The 508 enjoys a decent level of specification, particularly safety equipment, and has accordingly been given a five-star EuroNCAP rating.
As standard on our Allure trim (which sits just above the entry-level Active) are cruise control with speed limiter, ABS, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), emergency brake assist (EBA), which increases braking pressure in an emergency, and electronic stability control, which reduces the risk of skidding through loss of traction.
Included within the safety pack are speed limiter recognition and recommendation, active bonnet (rated good by EuroNCAP for pedestrian head protection), driver alert attention (which helps detect fatigued drivers) and tyre under-inflation detection.
I’ve found the auto emergency braking alert a little jittery when approaching cars that are turning into side roads, even when a long gap is left in anticipation of the car’s exit from the main road. However, unlike other models we’ve reviewed, it hasn’t actually applied the brakes.
And we praise the fact that it is able to recognise vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
In the main, the systems are not intrusive – although I’ve not needed to test most of them. However, EuroNCAP has, and its tests have shown them all to perform well, making the 508 one of the safest cars in its class.
The one system that is a little too meddling for my liking is the lane-keeping assist. Any slight deviation from the centre of the land seems to result in a tug at the wheel. The system defaults to ‘on’ for every start up, but is easily switched off by a button to the right of the steering wheel.
Of much greater value is the lane departure warning. Due to the 508’s sloping roofline, the interior lining hides the corners of the rear windscreen, resulting in a wide blind spot around the C pillar that is near impossible to totally eliminate by adjusting the wing mirrors.
The warning system acts as a second safety net (the first being a quick look over the shoulder before changing lanes) and certainly compensates for the poor rear vision.
Related to safety are the seats. In a previous test, I mentioned that they were supportive. It seems that view is not universally endorsed. Several front seat passengers of late have struggled to find the comfy spot, and have complained of backache on longer journeys.
Both front seats have multi-way electric adjustment, including lumbar support, although I have found that it doesn’t quite nestle snuggly against the spine.
But it’s not enough to dissuade me from giving my own big tick to the 508’s five-star safety performance.
There has been a noticeable change of pace since I swapped into the Peugeot 508.
After a run of executive long-term test cars with high output 2.0-litre diesel engines, the 508 offers a decidedly less punchy 130PS from its 1.5-litre diesel engine.
In truth, the performance is reasonable, with sub-10 second 0-62mph and decent in-gear oomph, but eking out those last drops of power isn’t a comfortable experience. The engine is far happier with a mid-rev gear change rather than being pushed close to the limit.
Does that matter? Probably not. It’s only on odd occasions where you need a bit more urgency, such as overtaking.
At most other times, this is real-life everyday driving and, when keeping the revs low, the Peugeot provides a refined, quiet drive.
It’s also an efficient one. Average fuel consumption has crept up to 55mpg with minimum fuss, and 60mpg is within sight on longer journeys. That compares favourably to the WLTP range of 52.5-59.8mpg.
I’m impressed with the 508’s interior. The small, flat top/bottom steering wheel is enjoyable to handle while Peugeot has made good use of the chrome detailing around the slim-line air vents and consoles.
The most eye-catching feature is the innovative and stylish piano keys, which replace the standard buttons. Laid out in front of the 10-inch sat-nav screen, they look great and are extremely easy to use – full marks to Peugeot for creating something that offers both form and function.
The seats are welcoming and supportive and cabin space is excellent for front and rear passengers, despite the swooping coupe-like fastback roofline.
Boot space is acceptable at 487 litres, albeit a little way off the likes of the Ford Mondeo (541) and Volkswagen Passat (586), but on a par with the Vauxhall Insignia (490 litres). However, the boot itself is very heavy to lift and awkward to close.
So far, it’s the only negative when it comes to the car’s practicalities.
First test - May 2019
It’s the looks that strike you first. The narrow headlights set back from the bumper and bonnet, bookending an equally shallow grille, give the car a menacing glare, while the swooping roofline lends a hint of coupe to this five-door hatchback.
Our new long-term Peugeot 508 has earned admiring glances from staff and acquaintances alike. Won over by its looks, they all ask the same question: “what’s it like?”
It’s been a few years since a Peugeot has attracted such interest. And, initial reactions to the question are ‘it’s pretty good’.
Our test car is the lower trim Allure (which sits just above the entry level Active) with the 1.5-litre Blue HDI 130PS engine.
Priced £26,320 (P11D), metallic paint adds £575, but there are no other options on the car.
Quality and equipment levels are impressive. As standard, you get safety items such as speed limiter recognition, driver alert attention, lane-keeping function and blind spot detection, plus ‘convenience’ kit including front/rear parking sensors, 180-degree colour reversing camera, bird’s eye camera, 3D sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth.
Peugeot has put a lot of emphasis on its competitive total cost of ownership. Running cost over four years/80,000 miles is 35.39p per mile compared to 39ppm for the nearest VW Passat (1.6 auto) and 37.93ppm for the equivalent Vauxhall Insignia (1.6 man).
While the correlated NEDC figure is 74.3mpg, the WLTP range is 52.5-59.8mpg. We’re getting low 50s on commute and high 50s on longer journeys with minimal effort.
The 508 has the looks and the figures certainly add up; over the next six months we’ll find out if the car lives up to this early promise.