Something happened the other day, we went to see a car, we drove the car, we talked about the car then I went home.
I was surprisingly unexcited about the vehicle and in comparison to the hype and hysteria Peugeot are making about the 508, I didn’t buy into it, not at first.
This is obviously the most depressing and rather sour introduction to the Peugeot 508 you’ll probably read, however, that’s the way I felt about the car and went away feeling a little deflated about the whole experience.
I won’t let that cloud my judgement and opinion on the 508 as you’ll see later on in the review.
I mean, this Peugeot 508, is the replacement for the 407. The 407 got a reputation for being pig-ugly, poorly built, depreciated faster than the heaviest falling rock from the highest peak in the world and was really in no way the 3-Series, A4 busting Saloon that it was up against.
Peugeot seem to think the 508 is, you’ll have to make up your own mind about that one.
Peugeot have gone to incredible lengths about how there is just so much attention to detail in the 508 Saloon and SW. Pointing out things such as the Star Shaped Led Daytime Running Lights, the word ‘Peugeot’ under the badge on the front, the extra door seals to quieten wind noise.
These maybe extra details but what does that really mean to me? I mean…Star shaped DRLs, they’re different and that does mean they will stand out, however, you can only get them on certain models and personally, I don’t think they give it that menacing motorway muncher look. They say the extra badge at the top of the front grille N.B the word ‘Peugeot’ alludes to how they used to be way back in the day, I was told that they did this because Peugeot are a proud and exciting company who are paving the way with their new cars and want to relive their glory days. Extra door seals, sound proofing are to make this a quiet ride, any quieter than the competition though? They’d already made a super French saloon that was quieter than a mouse’s whisper inside, the 607.
Doesn’t this sound a little like making a big fuss over nothing? Isn’t this a bit like saying, we didn’t make attention to detail, reliability, comfort a priority before but now we’re going to?
I’m just disappointed with all this hype, like seeing the trailers for blockbuster movies that show you all the best bits that eventually…let’s you down when seeing the movie in it’s entirety.
The outside of the car looks big, this is supposed to sit size wise in the middle of the now out of production 407 and 607. The impressive bonnet lines give a powerful nose to the car whilst a bulging shoulder line carries this through to the rear. The rear end looks a little, Hyundai or Suzuki esque but as seen on the GT trim and the glossy brochures with the twin exhaust pipes, does look like a little monster…nice 🙂 It is by far better looking than the 407 and 607 and different than other manufacturers which make this as far as the outside goes, a new outlook on what saloons can look like.
The car we got was the 1.6 e-Hdi Active in Metallic Black. This was somewhat refreshing as usually, we only get the range topping models with all the goodies. The idea behind this move was that this model, should be the main stay for reps all over the country and being that this will be a very business led/fleet vehicle thanks to it’s incredible 115g/km of CO2.
The active doesn’t sport the Pseudo MacPhereson suspension the GT adorns on the front so we weren’t expecting a direct feel when driving, more of that later.
When you step in the 508 you can tell it’s better built than the 407 and 607, tighter gaps, soft touch plastics. The interior however, is very minimalistic. Don’t get me wrong the last thing you want are a million and one buttons for such an ‘executive’ motor, it seems to be a copycat of the VW Passat interior. Which I hear you say must be no bad thing? Where is Peugeots crazy French styling? People buy French cars because they aren’t German which are technically good but more often very plain and boring.
Remembering this is a car for professionals, sales reps and managers alike…it’s actually a good thing they made the interior the way they did. It backs up the argument that you ‘Should’ try a brand other than BMW, Audi or VW for your car. Which to us means a step in the right direction.
The room in the 508 is impressive, the rear leg room has vastly improved over the 407 and is sitting in the league of the 607. This is something all car manufacturers are getting better at with the modern day restraints of safety issues to look at. You’ll have no problem sitting 4 fully grown adults in the 508 on long journeys. The boot is huge and will fit your golf clubs and suitcases a breeze. Just be wary that the opening is actually quite narrow. The SW however makes a brilliant load lugger.
With the ignition clicked on, the dials move all the way to their maximum point and back again, just like in the Citroen DS3. Again another little feature that in the Sporty DS3 or RCZ give the sense you’re in a somewhat sporty vehicle, I see no need in the 508.
Turn the key and the engine rumbles into life, I was kind of expecting not to hear the little 1.6e-hdi but I suppose that is pushing it. To me it sounded no better or worse than the likes of the new Citroen C4 or now ageing C5. Select drive on the EGC 6-Speed gearbox and away you go, as with all of these ‘Clutched’ Semi-Auto boxes, unless you know how to drive them, they can be a little clunky to start with.
Whilst setting off, I had to stop to check the traffic before pulling out onto a busy main road, whilst waiting for a gap to appear the engine stopped. It is a very unnatural feeling but by using a reversible alternator when pressing on the accelerator to move off, the car starts in milliseconds and you’re away instantly. This is a very tidy system and over the ownership period of the vehicle, could save money and help the environment.
The 1.6 e-hdi carries 112bhp, which sounds like too little. For a fun and engaging drive, it is. For the motorway and steady cruising for a comfortable drive and to protect your MPG, it’s awesome. It does carry the car well and for every day driving, is perfect. Even without the fancy front suspension, the car handles well. Of course it’s a large saloon so won’t handle like it’s sporty cousin the RCZ but when compared to the 407, it’s ahead. The steering as with all modern vehicles, seems to lack the feedback to give you confidence in the corners. It is however very light so when commanding the 508 in your office car park or multi-story behemoths it’s just so so easy.
On the motorway the 112bhp is more than adequate, jumps from 40-60, 60-70 etc are pretty brisk and mean you won’t be held up by not being able to use the gaps to overtake to get to your meetings. With figures such as 60.1mpg being thrown around, this is easily achievable on a long drive and should leave you with a satisfying feeling considering the prices fuel these days.
Those extra door seals do a good job, noise is kept to a minimum and makes for a relaxing drive, better than what I was expecting to be truly honest.
Pricing is somewhat of an issue for the private buyer of the 508, with prices starting from around £18,000 you can agree with that, it’s when you take the leap to the other end of the scale at a massive £28,750 for the GT model. Wow. Peugeot as well as Citroen are pushing the quality, refinement and design of their new vehicles, along with minimal discounts hoping for better residuals. We can only see how this works out for them over the next 5 or so years but according to the PSA group, your purchase from them…is a wise one.
I will admit, I was probably a bit to critical of the 508, it’s a surprise to me as I am a fan of Peugeot owning 5 in my lifetime with 2 still in the household and one onto my father. Having owned the 607 I was expecting leaps and bounds and instead only really got a hop.
In summary, the 508 is a good car. Good diesel engine offerings, stay clear of the THP Petrols that are plagued by timing issues, co-developed with BMW who are now pulling them completely from their Mini for it’s new incarnation, gives confidence doesn’t it. Obviously try and get the best spec you can for your money, with additions such as Sat-Nav (RT6) and a head up display, there are lots of goodies to have and would make your long distance driving that more of a pleasure in what is essentially a brilliant cruising machine.
Go and have a test drive and see what you think, there is nothing better than hands on experience.