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View all Peugeot 508 reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Stylish Fastback looks great and drives well

Peugeot 508 Fastback (18 on) - rated 4.1 out of 5
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PROS

  • Sleek and stylish body
  • Futuristic, high-quality interior
  • Wide choice of engines
  • Enjoyable to drive

CONS

  • Smaller boot than rivals
  • Headroom tight in the rear
  • Interior won’t suit all drivers
  • Not as refined as rivals

PROS

  • Sleek and stylish body
  • Futuristic, high-quality interior
  • Wide choice of engines
  • Enjoyable to drive

CONS

  • Smaller boot than rivals
  • Headroom tight in the rear
  • Interior won’t suit all drivers
  • Not as refined as rivals

Peugeot 508 Fastback rivals

The slow decline in popularity of the large family hatchback and saloon has seen the likes of the Citroen C5 and Toyota Avensis dropped from UK line-ups (with Renault’s Talisman not even sold on these shores), making the presence of the Peugeot 508 Fastback in the French firm’s line-up pleasingly refreshing.

Presenting a purposeful, fastback profile, it’s got to justify its existence in the face of almost endless premium crossovers and discounted prestige marques. Being good isn’t enough, however, it’s got to be desirable.

Traditionally a competitor to the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, Peugeot is chasing far loftier competition with the 508. It sees the Volkswagen ArteonBMW 4-Series Gran Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback as key rivals, offering a sleek coupe-like fastback bodystyle with a high-end interior and tech to match the sharp exterior look. With this premium aspiration, it’s similar in concept to the Kia Stinger, too.

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. Where many designers seem to have an ongoing competition to get as many intersecting lines and sculpted surfaces onto their cars, the Peugeot 508’s simplicity is a breath of fresh air.

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

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 previous 508, but Peugeot assures us it’s more practical, while a more practical 508 SW also forms part of the new line-up.

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.

Underneath the ultra-modern looks lies its EMP2 chassis architecture - a modular platform first used on cars since 2013. The upshot is that the 508 feels very closely related to the last Citroen C5 and preceding Peugeot 508/407; not a bad thing by any means, but it leaves the impression that this is more tried-and-tested, rather than all-new. In short, this feels like a familiar car with a brilliantly executed makeover.

Peugeot 508 interior

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

Peugeot’s i-Cockpit set-up with tiny steering wheel and high-set digital dials are found up front, but the 508 comes with a stepped dashboard and a large touchscreen nabbed from the DS7 Crossback SUV, while a high centre console surrounds the driver. It’s not one for those who could feel claustrophobic.

Peugeot 508 interior and dashboard

Plush materials are all present and correct, although the UK-spec cars will do without the rather lovely wood trim found on top of the range cars. Instead, plenty of carbon-effect plastic and piano black trim will be found in abundance.

Peugeot promises greater practicality than the old car 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.

Peugeot 508 engines

Peugeot offers a selection of 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 – automatic transmissions are more widely available than manuals. Later in the car’s life, a plug-in hybrid version will expand the line-up for both the Fastback and SW models.

What's the Peugeot 508 like to drive?

With a wide range of punchy engines available and an impressive chassis, the 508 is an enjoyable car to drive. Lower spec models come with 18-inch wheels and conventional springs and dampers from the old car. However, adaptive suspension is widely available and standard on all petrol models.

Body control is excellent on the standard set-up, and despite the firmer ride, the 508 remains comfortable enough at motorway speeds. The large wheels do transmit a fair amount of road noise into the cabin, but despite frameless side windows, wind noise only makes an occasional presence. Throw in well-isolated engine noise, and you have a largely refined car.

Comfortable and easy going instead of sporty

The combination of small steering wheel and slightly light feel to the steering means the 508 feels nimble to manoeuvre, but some won’t like the i-Cockpit’s set-up compared with a more conventional instrument panel.

However, it’s easy to get used to the way the car responds to inputs from the driver, feeling more agile than its size would initially suggest. Overall, it's relaxing 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.

Peugeot 508 trim levels

The 508 comes in four main trim levels – Active, Allure, GT-Line and GT – plus a limited run First Edition available at launch.  Whichever version you choose, it's an inherently safe car, scoring a full five-star rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2018.

Peugeot 508 Fastback rivals

Other Peugeot 508 models: