We’ve already tested the quality of a well-used 508 with the review of a model that had covered the equivalent of 56,000 miles (Fleet News September 1), and our long-term car has so far done nothing to alter our original view: for the first time in years Peugeot has a car of sufficient quality to match up to the best in the sector.
The momentum has been building for a while: 308 and 407 were steps in the right direction, but both suffered trim issues later in life. And neither troubled the sector leaders for residual values and, ultimately, running costs.
However, with the 508, this could all change. Already the pricing guides are looking favourably upon this car, quoting 30% over three years/60,000 miles and 22% over four/80,000. The best in this sector – the Volkswagen Passat – is just two percentage points higher at three years, although that rises to five percentage point over the longer operating cycle.
That translates to running costs over four years/80,000 miles of 35.87p per mile for the 508, compared to the Passat’s 33.45ppm.
That’s the facts and figures out of the way – the 508 ticks the necessary financial boxes from a fleet perspective beating many of its rivals. But is it worth adding to your choice list; in other words will it appeal sufficiently to drivers to justify its selection?
Looks-wise it’s a winner. The 508 has won admiring glances from friends and family for its shapely curves and well-proportioned lines.
Driving experience is best described as acceptable. The chassis is comfortable, well capable of absorbing the daily slog of a high mileage driver. But you’ll have to look elsewhere for thrills; the 508 falls short of the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Mazda6.
Does that matter? Not for the fleet sector where thrills aren’t a priority. Focus instead on the quality, premium-feel interior, the ample legroom and the cavernous boot space and the 508 regains ground as a family-cum-corporate car. Also consider real-world fuel economy in the mid-50s, matching the manufacturer’s official figures.
There are niggles, however. The right-hand wing mirror doesn’t extend out far enough leaving you viewing as much of the flank of the car as the adjacent road.
Peugeot has also skimped on some of the production costs of converting the car for the right-hand drive UK by deciding not to move the hand brake. Set up for left-hand drive it is so far over to the left that you risk getting unintentionally familiar with the occupier of the passenger seat each time you reach out.
So far, the complaints are minor, however. Peugeot has made immense strides forward with the 508; and it appears that fleets agree, with 90% of the 3,700 models sold so far this year entering the corporate market.