Classified as a large family car, the Peugeot 508 features two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door station wagon. It replaced the Peugeot 407 and 607, sharing the same platform and many engine options with the C5 from Citroen. The 508 and the C5, after all, are built in the same plant. The 508 was officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 2010. Since the 508 was built in partnership with Dongfeng Motor in China, the car was also launched in the country. It was even reported that Peugeot expects China to have an even bigger market for the 508 than France for a car that is mainly sold in Europe. In 2011, Peugeot came out with a hybrid-electric crossover station wagon version of the 508, revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Peugeot 508 is a big car, featuring a longer wheelbase compared to the 407 that brings overall length up to 4.8 metres. Whether you get the estate or the saloon version, you’ll also see that both are designed better than the 407, looking more mature and stylish while at the same time addressing issues over safety. And address these issues it did for the 508 is considered to be a very safe car, rated five out of five stars according to Euro NCAP tests.
More mature styling continues on inside the 508, with the cabin looking and feeling more sophisticated and build quality has improved. Ergonomics are sound and controls are more straightforward. All switchgears are also clear and finished well. Proper styling complements spaciousness in the cabin as well, offering ample head and legroom at the rear with foldable rear seats to expand boot space. With a boot space of up to 1,598 litres in volume, the 508 stands above many of other vehicles in its class.
The 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine offers the best bang for buck if you’re getting the 508. It quietly starts and soon settles into a muted purr, delivering power as needed no matter what road you may be on. It goes from 0 to 60mph within 9.6 seconds and also delivers competitive carbon dioxide emission rates. Superior control over the car is also enjoyed with a braking system that has good stopping and staying power and pedals that feel good to use.
The Peugeot 508 only comes with either 1.6-litre petrol or diesel engine or a 2.0-litre diesel unit. Engine options pretty much cover just the basics but Peugeot rationalizes that these options allow the company to keep up with downsizing trends. Transmission options are also no better, appearing complicated with choices like a manual gearbox for a 1.6-litre HDi engine only available with a mid-spec trim level. Similarly, the 2.0-litre diesel engine is only offered with manual transmission.
Strangely, while passengers will be comfortable in the 508, there are many instances the driver won’t be. Mainly this is brought about by the high-set driver’s seat that many complained can’t be adjusted to go as low as the Volkswagen Passat or Vauxhall Insignia can go. The steering wheel also won’t extend far enough, putting the driver in a bent-legged, long-armed driving position that is clearly not comfortable.
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