Home / Auto / Peugeot 508 2018 REVIEW – Can it compete with the Ford Mondeo and the VW Passat?

Peugeot 508 2018 REVIEW – Can it compete with the Ford Mondeo and the VW Passat?


Peugeot 508GETTY

BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 account for about three-quarters of sales.

This makes the target for this new Peugeot 508 of 5,000 sales a year rather difficult, especially when the outgoing version is selling just 1,000 a year.

As you would expect, almost all 508 buyers will use their car for business.

But in a world where the company car is becoming increasingly rare, Peugeot expects owners to not only take delivery of their 508 through their employer but also to choose it at a dealership on a personal lease basis having taken the cash rather than car option at work.

Besides being business people, buyers will typically have a family and do above-average mileage.

Those 5,000 sales a year will be split evenly between this new hatchback version, arriving in showrooms in October, and the estate version which follows a few months later.

The reason anyone is likely to actually buy a 508 ahead of the competition is for its styling.

This latest 508 is lower, shorter and wider to give it a very sleek look.

When the daytime running lights are switched on, the front looks particularly aggressive and at the rear, the full-width lights and reflector panel means you won’t confuse the car with others on the road.

The 508 has frameless side windows too, although at the rear the effect is diminished somewhat because part of the glass doesn’t retract into the door.

Power for the 508 comes from a choice of three turbo-diesel engines and two turbo-petrol engines.

The diesels are a 130bhp 1.5 litre, and a pair of 2.0-litres with 150bhp or 180bhp.

Aside from a small amount of diesel clatter on cold start, the engines are exceedingly refined when the 508 is on the move.

The petrol engines are both 1.6-litres with either 180bhp or 225bhp.

Although the less-powerful petrol will be the biggest-selling single model, the diesel models are likely to account for the bulk of sales.

The 130bhp entry-level diesel is the only 508 that comes with a manual gearbox, all the rest have a new eight-speed automatic.

The most powerful petrol and most powerful diesel are only available in the top specification GT trim. Despite being called GT, neither engine is especially quick but quick isn’t really what the 508 is all about.

On paper, the 0 to 60mph time of 7.3 seconds for the 225bhp petrol is respectable but not outstanding, while the equivalent 8.3 seconds for the same sprint for the 180bhp diesel is just about on a par with the class.

Part of this more re ned approach to performance is partly a result of the new eight-speed automatic which appears to be tuned to give the smoothest, rather than swiftest gear changes possible.

While performance figures may not wow, the fuel economy ones do.

Peugeot 508GETTY

The GT versions of the 508 come with clever active suspension which offers different driver modes.

Diesel may not be everyone’s favourite fuel at the moment but the 1.5-litre 130bhp diesel linked to the automatic gearbox has an average fuel economy of 76.3mpg.

As well as being a fuel miser, it also means lower emissions at 98g/km giving company car drivers a lower tax bracket than many rivals.

The GT versions of the 508 come with clever active suspension which offers different driver modes.

All are configured to be comfortable, however Sport mode gives just that little bit less body roll when cornering which improves the way the car steers into bends and gives more confidence to the driver.

Across the rest of the 508 range the standard suspension is almost perfectly set up for a car in which the primary role is to carry the driver in maximum comfort.

The car doesn’t crash over bumps yet it also offers enough driver feedback to provide decent engagement should you be on a twisty B road.

Peugeot 508GETTY

The petrol engines are both 1.6-litres with either 180bhp or 225bhp.

While most buyers will opt for the automatic gearbox, the manual is particularly positive and well mated to the 1.5-litre diesel.

As well as offering a comfortable ride the front seats provide support in the right places to make long journeys even easier.

In the driver’s seat Peugeot’s wraparound digital dashboard, dubbed i-Cockpit, impresses from the off.

The design uses a small steering wheel that sits below the digital instrument cluster.

This screen can be configured to show different systems such as a standard speedo and rev counter, the satnav map, stereo and a host of other options.

The dashboard then wraps around and incorporates a main screen for satnav and infotainment and minimises the number of buttons needed in the cabin.

It’s an appealing and different design.

However, the low and sloping roofline that looks so good from outside means there’s limited rear-seat headroom for anyone approaching or over six feet tall.

The low seating position in the rear means adults will find their knees bent rather than their legs supported by the seat cushion.

But space is fine for children. Limited rear passenger space means a good sized boot at 487 litres.

The 508 is now a five-door hatch, where previously it was a four-door saloon, so there’s far better access to the rear, making getting larger items in or out much simpler.

The new 508 may have a host of improvements but this hasn’t made the job of winning sales from the likes of the Vauxhall Insignia, Skoda Superb, Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat any easier.

However the new model has given Peugeot a genuine contender in the large family car market.

And the thing that will sway buyers to choose the 508 rather than one of its rivals is really the styling of the body and the flair shown in the cabin.

Peugeot 508GETTY

While performance figures may not wow, the fuel economy ones do.

LOGBOOK LOWDOWN

Model: Peugeot 508

On sale: October

Price range: £25,000-£37,400

Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 1.6, 1.6-litre 225bhp; Turbo- diesel – 1.5, 2.0, 2.0-litre 180bhp

Power: 0 to 60mph in 7.3 seconds, 155mph top speed (1.6 225bhp)

Average fuel economy: 76.3mpg (1.5TD)

CO2 emissions range: 98-131g/km

Rivals: Ford Mondeo, Hyundai i40, Mazda 6, Skoda Superb, Toyota Avensis, Vauxhall Insignia, Volkswagen Passat

Rating: 8/10



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