Back in June when the sun was shining, we got to drive the Peugeot 508 on French roads in & around Nice. Seven months later in December & on gritted British roads, we repeated this, with twelve days in the fleet-friendly 508 Allure BlueHDI. Despite the grey Winter skies, the 508 still looks gorgeous & for my money, was the best looking new car of 2018.
Peugeot felt that the GTLine specced model in the 508 range would be the biggest seller, but for our money, it will be the Allure range that will appeal most to the fleet sector & the 1.5 BlueHDI 130 S&S 6-speed manual in particular. This model costs £26,339 on the road with a P11D value of £26,119, emissions of 101g/km & a BIK of 25%. Add in a claimed combined fuel economy of 72.4 mpg & you have a classic ‘rep-mobile’ of yesteryear, a car built to drive the length & breadth of the UK motorway network.
Taking it’s cue from the Audi A5, the 508 is a five door ‘fastback,’ & al the better for it. The front end features a finely fashioned radiator grille with chrome- plated chequerboard, full LED headlights, with the Peugeot lion centred on its radiator grille.The low glazed surfaces sharpen the car’s outline & reveal frameless doors. Spanning the rear end & framed between the rear lights is the glossy black horizontal strip that now characterises Peugeot’s latest vehicles & three- dimensional full LED rear lights which are illuminated throughout the night & day with adaptive intensity, making Peugeots coloured claws constantly visible.
The car’s designers have also massively improved the interior as well. The familiar i-Cockpit dashboard layout from the 3008 & 5008 has been adapted to the saloon, offering an almost wraparound drivers seat between door & centre binnacle. The small steering wheel is also there, plus a large 10″ wide HD capacitive touch-screen in 8:3 forma.
Being a fastback, internal space especially in the rear is slightly compromised, with rear head room taking a hit. The cabin does boast 32 litres of storage, spread out around the passenger cabin, as well as four USB sockets to charge portable devices, which are available from Allure trim & above, one jack plug in the armrest & two 12V sockets, including one in the boot. In the boot which at 487-litres, is actually 14 litres bigger than before, while the hatchback tailgate will make loading bigger items much easier. New 508 also offers a total of 1,537 litres with the rear seats folded flat, with room for a spare wheel under the boot floor.
During the first week of our loan, we drove the 508 locally, which meant in a combination of slow urban moving traffic, A roads & B roads & the 508 proved a comfortable companion. The 1.5 diesel engines turbocharged & offers surprisingly nippy progress with a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds. The gear ratios work well & the six-speed gear box never feels anything other than capable. Passengers sit low in the cabin, with both the wraparound drivers cock-pit & rear slanting roof adding to this feeling if your’e in the back. Despite this, it never feels claustrophobic, rather quite a comfortable car to be in.
The rear tailgate enables owners to make much more of the rear boot space on offer, with easier access meaning longer & bulkier items can be loaded/unloaded with ease. From a personal perspective, I love the fastback look & as a man who likes to visit the local recycling centre at least twice a year, the fastback fits right in.
Our second week in the 508 included two long motorway journeys totalling over 400 miles. Again, the 1.5 diesel engine performed admirably, whilst simultaneously returning a combined fuel economy figure of 55.3mpg which after an expensive Holiday Season, was music to my ears. Luggage space in the boot is excellent & both driver & passengers found that the ride in the 508 & the 508 seats were both comfortable. The DAB radio & Apple CarPlay both performed smoothly & hands-free Bluetooth phone conversations were had with no fuss at all. I still don’t like the touch screen heating system featured on many cars & that includes the one in the 508. Fiddly best describes this. However, by utilising the Voice Control button on the steering wheel, you can increase or decrease the temperature by half a degree, simply by asking “increase or decrease temperature.”
Wiling away the long motorway miles also gave me the chance to pick up on some gripes with the 508. Whether it’s my bad driving I couldn’t say, but the manual gear change is notchy, with a few missed sequences in slow moving traffic from my good self, the usual second instead of fourth, third instead of fifth. Practice makes perfect.
The 1.5 engine, even in Sport mode, does lack a bit of oomph when accelerating on the motorway, or when joining it from a junction or the services. And finally, putting a couple of water bottles in the holders directly behind the gear stick, where they’re supposed to go, means that you will hit these with your left hand when changing up or down through the gears. Annoying & something I missed when driving the auto version previously, but not a reason to dismiss the 508.
In conclusion, the Peugeot 508 is a great all rounder. Even when powered by the 130bhp manual 1.5 diesel engine, the 508 performs well, offering a comfortable & enjoyable ride. There’s plenty of room for four adults & their luggage & the 508 is on trend with the latest car tech & safety kit. Yes, the 130bhp diesel engine isn’t powerful enough to be exciting, but you can counter that with easily achieved mid-fifties mpg fuel economy, which will save you or your company money. And, whilst many cars are bland to look at nowadays, the 508 bucks the trend, with movie-star looks that don’t take away any of the practicality customers expect from their car nowadays.
A James Dean 4/5