Peugeot 508 saloon
Price £23,125 - £30,975
- 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 stylish, well built and comfortable saloon car, but it seems expensive compared to rivals.”
The Peugeot 508 is a large family saloon car that offers distinctive good looks, an attractive interior and a comfortable driving experience. Competition in this field is stiff, though: the 508 goes up against the excellent-to-drive Ford Mondeo and trusty Vauxhall Insignia – both of which have a wider range of engines and are significantly cheaper. In fact, the more desirable Volkswagen Passat costs about the same as the Peugeot, while a well specified 508 is more expensive than an entry-level BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class. If you need more space, Peugeot also offers the Peugeot 508 SW estate, which is additionally available as a four-wheel-drive hybrid, called the Peugeot 508 RXH. We’ve reviewed both of these separately.
The Peugeot 508 makes a good case for itself in some ways: it’s a handsome and efficient car, with even the most powerful engine returning over 60mpg. The entry-level engine is a 120bhp 1.6-litre diesel that gets the car from 0-62mph in 11 seconds, returns 70.6mpg and costs just £20 a year in road tax, thanks to low CO2 emissions of 103g/km. A 2.0-litre diesel engine is offered with either 150 or 180bhp, although the more powerful of these is only available in top-spec GT trim, which pushes the 508’s price up to over £30,000.
Fuel economy remains impressive, whichever of the 2.0-litre engines you choose: the 150bhp returns 72.5mpg and costs just £20 a year in road tax, while a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds makes keeping up with traffic easy. The 180bhp engine returns 67.3mpg and incurs the same annual road-tax bill of £20, while a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds makes it the fastest version of the 508. The downside to this impressive economy is that Peugeot only offers the 508 with a diesel engine, limiting its appeal somewhat.
The hybrid Peugeot 508 HY4 uses a diesel engine in conjunction with an electric motor, and despite having four-wheel-drive as standard (which adversely affects economy) still manages to return 70.6mpg and is exempt from road tax thanks to CO2 emissions of just 95g/km. At over £32,000, the 508 HY4 is expensive, though.
Like most large, French-made saloons, the Peugeot 508 is comfortable on the road. Its suspension does a good job of insulating you from potholes and poor surfaces and it’s a relaxing car to drive – although the Ford Mondeo is ultimately more driver-focused.
The 508 has a well built interior, with comfortable seats and plenty of soft-touch plastics. Front and rear occupants benefit from plenty of head and legroom, with even the middle seat in the back being comfortable for adults. There are a few too many buttons, though – both on the dashboard and the steering wheel – which makes the 508 feel a little ‘busy’ inside and means finding the right control can be fiddly. The 473-litre saloon-style boot is smaller than the Volkswagen Passat’s, while the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb also have larger boots, combined with hatchback practicality.
Peugeot offers the 508 in four trim levels, starting with Active and rising through Allure, GT Line and top-spec GT. Active is likely to have all the equipment you need: this entry-level trim includes a seven-inch touchscreen sat nav, Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, LED daytime running lights and rear parking sensors.
Allure trim costs about £2,000 more than Active and adds keyless entry and go, a reversing camera, heated half-leather seats, an electronic parking brake and larger 18-inch alloy wheels. GT Line trim adds a further £1,000 to the 508’s price and includes red stitching on the seats, different 18-inch alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipes and full LED headlights.
The top-spec GT trim (only available with the 180bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine) comes with full leather seats (complete with massage function for the driver), a colour head-up display and 19-inch alloy wheels.
In terms of reliability, the Peugeot 508 has an average reputation. In our 2016 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, it came 83rd out of 150 cars, with a 109th-place finish for reliability. Peugeot’s 17th-place result (out of 32 manufacturers) is also slightly underwhelming. The 508 demands no sacrifices in terms of safety, though: a five-star crash-test result from Euro NCAP is reassuring, as is the lengthy list of safety equipment Peugeot fits to each and every 508.
Despite the availability of a hybrid, the regular 2.0-litre diesel Peugeot 508 is actually the most fuel-efficient choice
Peugeot 508 has a great range of engines, decent handling and plenty of grip
The Peugeot 508 is very comfortable, despite its firm suspension setup
The Peugeot 508 boot is on the small side and its interior could be more practical
Peugeot 508 feels high-quality and owner satisfaction with the car and brand are improving