Peugeot 508 saloon
Price: £19,545 - £32,100
- Good to drive
- Great cabin quality
- Comfortable ride
- Higher spec models expensive
- Cabin lacks practicality
- Rivals are better
"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 class, and so competes with some big-name models like the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat but the 508 is by no means out of its depth. Its stylish, modern look stands out in this class, the interior is high quality and luxurious, plus it's comfortable and good to drive.
There are some drawbacks, though. The spec on entry-level models is pretty basic and the top-of-the-range models are expensive, with a price tag dangerously close to premium executive cars like the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series. One other stumbling block for the 508 is the fact 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.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Hybrid4 model is most efficient but emissions and economy are good across the board
Peugeot has done a superb job of keeping the engine range in the 508 efficient. The Hybrid4 models offer the lowest running costs with a very impressive 78.5mpg and 95g/km CO2 emissions – making it exempt from road tax. It's rare to find a car of this size with such low emission figures, and 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 CO2, which still isn’t bad given that the most efficient model in the Mondeo range emits 119g/km CO2. The top-of-the-range 2.2-litre diesel engine offers far more power and will still do 49.6mpg and 150g/km CO2. Petrol models offer reasonable efficiency, too, with emissions starting from 144g/km CO2 in the entry-level 1.6-litre engine.
Interior & comfort
The 508 is very comfortable, despite its firm suspension set-up
The 508 has quite a firm suspension set-up to help its handling. This is often a guaranteed recipe for 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 it a very relaxing car to drive. The seats have plenty of support, 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 4.8m 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 are sitting in the front or back. There is a disappointing lack of cubbyholes and storage solutions 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 is some way behind the Vauxhall Insignia's at 530 litres, the Ford Mondeo's at 540 litres, and the Volkswagen Passat's 565 litres. The luggage area is even smaller on 508 Hybrid4 models because the batteries are hidden in the boot.
Reliability & safety
508 feels high-quality but there are still concerns over Peugeot’s 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 the company's cars’ reliability. Having said that, there haven’t been any major issues reported on the 508 to date and it does feel very high quality and very 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 got a very impressive 97 per cent rating for its active safety systems, too. That includes things like Peugeot's SOS system, a clever optional extra that automatically contacts emergency services and notifies them of your location via GPS in the event of an accident.
Engines, drive & performance
508 has a great range of engines, decent handling and plenty of grip
The 508 really does drive well. The steering is nice and responsive, it feels agile, there's plenty of grip and it doesn’t lean through corners. 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 0-62mpg in 8.2 seconds. But the Hybrid4 model feels pretty quick, too, thanks to a combination of electric motor and diesel engine, which combine for 200bhp. All the diesel engines feel pretty smooth and powerful, though. And there's a less efficient 1.6-litre petrol engine, which comes in a range of power outputs.
Our pick of the range is probably the 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which offers good economy and surprisingly strong performance. We’re not fans of the automatic gearbox, though, which is slow and jerky but comes as standard on the Hybrid4 and 1.6-litre e-HDI diesel model. Also, if you’re looking for a sporty-driving saloon, the Ford Mondeo is better.
Price, value for money & options
Resale values likely to be poor and top spec models are really expensive
There are four spec levels to choose from with the 508: 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 half-leather electrically adjustable and heated seats. While GT models get sports suspension, xenon headlights, a colour head-up display, and full-leather upholstery. But – and this is a big “but” – the top spec GT models cost almost as much as the much better BMW 3 Series. This is particularly troubling because Peugeots do not hold on to their value well, meaning the more you pay for your 508, the more you’ll lose when it comes time to sell it on. As a result, we’d recommend picking a model lower down the spec levels.
What the others say
Last updated: 7 Feb 2014