Peugeot 508 review: everything you need to know

  • Peugeot’s 508 turns into fastback to take on premium rivals
  • Interior boasts i-Cockpit design centred around the driver
  • We drive the latest family car contender from France

Peugeot 508 review summary

Long-live the SUV! Or not, as Peugeot has just revealed its new 508 family car – traditionally a competitor to the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport. With this new model, though, the French company is chasing buyers with loftier aspirations.

That means the new 508 will be taking on the Volkswagen Arteon, BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback with a sleek coupe-like fastback bodystyle and a high-end interior and tech to match.

New Peugeot 508: the styling

The new 508 certainly looks the part, with a classy, grown-up design that fulfils the brief of competing with its German rivals.

That’s not to say it doesn’t offer some French flair, though. At the front, there’s a striking set of vertical LED daytime running lights, a sharp grille and slim headlamp units.

Side-on, the 508 looks more compact than many of its gargantuan competitors, with creases in all the right places and an unfussy look. In fact, it’s shorter than the 508 it’s set to replace, but Peugeot assures us it’s more practical.

The doors are frameless just like a coupe, which immediately gains it some cool points, and contributes to its smart appearance.

Around the back, it’s a simple design with Peugeot’s latest claw-effect rear lights sitting in a black bar that runs the width of the car.

Peugeot 508 – a French car to beat the Germans?

Peugeot ups its interior game, again

It gets more interesting inside the 508. Like the recent 3008 and 5008 SUVs, there’s been a strong focus on designing a modern interior that wouldn’t look out of place in much more expensive cars.

The tiny steering wheel and high-set digital dials are present and correct, but the 508 now comes with a stepped dashboard and a large touchscreen nabbed from the DS7 Crossback SUV, while a high centre console surrounds the driver.

Plush materials are promised, with plenty of leather and wood contributing to a premium feel, but we’ll judge that for ourselves when we drive the car for the first time.

Peugeot is also promising greater practicality with a larger 487-litre boot (up from 473 litres) accessed via a hatchback tailgate rather than a saloon bootlid. This trails its rivals, though; the Insignia offers 490, the Mondeo 541, and the Arteon 563 litres of room.

What’s under the bonnet?

Peugeot will offer a selection of six PureTech and BlueHDi diesel engines in the 508, ranging from 130hp to 225hp, with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions available on most engines.

There’s no confirmation yet, but a plug-in hybrid version is expected to join the line-up later on.

What's the Peugeot 508 HDi like to drive?

The 130hp diesel version may sound a little low on power, but thanks to the 508's low kerb weight, it feels surpringly lively. The engine revs smoothly, and is extremely well muffled. The 0-62mph takes 9.9 secomds, but in truth it feels adequate rather than sluggish.

This 508 has traded up to 18-inch rims and employs conventional springs and dampers; active suspension is widely available and standard on all petrol models in the UK. Body control is execellent in the standard set-up, and it's particularly comfortable at motorway speeds. In short, it’s up there with the best in class.

Despite frameless side windows, wind noise only occasionally whistles its presence alongside. Throw in well-damped engine noise, and you have an impressively refined car.

Comfortable and easy going instead of sporty

Peugeot 508 drives well with an easygoing demeanor

Steering feel isn't great. It's too light from lock to lock, making the car wieldy to manoeuvre, aided by a steering wheel that’s shaped like a 50 pence piece and about the same size. That's okay if you like Peugeot's i-cockpit.

Overall, it's easygoing to drive and feels rather different to its German rivals, and that will resonate with some customers. Despite that, it stays flat in corners, holding its line well thanks to plenty of grip.

What's the Peugeot 508 THP like to drive?

Opt for the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, and you'll choose between 180 or 225hp models. The engine is quiet, but like the diesel its soundtrack is low down in the mix, and accelerated well, with a 0-62mph time of 7.9secs.

The eight-speed auto ris responsive, but it is a little to eager to change ratios. Put it in Sport mode and it becomes even more hyperactive and hangs onto a gear a shade too long.

The adaptive dampers have four driver modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport. The softest setting makes the prow bob up and down excessively, normal wafts along with improved control, and although the ride doesn’t go to pieces in sport.
Full specifications are yet to be announced, but a new 10.0-inch infotainment system features, as does the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel.

Peugeot is also promising some advanced driver assistance tech, including a night-vision system with infrared cameras able to detect pedestrians in the dark and when visibility is reduced, too.

When can I buy a 2018 Peugeot 508 coupe?

The new 508 will be available to order from July 2018, with four main trim levels – Active, Allure, GT Line and GT – plus a limited run First Edition available at launch. Pricing for the Active model starts at approximately £25,000. 

Early drive review of the 2018 Peugeot 508 The Parkers Verdict

The Peugeot 508 goes on sale in July 2018, with deliveries commencing in October. Prices range from £25,000 for the 1.5 diesel to £36,400 for the top-spec GT 2.0-litre. Peugeot  says that its PCP rates will be competitive with the Audi A5 Sportback and Volkswagen’s Arteon.

It will be interesting to see how this stylish new fastback acquits itself on UK roads back to back with these rivals. Could this be the first big French car in a long time to trade punches with the all-conquering German opposition? The early signs are looking good.

Peugeot 508 verdict: a solid four stars

Parkers will be among the first to drive this new model, so keep an eye out for the full Peugeot 508 fastback review