The Peugeot 508 is a large family car launched in Australia in July 2011 by French automaker Peugeot. It replaces the Peugeot 407 as well as the larger Peugeot 607, for which no more direct replacement is scheduled. It shares its platform and most engine options with the second-generation Citroën C5: the two cars are produced alongside one another at the company’s Rennes Plant in France. The new Peugeot comes with a better quality interior and a more mature look. The 407 was famed for its quirky front end but it was a little like vegemite – you either liked or hated it. The 508 is more conservative and that should appeal to business drivers who will make up to 80% of its sales mix. Peugeot has come up trumps and this looks like a really viable choice in this sector. Since the arrival of the stylish RCZ coupe and the 3008 the French car maker has been going from strength to strength in terms of building good looking cars that are good to drive. So is the 508 better to drive than a Ford Mondeo? Is the build quality as good as a Volkswagen Passat?
This is where you get the sense that Peugeot has turned the corner as far as style and quality is concerned. You get an upmarket feel in the 508 and it is a big leap forward from the 407. The build quality has improved and the materials are of a much higher standard. The dash is clean but simple and the head-up display makes a great deal of sense in terms of safety.
If you enjoy driving then the Allure gets a 2.0-litre turbo diesel that puts out a respectable 120kW of power and 340Nm of torque. The diesel is a jem and is a great choice because the engine is feisty, fun and makes overtaking manoeuvres child’s play and it also sounds brilliant. As the turbo spins up, there’s a slight bit of turbo lag from start, but in-gear acceleration is more than adequate. Peugeot has also done a good job of keeping the diesel noise out of the cabin. The six-speed transmission shifts smoothly, plus you have the option of sport mode (that holds gears longer), or paddles to change gears manually.
The new 508 has closed the gap in terms of handling and driving enjoyment on the opposition, thanks to a chassis that delivers good cornering ability and excellent front-end grip. It may look like a run-of-the-mill saloon but the 508 is nimble, agile and its quick steering rack adds to the enjoyment levels. The steering is also nicely weighted, precise with impressive levels of feedback. Ok, so the 508 may not be as a sharp as a Ford Mondeo in the bends but it is better than almost all of its opposition.
This ride is excellent and although it is firm it’s perfect for long-distance journeys and should be attractive for its target market – company car drivers who spend a lot of their time chugging up and down Australia’s motorways or stuck in endless traffic jams. The 508 is one of the most refined cars in the sector and along with the impressive ride quality, wind noise, road roar and engine noise has been kept to a minimum. A special sound-proofing windscreen has helped to filter out the noise and dampers on the front axle have reduced engine vibration. The seats are well supported and the sides have enough bolstering to keep you nicely hemmed in when cornering. The head-up display, which means you can check your speed without taking your eyes of the road, is also very useful.
Boot space is ample: the 508 gives you 545 litres of boot space. It is impressive (this includes a hidden compartment with up to 48 litres under the boot floor). Fold the rear seats and the load room increase to 1,581 litres and the bonus is that you have a flat floor. But how does the 508 compare with its rivals? Reasonably well. The Ford Mondeo has a load space of 528 litres, while the Passat has a space of 565 litres with the seats in place. The more prestigious BMW 3-Series trails with just 460 litres of luggage space when the seats are in place.
The 508 range opens with the diesel-powered Allure HDi, which starts at $42,990. The Allure HDi has an impressive equipment list that includes leather trim, four-zone air-conditioning with individual controls for the back seat, Bluetooth with audio streaming, smart-key entry, an electric parking brake and parking sensors. The 508 also has a parking assist that uses sensors to calculate whether the parking spot you’ve chosen is big enough to fit your car. Optional satellite navigation ($1500) and bi-xenon headlights plus automatic electric parking brake with hill assist, electric folding door mirrors, start/stop button, electrically adjustable and heated front seats.
Five-star (ANCAP).Standard safety kit includes ABS, brake assist, EBD, cornering brake control, stability control and traction control plus the 508’s airbag suite consists of dual front, dual front side and full-length curtain airbags.
Combining both a stylish and strong design with cutting-edge technology; quality, purity and efficiency have been the watchwords that have guided the Peugeot designers and engineers during the creation of the 508.The stylish exterior design is elegant and timeless and full of ‘French chic’, equally at home in Sydney, Paris or London. The interior of the car combines hi-tech with the use of high quality materials and every detail has been chosen to offer indisputable perceived quality, both visually and to the touch. An exceptional interior space, a very generous boot, and a level of standard specification provide interior comfort and convenience of a very high level.
The question I asked in the introduction was “So is the 508 better to drive than a Ford Mondeo? Is the build quality as good as a Volkswagen Passat? Well is it? Yes, absolutely, the 508 gives Peugeot a further evolution of the brand as it enters its third century and definitely gives the Peugeot Lion something to roar about again.
What is good and not so good?
What is good?
• Classy cabin with quality materials
•Good standard equipment list
•Strong and quiet engine
• Lots of kit as standard
• Refined and comfortable ride
• Large boot
What’s not so good?
• Fiddly buttons on dash
• Slight Vibration at idle
Vehicle: Peugeot 508 Allure HDi $42,990
Drive train: 2.0Litre (1997cc) – Inline 4 Diesel, 6-speed automatic, Front-wheel drive
Power and Torque: 120kW @ 3750 rpm – 340Nm @ 2000 rpm
Safety: 5 Stars
CO2 Emissions g/km: 149 g/km
Green Vehicle Guide Rating: 3 1/2
Fuel Economy L/100km (ADR comb): 5.7 L / 100 km
Tow Capacity: 1475 Kg
Tow Ball Rating: NA
Warranty: 3 year/ 100,000 km
Alternative: Volkswagen Passat 125TDI
Alternative: Ford Mondeo LX TDCi hatch
Alternative: BMW 3-Series Saloon
AnyAuto Ratings 81/100
Behind the Wheel 8
Fit for Purpose 9
Value for Money 8
Build Quality 9
Ride & Handling 7