Peugeot 508 1.6 THP

21 Jan, 2011 10:31am Jack Rix

Petrol turbo expands family car’s appeal

Verdict

4
According to Peugeot, only one in 10 of the 508s sold in Europe will be ordered with a petrol engine – largely due to the high volume of fleet sales. That’s a shame, as the turbo driven here is a peach: it revs smoothly and quietly, and has plenty of torque and ample power for motorway overtaking. Crucially in this class, refinement and comfort are great, too, while the modern and high-quality interior is a fine place in which to spend time. The 508 is a return to form for the brand.
It’s Peugeot’s great hope: a striking family car that seeks to bring real luxury to the Ford Mondeo class and boost the marque’s sales as a result. 

In Issue 1,149, we drove the new 508 in top-spec 2.2-litre HDi diesel GT trim. It impressed with its refinement and handling, if not its near-£30,000 price. So, does the 1.6-litre petrol turbo, 
at £22,220, make more sense?

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Peugeot 508


Push the starter button and the four-cylinder unit, also used in the RCZ coupé, fires up and immediately settles to a virtually silent idle – a sign of things to come. Whether you’re on the motorway or cruising in town, it remains beautifully smooth and responsive. There’s enough power in reserve to make for easy overtaking, while the exhaust lets out a gentle growl as the revs rise.

This engine is far quieter than the 1.6, 2.0 or 2.2-litre HDi diesels, and is the perfect complement to the 508’s refined demeanour. The cabin is hushed, even at motorway speeds, and it really is on a par with anything in the class above. Although top-spec GT models – available only with the 204bhp 2.2 HDi – get a more sophisticated dual-wishbone front suspension set-up, the rest of the range, including our car, sticks with a MacPherson strut arrangement.

In corners, this makes the front end marginally harder to place accurately on the road. It has no effect on the cushioned ride – overall, the 508’s driving experience puts the emphasis more on comfort than cornering ability, but it strikes an excellent balance between the two.

Practicality is impressive as well. The handsome SW estate can swallow 1,865 litres of luggage, but the saloon isn’t as far behind as you might think. Fold the rear seats flat and a total of 1,581 litres become available.

The 508 replaces the 407 and 607 in one, and offers more rear legroom than the larger model, even though it’s only 10cm longer than the former.

Another significant step for Peugeot is the standard of the interior. The crisp, modern design is a world away from the more cluttered cabins in the 3008 and RCZ, and creates a more premium atmosphere. Soft-touch materials mean the quality hikes aren’t only visual, but tangible, too. 

Explore the equipment list and this 508 compares favourably to equivalent versions of its rivals, with options including a colour head-up display, heated massage seats and even a built-in Wi-Fi hub. 

Starting at £18,150, the car is slightly cheaper than Renault’s most basic Laguna and £725 less than the entry-level version of VW’s latest Passat.

Key specs

* Price: £22,220
* Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbo
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* Power/torque: 156bhp/240Nm
* 0-62mph: 8.6 seconds
* Top speed: 126mph
* Economy: 44.1mpg
* CO2: 149g/km
* Equipment: Half-leather trim, electric and heated front seats, keyless entry, rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloys, cruise control, USB connection, colour head-up display
* On sale: Now
AEX 1337
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