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Peugeot 508 Review

Find out more about the Peugeot 508 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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6
Out of 10
Average Price £11,031
Model Review

Brought in as the replacement for the short-lived 407 and the larger 607, the Peugeot 508 is a more executive saloon that brings a new level of refinement to the French manufacturer’s range.

First introduced to the road in 2011, the 508 came with a fresh design that was much improved from the rather odd 407 and also was one of Peugeot’s first to come with a much-modernised interior.

Coming in three body styles – saloon, the SW-branded estate and the off-roader-inspired RXH – Peugeot went all out to make this model attractive to all markets.

One problem that the 508 has, however, it has a rather high starting price when compared to its competitors, which are in many cases just as well equipped.

Latest Model

After originally coming to showrooms in 2011, Peugeot remodelled the 508 for a mid-life update in 2014 and with it came a retouched facia and new technology.

This update also brought the RXH to market, which takes aspects of 4x4 design and raised the ride height of the SW version so it could take on tougher ground.

Peugeot also reinvigorated their Hybrid4technology system, with the 2.0-litre HDi diesel combining with a 37bhp electric motor to improve emissions and efficiency.

To make it simpler to use, Peugeot also tweaked the cockpit design by adding new technologies, while also making it feel more upmarket.

 

Value for money

By making this their flagship model – as it were – they have tried to make it more premium from the off, but that can compromise costs when compared to its likely rivals, like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.

From the base spec Active model, Peugeot fits a leather steering wheel, rear parking assist, electric windows, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity with Mirrorscreen for Apple CarPlay, Mirrorlink and Android Auto, seven-inch touchscreen with 3D navigation, LED daytime running lights and automatic headlamps.

With a few extra accessories on top of that, the 508 does come with a lot from the starting trim level, but the starting price of £25,045 is relatively high when compared to its rivals.

Due to the model being updated in 2014 and the poor residual value of 508s, you can easily find top spec models from a couple of years ago that come with more tech and more comfort features. One example is a 2015 GT version that has only covered 10,958 miles and comes with the top of the range 2.2-litre 204bhp diesel-hybrid and automatic gearbox.

With it comes all of the equipment described above as well as leather seats with red detail, driver seat massage and memory functions, colour head-up display and 19-inch alloy wheels. Admittedly it isn’t much extra, but the engine has more power on offer, the finish feels much more premium and with the lower mark-up of £16,995, it is worth it.

 

Looks and image

In terms of design, it can be said that Peugeots have either been ugly or smart and this instance, the French brand has done a good job. The 508 is rather handsome from the front end and is a marked improvement over the 407, which didn’t look particularly good at all.

The design is smooth, more professional and fits into the saloon category very well indeed. Its grille is now commonplace on all ‘5’ prefixed models and fits into the shape well. The best looking of the range is the SW wagon version, as the rear end fits into the sweeping line of the front very well.

For driving – and not to say it is bad – there are rivals that do better on the road than the Peugeot, but it isn’t far away at all. The steering is direct and you get a lot of feedback, which does help a lot, and although the Ford Mondeo is quite a bit more dynamic, the 508 can still be chucked around a fair amount.

With a comfortable set-up, it cruises well on motorways and won’t tire you out on long journeys, but can get unsettled on rougher surfaces and over irregularities. Other models like Skoda’s Superb and the VW Passat will offer a more comfortable and serene experience, but again, the 508 isn’t a million miles away.

The 508 is a well-refined machine and something you wouldn’t particularly expect from Peugeot. It is great on long-distance excursions and for trawling the motorways, which is great for its businessman target market. With exterior noise kept to minimum, well-balanced suspension and a comfortable interior layout, the 508 is great on the comfort front and is only pipped by other models due to their comfort-based development and Peugeot’s attempt to look for a middle ground.

Space and practicality

The boot size is not the best in the segment but is still pretty good at 545 litres, including 48 litres under the boot floor. If you fold down the rear seats you get up to 1,581 litres of room for storage, which can be very handy indeed. The SW model does very well in this aspect also, with the standard setup offering 660 litres and 1,865 litres with the rear seats folded, which is close to many of its rivals. All the cubby holes and the glove compartment are of a good size but there is space lacking in the central area, which can be inconvenient at times.

The SW model does very well in this aspect also, with the standard setup offering 660 litres and 1,865 litres with the rear seats folded, which is close to many of its rivals. All the cubby holes and the glove compartment are of a good size but there is space lacking in the central area, which can be inconvenient at times.

As is the way with modern Peugeots the 508 does very well in terms of safety, earning a five-star EuroNCAP rating and good ratings in all categories. It scored 90 per cent for adult occupants, 87 per cent for child occupants and a superb 97 per cent for safety assistance systems. Although by today’s standards Peugeot should really add a few more systems to live up to the price, you still get airbags all around, ESP, reversing parking camera and blind spot detection as well as Peugeot Connect SOS service.

In either saloon or SW guise the 508 is good for families as the great amount of space, Isofix points as standard on all the seats and high level of safety are all great features that will be very attractive to them. A new model may be too expensive for many, but if you can snag a used SW model then that will perform excellently as a family vehicle.

 

Engines

All engines for the 508 are diesels and all have been specially engineered to have reduced emissions and have much improved efficiency figures. They are all BlueHDi units in either 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre guise and all produce upwards of 120bhp. Emissions are also very low from all of them and the highest level from any is the 110g/km produced by the 2.0-litre 177bhp unit in the GT model. Some may find the 118bhp unit slightly underpowered, so the safe option is any of the 148bhp models, which comes with a six-speed manual gearbox.

 

Running costs

Thanks to the entirely diesel engine line-up, you will be going to the pump less than you would expect. Although other models in the sector can return a slightly better miles per gallon, the 74.3mpg figure for the 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit is still very impressive. The 2.0-litre units can return at least 67mpg, while the most powerful 177bhp version can also return 67mpg, which is very frugal indeed.

Also, due to the surprisingly low emissions, the 508’s road tax is quite low compared to what you might expect. The 1.6-litre BlueHDi with 118bhp emits less than 100g/km, meaning you pay £120 for the first year, while the rest of the range fits into the £140 or £160 brackets. All models come with a £140 charge for road tax from the second year onwards. For insurance the 508 spans groups 25 — for the basic diesel unit in Active spec — up to 32 for the GT model.

Things to look out for

In its short history the 508 has done well to avoid any major recalls, which may surprise you, as the French manufacturer has invested well in improving reliability for their models. The only recall for the 508 has been for the risk of under bonnet fires on 353 units, while a more widespread recall order on a few Peugeot models for a fuel leak issue was also reported but it is unknown how many 508 were recalled.

 

Rivals

Although the family saloon market is slowly shrinking due to the ever-growing popularity of crossovers, the 508 still has plenty of rivals that it is either just behind or on a par with. Due to them being better at being driver- or comfort-focused, the Ford Mondeo, VW’s Passat and the Skoda Superb are the models that the 508 is trying to match and Peugeot will hope to be on par with in the next generation.

Other sector competitors like the Hyundai i40, the Toyota Avensis and Vauxhall’s Insignia are more likely to be on the Peugeot’s level in terms of quality, but the 508 is much more expensive than all of them.

 

Depreciation warning

Here is where 508 owners will suffer and we have to be honest with this — the resale value of the 508 and most other Peugeot models is very poor. After a three-year or 36,000-mile period, expect to see 70 per cent (yes, you read that correctly) fall away for most of the range’s price when resale time comes. It is unfortunately due to Peugeot’s non-premium badge and poor reputation for reliability and that is not likely to change soon.

Which 508 to Pick

Trims Explained

For the 508, Peugeot offers four trim levels — Active, Allure, GT Line and GT — that give the customer plenty to choose from. All of the trims are available on both the saloon and SW models.

Active

In Active trim, the 508 comes with a good range of accessories that do put it on a par with many of its rivals. For example, you get an infotainment system including 3D satellite navigation paired with a seven-inch touchscreen, DAB radio and CD player, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, Peugeot Mirrorscreen phone connectivity system, electric windows, automatic dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, LED daytime running lights and cruise control with speed limiter. You also get 17-inch alloy wheels, emergency braking assistant, all-around airbags and ESP with traction control. SW models also get tinted rear windows and chrome roof rails.

The cheapest model starts from £25,045, which is quite a bit more expensive than its rivals.

Allure

On top of the Active spec, Allure models come with an automatic parking brake with hill assist, LED front fog lamps with cornering function, reversing camera with front and rear parking aids, blind spot monitoring, electrically adjustable heated front seats and 18-inch alloys. SW models also come with a panoramic glass roof.

It is a significant jump from Active to Allure models, with the second trim level starting from £28,165.

GT Line

GT Line models don’t add that much accessory-wise but the increase in cost isn’t that extensive. Peugeot adds half-leather trimmed seats with red stitching, luxury carpet mats, 18-inch GT Line alloys, full LED headlamps, Smartbeam Assistance and twin exhaust effect trim.

What to look out for

  1. Not quite on the same level as its rivals
  2. Capable on the road
  3. Depreciation is very poor
  4. Good choices for trims
  5. Good running costs
  6. Only diesel engines on offer
  7. Good level of safety
  8. Reliability is surprisingly good
  9. Practicality is one of the best in its sector
  10. Interior and exterior design is well-refined

Review Rating

"For business drivers looking for more practicality than the saloon, the Peugeot 508 SW could be the car to choose.... Read More"