 35.10 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: The 508 features front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, stability control, blind spot monitoring and a reversing camera. ISOFIX child seat anchorages are fitted to the rear seats.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
No shortage of competitors in the midsize segment, even if you’re only looking at diesel options.. Here’s a list of the best, in order of our preference.
- Mazda6 Touring
- Skoda Octavia Elegance
- Ford Mondeo Trend
- Hyundai i40 Elite
- Volkswagen Passat 130TDI
- Holden Malibu CDX
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Peugeot 508’s mid-cycle update certainly keeps it 'in the game' in the mid-size segment. But, while a worthy contender, it’s not enough to make it a class leader.
The Mazda6, Skoda Octavia and Ford Mondeo diesels hold the mantle here (and no Camry diesel on offer).
While the standard equipment list is now fatter than before, a cabin that feels a bit behind the times rubs some of the shine off that European badge.
Most of its direct rivals retail in the low $40k region, but the 508 Allure's $44,990 national drive-away price puts it about on par in terms of value.
But, if you do a lot of long-distance cruising, the 508 Allure could be your thing.
It’s got comfort aplenty, has the right kind of ride for lengthy highway stints, and its diesel is at its most efficient during a high-speed cruise.