Peugeot's stylish new saloon tested on Irish roads
Pros: Standout styling, standard equipment, attractive cabin
Cons: Restricted rear view, engines lack oomph, smaller boot space than rivals
Peugeot’s latest release comes in the form of the all-new 508 saloon, a sharply-dressed and sophisticated alternative to the Ford Mondeo, Opel Insignia Grand Sport and Volkswagen Passat amongst others. Peugeot is enjoying immense success with its SUV models of late, and the French brand is aiming to revitalise its saloon and estate lineup with the new 508. We spent a week driving it on Irish roads recently to see what it’s like to live with, and if really is as good to drive as it looks.
The 508's front end is eyectaching with pronounced LED daytime running lights and a chequered front grille
The 508 is unlike anything else in its class and it is lower, shorter and wider than before, which means it has a lower-slung appearance. The 508 has lots of distinctive features, including a chequered front grille, swooping LED front and rear lights, frameless windows and a sloping roof line towards the rear. It’s an eye-catching car in every regard, particularly in GT-Line specification and this vibrant ultimate red paint scheme. The base 508 is equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels and automatic headlights, though our test car is the desirable GT-Line model with sporty upgrades galore.
The 508’s interior is delightfully different, with a modern dashboard layout, cleverly-integrated touch screen tech, Peugeot’s small sporty steering wheel and a games console-style gear lever. The driver’s area is inviting and boasts a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and Peugeot’s i-Cockpit technology on higher specification models, while the centre console features piano key-style controls for the infotainment. The interior scores well in terms of aesthetics, with carbon-fibre effect detailing and well-constructed materials throughout. Peugeot’s 10-inch touch screen infotainment system is a nice addition, though it admittedly takes getting used to. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are featured as standard, while higher specification models feature a wireless smartphone charger. Elsewhere, there are several USB charge points in the front and rear and ISOFIX mounts for child car seats.
The cabin showcases a small flat bottomed steering wheel, 10-inch touch screen infotainment system and a digital driver's display
Inside, it’s roomy for front seat passengers with lots of areas to stow away items in the door bins, centre console and under the driver’s armrest. The 508 can accommodate four adults comfortably on longer journeys and the seats are very supportive and comfortable, although the sloping roofline impedes headroom for taller rear seat passengers. The 508’s new hatchback-style boot is wide-opening and 487 litres in size, though it is somewhat smaller than rival offerings. Drop the rear seats down, and this increases to 1,537 litres, while the seats fold completely flat which is helpful for sliding large items in and out.
The 508 can accomodate four adults comfortably on long journeys, with a pair of ISOFIX mounts for child car seats
The 508 is offered with a choice of 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre BlueHdi diesel engines, or with a powerful 1.6-litre petrol unit. We drove the 1.5-litre Blue HDi diesel, which is likely to be the most-popular choice with Irish buyers, and it offers strong fuel economy returns and low running costs. With 130 horsepower and an optional eight-speed automatic transmission, our test car sprints from 0-100km/h in 9.7 seconds, and while it isn’t particularly thrilling to drive, it cruises comfortably at motorway speeds. In terms of fuel economy, we achieved 5.8l/100 kilometres during mixed city and motorway driving, while annual motor tax is rated at €180. As standard, the 508 is offered with a six speed manual gearbox, while the automatic eight speed box is available at an extra cost. Out on the road it is refined and composed, with low road noise and well-weighted steering. While the 508 isn’t as engaging to drive as other cars in the class, it is an excellent companion on longer journeys.
The 508 features full LED rear lights with adaptive intensity depending on the time of day
The 508 boasts a maximum five star Euro NCAP safety rating with lots of standard safety systems. This includes driver attention alert, emergency brake assist, adaptive airbags for the front seat driver and passenger and three sets of ISOFIX child seat mounts as standard. Other features include active lane keeping assistance with road edge detection and distance alert, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers and an auto-dimming rear view mirror. Our high-specification GT-Line test car is further equipped with self-levelling LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane positioning assist and Peugeot’s drive assist pack plus.
Android Auto, Mirror Link and Apple Car Play are featured as standard for seamless smartphone connectivity
Prices and features:
Prices for the Peugeot 508 start from €32,400 for the entry 1.5-litre BlueHDi Active model. There are four levels of specification to choose from; Active, Allure, GT Line and a range-topping GT model. The Active model is well-equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels front and rear parking sensors, dual zone climate control, a leather steering wheel, electric driver seat adjustment, Android Auto and Apple Car Play and lots more.
Higher specification models enjoy a digital driver's display with Peugeot's latest i-Cockpit system
The Active+ adds sporty styling upgrades, 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, Peugeot’s i-Cockpit system and a 10-inch HD touch screen, a safety plus pack, ambient interior lighting and a rear armrest. We drove the GT-line version and it adds 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, customisable ambience modes, upgraded interior trim, GT-line badges and styling upgrades, rear LED lights and lots more. The range-topping GT model leaves little to be desired with additional leather upholstery, active suspension, electric mirrors with blind spot detection, an electric tailgate, premium sound system, electric and heated front seats and more.
Our GT-Line test car features full LED headlights with a static cornering function, automatic high beam assist and LED indicators
Full kudos to Peugeot, the new 508 has improved in just about every regard. It’s abundantly stylish inside and outside, with lots of standard equipment and a comfortable drive. As an alternative to traditional competitors such as the Ford Mondeo and Opel Insignia, it’s an enticing option. It also offers a frugal range of engines that are well-suited to the Irish marketplace. Although the 508 is sporty in appearance, it isn’t exactly thrilling to drive however and is best-suited to a relaxed driving style, while certain rivals are more refined on the move.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Peugeot 508 GT Line 1.5 BlueHDi
Prices from: €32,400
Price as tested: €40,480
Annual Motor Tax: €190
Engine: 1.5-litre BlueHDi Diesel
0-100km/h: 9.7 seconds
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic transmission
Body style: Fastback
Boot Space: 487 litres
Opel Insignia Grand Sport