Peugeot 508 2.0HDi 140 Allure22 | 04 | 2011Scotcars rating

    Impressive new Peugeot 508 goes head-to-head with Mondeo and Insignia


    Peugeot has been keeping a pretty low profile in recent years and is seen as the junior partner in the relationship with Citroen. But things are changing and the roles are reversing. Apart from the stunning and stylish DS3, Citroen seem to be drifting into the doldrums, while Peugeot is exuding a confidence that’s been noticeably absent for some time.

    Leading the comeback is the replacement for the 407, the excellent 508, which moves Peugeot into the highly competitive executive saloon market currently dominated by Vauxhall’s Insignia and Ford’s Mondeo. Peugeot’s ambitions are modest, expecting to sell only around 8000 in a full year compared to the 37,000 Insignias which will be taking to the road, but they’ve produced a car which represents value for money and delivers superb economy along with great styling and first class build quality.

    One measure of this car’s effect on the market is in the advance orders of more than 1000 in both fleet and retail, even before the car was seen in the showrooms or any customers had the chance to drive it. Understandably, fleet buyers have based their decision on the impressive running cost figures – lowest in the sector on Benefit in Kind, in the leading three in residual value and around the best in economy and running costs. And while private buyers have to watch the pennies too, they’re more influenced by image, style, driveability and range of options than just the costs.

    I was very impressed by the look and feel of the new car which is elegant and streamlined with the new family look of the ‘floating’ single grille, expressive headlights and LED daytime running lights at the front and dramatic claw-like red LEDs at the back. The saloon has a very clean and attractive appearance and the estate version, which Peugeot call the SW, has a dramatic posture rather than is often the case of looking like a saloon with a box on the back. This car has lots of clever little styling features but it should have one other — saying ‘success’ — written all over it.  

    On the road

    I drove several of the five trim levels and seven engine choices which are being made available from the launch, but I actually found the most accommodating to be what will be the biggest seller, the 140bhp 2.0-litre diesel with manual gearbox and a very impressive 125g/km CO2 level. The larger-engined 2.2 litre GT had more oomph, but I found the auto box a little fiddly to get used to, although no doubt this would become easier to a regular driver. I also tried out the eHDi with 112bhp but found the electronically controlled manual gearbox disappointingly sluggish and the stop-start system deeply irritatinG … but it does have an amazingly low CO2 figure of 116g/km. The manual box, on the other hand, was delightfully smooth and the car performed immaculately regardless of the road surface or conditions.  

    Comfort & Safety

    The test car came with only £1400 of options, including metallic paintwork, parking aids and directional headlamps with Smartbeam, which automatically switches from dipped or mainbeam depending on the conditions such as approaching vehicles or street lights. The second highest spec Allure version comes with tons of features including ‘Open and Go’ keyless entry, cruise control, an enormous panoramic glass roof and electric heated front seats. What wasn’t included was the much-vaunted Head Up Display, but in other test cars I drove, I felt it was less attractive than claimed.

    The speed and other information is fed to a translucent polycarbonate panel which rises from the dashboard in front of the driver, rather than in other manufacturers' versions where it is projected onto the windscreen, right in front of your eyes.

    To see this HUD, you have to lower your eyes, albeit slightly, to look at the display and it seems a touch of overkill to have that digital speed display above an identical one only inches below on the dashboard, alongside a third analogue reading. How many times do you need to be told what speed you’re doing? These are all small details and overall I loved the car and what Peugeot have done with it. The others in the field are good, especially the Insignia, but the 508 is better.  

    Should you buy one?

    Stylish, good looking, efficient and clever. What’s keeping you?

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    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £23,100 / £24,520
    Engine / Power: 1997cc/ 140bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 9.8secs, Max 130mph
    How big/heavy?: H1456mm W1853mm L4792mm / 1618kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 58.8mpg / CO2 125g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 25E/ Band D £95
    Alternatives: VW Passat; Vauxhall Insignia; Ford Mondeo; Skoda Octavia; Mazda6

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