The 508 is available in Access, SR, Active, Allure and GT trim levels. Standard kit is plentiful, with electric windows, air-con, stereo and a USB connection. The GT model is kitted out with bi-xenon directional headlamps, heated seats and keyless entry.
The Peugeot 508 marks a turning point in the design of all future Peugeot models. The huge front grille has been transformed into a petite new family face, accented with chrome. Everything about the new car is intended to look strong, sculpted and precise. Crisp bonnet creases show this off best, carefully framing the Lion emblem. The 508’s designer wouldn’t let anything spoil his new car’s clean lines, so you won’t find an aerial or washer jet jutting out of the bodywork anywhere. And the result is the Peugeot 508 is the most expensive looking Peugeot for years.
The cabin doesn’t let the side down. It’s also a big step forward for the French car maker. The instrument cluster has attractive and clear dials, with ancillary gauges which are invisible until you start the engine – a neat trick. Our only caveat is that it’s classier when you choose a top trim level with sat-nav. In lowlier 508s the attractive colour centre console screen is replaced by a black LCD with orange graphics and a pointless cubby hole.
There are two petrol and three diesel engines offering a wide range of performance. Choose petrol and you’ll get 120 or 156bhp from a 1.6-litre engine. Diesel power is available with 112bhp from a 1.6, 140bhp or 163bhp with a 2-litre engine or 200bhp from a 2.2-litre shared with the Jaguar XF. The lower-powered petrol is fitted with an automatic gearbox which is an option with the 1.6-litre diesel.
The interior of the 508 is significantly more spacious than the 407 it replaces – it’s actually on a par with the Peugeot 607 in terms of size – so it effectively replaces that model too. There’s 5.3 centimetres more space between rear passenger’s knees and the front seats, meaning six foot occupants can sit in tandem with ease. The boot has an impressive 545-litres of luggage space, more than the Mondeo hatchback – but the Passat’s boot is still 20 litres bigger.
Peugeot has crept up the manufacturer reliability charts recently, and is currently sitting in 16th place out of 38 car makers, according to the Warranty Direct Reliability Index. The 508 we tested felt well-built and rattle-free.
Ride and handling
The 508 might be a big car, but it doesn’t feel too unwieldy on the road. In fact it feels both comfortable and agile, soaking up bumps better than many of its rivals and displaying good balance in corners. Choose the top GT trim level and the front suspension is upgraded to a double wishbone design – more commonly seen in purpose-built racing cars. This provides greater road holding and steering accuracy for the most powerful model in the range.
Peugeot has worked hard on economy, and the 1.6-litre automatic diesel returns an impressive 62.8mpg while emitting 109g/km. Even the 47.8mpg and 154g/km of the least economical 200bhp 2.2-litre diesel shouldn’t break the bank.
The Peugeot 508 is fitted with six airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability programme (ESP). It was awarded five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing, with a score of 90 per cent for adult occupant protection.
The Peugeot 508 is a comfortable and stylish executive or family car, which is economical and decent to drive. But, can it tempt you away from the competition from Volkswagen and Ford?