Review Peugeot 508 New car

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Peugeot 508 Electric Cars

Review of the new Peugeot 508



REVIEW DATE: 25 окт 2010

Peugeot have high hopes of taking a bigger slice of the UK Mondeo-sized medium range sector and the 508 is the car they plan to do it with. Jonathan Crouch reports


With so many car makers taking a global approach to sales, it’s no surprise perhaps that Peugeot’s Mondeo-sized 508 looks and feels far more like a German-built rival. Which is no bad thing, but the French manufacturer has also ensured that there are enough reminders of its own personality to make certain that this is a car with a character of its own.

Let’s start with first impressions. Remove the badges and you’d certainly guess at Audi or BMW parentage thanks to the highly streamlined silhouette, striking light clusters front and rear and an overall impression of prestige and quality. In the Mondeo-sized medium range sector, these are certainly sound qualities to have as Peugeot strives to put some distance between mainstream Ford and Vauxhall rivals.

Both saloon and SW (Sports Wagon) estate bodystyles are eye-catching for all the right reasons. So far, so good.

Quality and class in this model are all the more important since the 508 must replace not one but two cars: the old 407 (which was 9cm shorter) and the executive-class 607 (which was only a little bigger). It is no secret that Peugeot took the popular, refined and highly regarded Ford Mondeo as its dynamic benchmark, while interior quality was modelled on Audi’s A4. So handling is a step removed from anything the French brand has offered before in this sector, whilst high grade materials abound throughout. The idea then, is that the 508 must be able stand apart in the company carpark.

And, especially in SW estate form, should also prove popular with families who need a bigger vehicle but don’t fancy something as clunky as a large 4×4 or as hefty as a big people carrier. Can it tick all these boxes? Let’s find out.

Peugeot wants the driving experience to be as dynamic as the class-leading Mondeo, yet the reality is that his car will likely spend most of its time on motorways where it must be able to munch miles economically and comfortably. A difficult balance to strike but in an attempt to manage it, weight has been saved with touches such as an aluminium bonnet and plastic boot lid (more robust in reality than it sounds here), plus other weight savings like a much lighter front axle.

Peugeot could see the Lion roar again with the 508..

That was a good start but more important to the handling balance has been the adoption of a multi-arm rear suspension set-up across the range and an all-new McPherson-type front axle. Steering is through rack and pinion which is operated through an electro-hydraulic system. This boosts input at low speed to make parking easier, then reduces input at higher speed to maintain steering feel.

Under that lightweight bonnet can sit a wide range of HDI diesel engine options. The range starts with a 112bhp 1.6, progresses to 140 and 163bhp 2.0-litre units and culminates with a 204bhp 2.2-litre offering a prodigious 450Nm of torque, which should make it brilliant for towing. The petrol range includes two 1.6s, a 120bhp 1.6 VTI and a turbocharged THP variant with 156bhp and 240Nm of torque. A choice of transmission takes in five and six speed manuals, as well as a six speed automatic. The 120bhp 1.6 VTi sees 0-62mph come up in 11.8 seconds in the manual model (you’ll go about a second slower in the auto variant) en route to a top speed of 127mph.

The 204bhp 2.2-litre diesel will cover the 0-62mph sprint in under nine seconds, with a top speed of 145mph.

The saloon and SW both are examples of what Peugeot call their new design language. Purposeful and stylish, this gives the car great presence on the road, with streamlined looks. The SW in particular mixes practicality with a distinctive appearance.

Both bodystyles have the length to offer space in abundance, the saloon 4.79 metres in length, the SW marginally longer at 4.81m. In both cases, both front and rear lamps are especially striking, the three red claws to the rear of the saloon that mask three rows of six LED tubes being particularly eye-catching. As well as the extra load space in the rear, the SW variant gets a panoramic glass roof of 1.62 square metres, which floods the interior with natural light.

With a front overhang that is 4.3cm less than that of the old 407, the 508 features clean, flowing lines from stem to stern. There are no visible windscreen washer jets, no visible aerials, all is smooth and sleek. This highly efficient profile of course enhances both performance and fuel economy.

Peugeot’s newly worked Lion motif sits in pride of place on a floating front grille which gives the illusion of being separated from the bodywork.

Peugeot 508 Electric Cars

Inside, quality is again the theme with a centre console stylishly lacquered in black with highlight touches of chrome. Customers graduating from the old 407 will find that there is much more room inside a 508, including 5.3cm more knee room in the back seats. Rear passengers will have plenty of leg and headroom, even if they’re around six foot tall.

And that remedies one of the common complaints about the 407. Those in the rear also get nice touches like individual reading lights and their own air con controls. Boot space of 545-litres compares favourably with the competition, plus the rear seats fold for maximum versatility. The SW with the rear seats folded down gives a truly impressive 1,865-litres of space, plus there’s a further 48-litres available in the stowage area under the carpet.

The luggage compartment comes complete with a load net and solid hooks for restraining straps.

Prices that sit mainly in the £19,000 to £25,000 bracket see this 508 pitched a little above Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia rivals, reflecting Peugeot’s slightly higher aspirations for it. Other rivals include Honda’s Accord, the Mazda6, Toyota’s Avensis, Volkswagen’s Passat and the Citroen C5 that’s pretty much identical under the skin.

Whichever 508 variant you choose, safety and convenience features include a head-up display to avoid distracting glances at the dash, directional bi-Xenon high power headlamps and integral multi-position front seat headrests to absorb whiplash. As you’d expect, there’s stability control, emergency brake assist and electronic brake distribution ensuring that braking force is applied most effectively and efficiently. All models also get hill assist and intelligent traction control so that even in slippery conditions, the car will electronically judge how much power to send to the wheels to gain maximum grip.

Running costs of course, will be important to Fleet Manager and family alike and Peugeot has striven to ensure that the 508 doesn’t disappoint in this crucial area, thanks to their e-HDI technology. This is the Gallic brand’s version of the kind of Stop-Start system that turns the engine off when the car is delayed in traffic or at lights then instantly turns it on again when the driver is ready to go. This set-up, when mated to the 1.6 litre HDI engine and a six-speed manual gearbox, results in emissions as low as 109g/km (a reduction of 15% over the old 407) and fuel consumption of 64.2mpg on the combined cycle.

The ultimate expression of e-HDi technology will be the forthcoming Hybrid4 petrol/electric variant which claims to be able to return a 99g/km CO2 figure.

Peugeot could see the Lion roar again with the 508. Both saloon and SW estate versions look sleek and desirable, yet retain the practicality that both family and business buyers will need. The interior is especially classy, put together with taste and restraint.

It will also help that this car should be equally pleasing on the balance sheet, with a wide range of engines that are economical and eco-friendly. The overall result is a design that thrusts this Gallic brand back into contention in the Mondeo-sized medium range sector, with a car that may even interest lower-order BMW and Audi buyers in its plusher guises. Business and family buyers in this segment need to return Peugeot to their choice lists — and not before time.


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