Peugeot 508 saloon
Price £22,045 - £32,600
- Good to drive
- Comfortable ride
- Great cabin quality
- Higher-spec models expensive
- Cabin lacks practicality
- Rivals are better
At a glance
"The Peugeot 508 is a family saloon car that’s good to drive, comfortable and pretty stylish, but it faces some stiff competition."
The Peugeot 508 is a saloon car in the family-car class, and so competes with some big-name models like the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat. However, the 508 is by no means out of its depth: its smart styling stands out in this class, it has a high-quality interior and it's very good to drive.
There are some drawbacks, though. The entry-level model is pretty basic and the top-of-the-range model is expensive, with a price tag dangerously close to premium executive cars such as the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series. One other stumbling block for the 508 is the fact that it's up against cars like the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, which are just better all-rounders. But the 508 is a decent choice for buyers who want something a little different from the norm.
The model was given a facelift in 2014 that saw it get two new 2.0-litre diesel engines, as well as a far more distinctive design in preperation for the arrival of new versions of Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Hybrid4 model is most efficient but emissions and economy are good across the board
Peugeot has done a superb job keeping the 508 as efficient as possible. The Hybrid4 models offer the lowest running costs, with very impressive 78.5mpg economy and 95g/km CO2 emissions, so it's exempt from road tax. The 1.6-litre e-HDi diesel engine is almost as efficient, with figures of 64.2mpg and 95g/km CO2. The only downside to these two engines is that they come with an awful automatic gearbox.
You can have the standard 1.6-litre diesel with a much better manual gearbox, but its figures fall to 60.1mpg and 124g/km of CO2. This isn't too bad given that the most efficient model in the Mondeo range emits 119g/km CO2. The top-of-the-range 2.2-litre diesel 508 offers lots of power, yet will still return 49.6mpg and emit 150g/km CO2.
Petrol models offer reasonable efficiency, too, with emissions starting from 144g/km CO2 in the entry-level 1.6-litre engine.The new 2.0-litre diesel engines are also strong, with the 150bhp version capable of 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 109g/km for road tax of £20 a year.
Engines, drive & performance
508 has a great range of engines, decent handling and plenty of grip
The 508 is great to drive. The steering is responsive, it feels agile, there’s plenty of grip and it doesn’t lean through corners. It's still not as good as the Ford Mondeo, however. Depending on which engine you go for, it can feel pretty quick, too.
Fastest of the lot is the 201bhp 2.2-litre diesel GT, which will go from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds. But the Hybrid4 model feels pretty quick, too, thanks to its combination of an electric motor and a diesel engine, which produces 200bhp. All the diesel engines feel pretty smooth and powerful, though.
Our pick of the range is probably the 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which offers good economy and surprisingly strong performance. But we’re not fans of the slow and jerky automatic gearbox, which comes as standard on the Hybrid4 and 1.6-litre e-HDI diesel models. Also, if you’re looking for a sporty-driving saloon, the Ford Mondeo is a better bet.
Interior & comfort
The 508 is very comfortable, despite its firm suspension setup
The 508 has fairly firm suspension to help its handling. This often means an uncomfortable ride, but Peugeot’s engineers have done a superb job of ensuring that isn’t the case with the 508 – it really does soak up the jolts from bumps and potholes. The cabin is very well insulated (thanks in part to a soundproofed windscreen), so engine, road and wind noise are barely audible, making this a very relaxing car to drive.
The seats are very supportive, too, and feel great even on longer journeys. So, while the 508 isn't the most comfortable car in class – the Volkswagen Passat is better in this respect – it’s still very good.
Practicality & boot space
The boot is on the small side and the interior could be more practical
The Peugeot 508 is a big car – it’s 4.8 metres long, which is about the same size as a Ford Mondeo – so there’s plenty of space inside. Occupants aren’t going to struggle for head or legroom regardless of whether they're sitting in the front or back.
There's a disappointing lack of cubbyholes and places for storing things like mobile phones and drinks, though. And the 508’s boot is small compared to rivals in the class. At 473 litres, it's some way behind the Vauxhall Insignia’s 530 litres, the Ford Mondeo’s 540 litres and the Volkswagen Passat’s 565 litres. The luggage area is even smaller on 508 Hybrid4 models, because the batteries are stored in the boot.
Reliability & safety
508 feels high-quality, but there are still concerns over Peugeot reliability
According to owners’ feedback, Peugeots are still among the least satisfactory cars to own in the UK. In the 2013 Driver Power satisfaction survey the brand came 31st out of 32 manufacturers, which doesn’t speak well of its cars’ reliability.
Having said that, there haven’t been any major issues reported on the 508 to date and it does feel high-quality and well put together. We wouldn’t expect it to be plagued by the kind of irritating electrical issues that have troubled many Peugeots in the past.
It’s very safe, too – it scored the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests. And it received a very impressive 97% rating for its active safety systems, too. That includes things like Peugeot’s SOS system, a clever optional extra that automatically contacts the emergency services and notifies them of your location via GPS in the event of an accident.
Price, value for money & options
Resale values likely to be poor and top-spec models are very expensive
There are four spec levels to choose from: Access, SR, Allure and GT. Entry-level models do without alloy wheels but do come with daytime running lights, air-con and electric windows. SR models get 16-inch alloys, sat nav and cruise control. Allure cars come with rear parking sensors, keyless start and electrically adjustable heated half-leather seats. GT models get sports suspension, bright xenon headlights, a colour head-up display and full leather upholstery.
But – and this is a big 'but' – the top-spec GT model costs almost the same as the much better BMW 3 Series. This is particularly troubling, because Peugeots don't hold their value well, meaning the more you pay for your 508, the more you’ll lose when it the time comes to sell it on. As a result, we’d recommend picking a less expensive model.