Peugeot 508 review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Less room for rear seat passengers and only an average luggage capacity is the price the 508 pays for its fastback design.
In moving away from the traditional three-box saloon to a more fashionable fastback look for the 508, Peugeot has sacrificed something in the way of practicality. But while this does have a couple of downsides – mainly rear headroom – overall the 508 is a comfortable and roomy proposition.
The interior apes the car’s sporty fastback look, with a stylish cockpit that feels coupe-like yet is still comfortable. The dashboard design features swooping curves, and with a high centre console, you feel nicely cocooned and insulated when sitting in the front seats. All models have at least part-electric front seat adjustment, and from Allure models up there’s lumbar support and heated seats as standard.
One thing that’s worth noting is that the 508 has Peugeot’s i-cockpit set up, where you look over the steering wheel to see the instruments. While it works well for the most part, some drivers may feel they don’t have a clear view of the dash pod when the steering wheel and seat are adjusted to their liking.
The 508 offers a comfortable ride both around town and on the motorway, and while there is some low-speed fidgeting when fitted with the optional 19-inch alloys, this will be less of a concern for most buyers. If you opt for the top of the range GT model, then there’s also active suspension to keep the ride comfort at an optimum level.
Where most cars are becoming ever larger, the 508 bucks this trend by actually being slightly shorter than the outgoing model. At 4,750mm long the 508 Fastback is nearly 15 centimetres shorter than a Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, but a little longer than premium rivals such as the new BMW 3 Series saloon.
Leg room, head room and passenger space
Those up front will be more than comfortable with plenty of leg, elbow and headroom. But those in the rear will be slightly less fortunate, especially if they are six-feet tall or above. The sloping roofline really does make it tight for rear seat passengers in terms of headroom, and it’s likely their heads will be brushing the headlining. The 508 SW improves the issue slightly, but not by quite as much as you might have expected.
Car group tests
- New Peugeot 508 PHEV 2020 review
- New Peugeot 508 SW 2019 review
- New Peugeot 508 HYbrid prototype review
Used car tests
Legroom is adequate without setting new standards for the class, as it doesn’t offer the same amount of space as you’d find in the back of a Skoda Superb or Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport. However, Peugeot doesn’t see the 508 as a model which will primarily be bought by those intending to have the rear seats occupied by adults on a regular basis and the accommodation offered will be more than enough to keep the 508 as a practical family car.
The 508 saloon’s boot has a 487-litre capacity when the rear seats are raised, which increases to 1,537 litres when they’re folded flat. While this is a decent size, it’s no more than average for the class – similar in size to a Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport but put into the shade by models such as the Ford Mondeo (550 litres) and Volkswagen Passat (586 litres).
The 508 SW does offer a larger carrying capacity, but perhaps not by as much as you might think. The SW has a luggage area of 530 litres which rises to 1,780 litres when the seats are lowered – easily done via a button in the boot – but while it’s only slightly smaller than an Insignia Sports Tourer’s 560-litre capacity, it falls some way short of the largest boot in the class, the Skoda Superb’s 660-litre load area.
In this review
- 1Peugeot 508 reviewThe stylish and sporting Peugeot 508 is aiming to steal sales from more traditional models in the large saloon segment
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Peugeot 508 is an entertaining drive, yet it’s also comfortable and refined.
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsPlug-in hybrid tech makes the 508 more relevant to company car users, but watch out for potentially high insurance costs.
- 4Interior, design and technologyWith its svelte fastback styling, the Peugeot 508 stands out from the crowd and has an equally stylish interior
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingLess room for rear seat passengers and only an average luggage capacity is the price the 508 pays for its fastback design.
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe 508 achieves top marks for safety, while customer feedback is improving for Peugeot.