Peugeot's all-new 508 flatters and delivers

Peugeot’s new 508 is now on sale here, replacing the dated 407.

This new range combines a strong design presence with flattering and unpretentious good looks - perfectly attuned to the brand's new style lines. It is also well-equipped, and with prices starting from €24,850 ex-works (exclude delivery and related charges ) for the 1.6 HDi 112bhp Access model, it will turn heads in more ways than one.

Two body styles, the saloon which I am test driving this week, and SW (4.81m ), sport a huge panoramic glass roof measuring 1.62 square metres. Three 508 trims levels are being offered: Access, Active and Allure.

The entry level Access versions that start at less than €25,000 come with an alarm and deadlocks, manual air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, remote central locking, 16'' steel wheels (including a full size spare wheel ), and front fog lamps.

Staying with the 1.6 HDi, the second level Active costs €2,450 more or € 27,300 ex-works. For that one will add to the exterior: rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, automatic headlights, 17” alloys wheels (+ a full size alloy spare wheel ) with anti-theft wheel nuts, and electric folding door mirrors. Also add creature comforts like: an electric lumbar adjustment, cruise control/speed limiter, electrochrome interior rear view mirror, a radio RD5 MP3 USB + bluetooth and eight speakers, a multi-function leather steering wheel, climate control bi-zone, and finally electric child locks.

Taking the next trim level step up also means a bigger engine. The 508 Allure 2.0Hdi 140bhp has a price tag of € 32,550 ex-works. Some €3,450 of that is accounted for the improved trim level.

For that, on top of the Active spec, the following extra kit is included: keyless entry or what Peugeot calls “Open & Go”, full nappa leather upholstery, electric parking brake, heated front seats, electric seats, front and rear carpet mats, front parking sensors and space measurement, and the alloys wheels move up to 18”. However, because of weight constraints on this model, while there is a full size spare wheel on my Allure test car, it is a 16” steel wheel similar to the entry level model.

There are two option packs also offered by Peugeot. The first groups Bluetooth telephone facility with audio streaming and USB connectivity at €300.

The second, which was included on my test car, has a JBL hi fi system and Colour Head Up Display which has a price-tag of €1,000. Metallic paint is €500.

All 508s also come with a strong active and passive safety specification. This includes hill assist, traction control and the latest-generation ESP, which includes dynamic stability control, (emergency brake assist and electronic brake force distribution. The 508 is also equipped with six airbags and two Isofix child seat fixtures as standard. And the front seats have new curved head restraints, developed to combat the effects of a rear collision and whiplash.

Interior dimensions of the 508 are on a par with those of the 607 and are much improved in relation to the 407 to give rear passengers more leg room. The hi-tech interior oozes high quality and rewards both the driver and passengers with exceptional interior space and comfort and a very generous boot. The 508’s boot has a bigger capacity than the 407 saloon, and with the seat backs folded in one easy movement, space increases for the saloon and for the SW.

The 508 is available in Ireland with a choice of four efficient diesel engines. The 1.6 eHDi 112bhp stop-start engine is matched to an electronically controlled ecomatique gearbox and qualifies for Band A €104 annual road tax thanks to emissions of 114g/km . The eHDi stop-start system reduces fuel consumption by up to 15 per cent during urban driving. It has a price tag of € 26,450 for the entry level Access trim level.

The 1.6 HDi 112bhp manual (CO2 - 124g/km ) and the 2.0 HDi 140bhp, six-speed manual (CO2 - 125g/km ) engines both qualify in Band B for €156 annual road tax. The 2.0 HDi 163bhp six-speed full automatic offering qualifies for €302 road tax.

In about a year, hybrid4 technology will be introduced, with the 200bhp and all-wheel drive potential emitting 99g/km of CO2 (or zero in electric mode ). With a HDi diesel engine at the front and an electric motor at the rear, this technology will break new ground in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. With such low emissions, Peugeot believes the 508 will take driving pleasure combined with environmental responsibility to a new level.

Peugeot tells us the 508 will break new ground in terms of build quality. Engineers working on the 508 project completed two million kilometre road tests under real life conditions in a bid to reduce the total cost of ownership, which remains a decisive factor when buying a vehicle in this segment, particularly for corporate fleets.

Peugeot claims 5.0 litres/100km fuel economy for a combined cycle for my 2.0 litre HDi test car. That's 56mpg in the good old imperial measure, and a very good return for that level of performance in a big car.

The new 508 arrives in to a very competitive family car market (D Segment ) and making a strong claim is not easy. However, Peugeot has got the exterior of this car spot on and the interior styling and build quality to a high level of appeal.

On the road, my 2.0 litre HDi drove really well, with much more feedback and precise steering than the 407 ever offered. Active and passive safety specification levels are very good and ride comfort is on the button. The 508 flatters without any deception, and it really does offer a wonderful mix of performance and economy to family size car buyers. So Passat, Avensis, Mondeo and others had better keep an eye on the impressive new 508.


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