Peugeot 508 review
The Peugeot 508 is great to look at, good to drive and comfortable
The Peugeot 508 is a very serious arrival in the large family car class. It offers stand-out styling, a wide range of efficent engines and a very high quality cabin. Rivals like the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat are still better all-rounders, but the 508 is worth considering if you fancy something a bit different.
Our choice: 508 Active 2.0 HDi
The Peugeot 508 is a good looking car and does well to stand out from the crowd. It has a sweeping shape with a distinctive nose that incorporates its new grille and headlight combination. Peugeot appears to have tried to give the 508 the look of a four-door coupe like the Mercedes CLS, rather than a conventional saloon - and it works. Only entry-level Access cars miss out on alloy wheels and the cabin is made of high quality materials. Inside it feels much more upmarket than the Ford Mondeo, for instance, rivaling cars like the Volkswagen Passat and Vauxhall Insignia.
If you want a sporty family car, you’ll be better off with a Ford Mondeo. That said, the Peugeot 508 still offers a good drive, with precise steering, a comfortable ride and good sound insulation. The fastest engine in the line-up is the 201bhp 2.2-litre diesel GT, which does 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds. Petrol options include 1.6-litre units with up to 156bhp, while the HYbrid4 combines an electric motor with a diesel engine to offer four-wheel-drive and 200bhp. However, your our top pick is the 110bhp 1.6 diesel which offers a surprising mix of performance and economy. It gets a slick six-speed manual gearbox in Active trim, but the same engine in frugal eHDI spec is hampered by a jerky automatic transmission and is best avoided.
Peugeot has made huge leaps in terms of reliability and safety over the years, and the Peugeot 508 has earned itself a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. All models come fitted with front, side and curtain airbags as standard, along with traction and stability control. As for reliability, due to the 508’s relative novelty we haven't heard of any problems yet. However, Peugeot models don’t tend to perform particularly well in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey. That said, the 508 feels very well made and we hope for a strong showing.
Much bigger than its predecessor, the Peugeot 508 stands at 4.8m long – about the same as a Ford Mondeo. That means there's a decent amount of space, with bags of room in the front. It’s equally impressive in the back, where only the tallest passengers will struggle for head and leg space. There is a shortage of cubby holes for mobile phones and drinks though, and the 473-litre boot is slightly down on the Mondeo. The HYbrid4 has a slightly smaller luggage area because the batteries are hidden in the boot, but the trade-off is that it’s sure-footed in the wet thanks to four-wheel-drive.
Most Peugeot 508 models will be bought by business drivers, and they will either pick the road tax-exempt HYbrid4 - which emits just 95g/km and returns 78.5mpg - or the 1.6 e-HDi diesel, which emits 109g/km CO2 while returning 64.2mpg. The downside to both is the awful automatic gearbox, so we recommend the manual box in the standard 1.6 HDI. It’s much better but isn't as efficient, returning a comparatively poor 124g/km and 60.1mpg. Entry-level cars get air-con and electric windows, while SR versions add sat-nav, cruise control and 16-inch alloys. Allure- trimmed cars have electric leather seats and rear parking sensors. Top spec GT models boast a head-up display, xenon headlights and sports suspension for sharper handling. Running costs for all models should be reasonable for the class, although residual values are likely to be poor.