Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Peugeot 508 (2021) interior

  • Eye-catching dashboard design looks great
  • Not as much space as in rivals, though
  • Some controls may take some getting used to

How is the quality and layout?

Peugeot’s now-familiar i-Cockpit interior set-up is still a conversation starter. The small steering wheel, high-set dials on the dashboard and the centre console sloping away from the dashboard cocoon the driver up front. The dashboard itself is stepped, making it an interesting place to sit.

It might look odd, but Peugeot is onto something with this interior architecture. Even if the end result is purely to look a little different, that’s no bad thing, but some aspects do seem to work better than conventional layouts. It all feels well built with plenty of nice materials used around the cabin, but the digital dials and low-set touchscreen display in the centre will take a little getting used to for some.

You also have the piano-style keys running along the bottom of the screen to switch between the main functions, but it’s not the easiest to operate in a hurry without taking your eyes off the road for more time than you’d like. Spend a little more time behind the wheel and you’ll learn where everything is.

Peugeot 508 infotainment screen

Infotainment and tech

The centrally-mounted infotainment screen is crisp and clear, and the system itself is quick and easy to use. It makes a great deal of use of the touchscreen, but at least those shortcut keys make accessing the major systems such as sat-nav and media playing simple.

At the time of writing, the night vision display is a £1,300 option that lets this big cat see in the dark, providing an infra-red style heat signature view of the world ahead and outlining shadowy figures (or warm wheelie bins) in bright yellow boxes. It can be switched between layouts quickly, and is impressively resistant to glare.

Overall, though, the effect is good. There’s no denying how attractive it all is and there’s real drama to the way the 508’s interior looks. The material quality is still the best yet from the French company and if you get on with the i-Cockpit design and driving position, the 508 is a lovely place in which to while away the miles.

Peugeot 508 i-Cockpit screen

Comfort

  • Good ride comfort on adaptive suspension
  • Supportive seats and low-set driving position
  • Refinement is very good

The 508 serves up comfortable, contoured seats across the range with a good level of adjustment for both front occupants. With plenty of pleasant materials used around the cabin and a high window line to help you feel a bit more cocooned, this Peugeot feels a bit more special compared to certain rivals, such as the Volkswagen Arteon.

Taller people may struggle for headroom – especially if you go for the sunroof option - while the cocooning effect might feel a bit claustrophobic for some after a while. The seats are excellent for a car of this price and while they are mounted slightly too high, they provide fabulous comfort whatever model you choose. The soft cushions add to the comfort levels here, helping absorb bumps sent into the cabin by the firm suspension so you and your passengers won’t have to.

Peugeot 508 rear seats

It’s possible to adjust the seats to suit most frames, and visibility out is impressive for a low-roofed car. Higher-spec models fare better with a better choice of seating material but they are otherwise firm, comfortable and supportive enough for longer journeys. The motors for the front massage seats found on certain models can be annoyingly noisy, but you at least get five different types to choose from.

When it comes to the way 508 rides, it never really settles down, even when fitted with smaller wheels. The problem with this firm ride is that it never really translates into a great sense of agility, so the absence of a sporting drive may not be a worthy compromise for some.

Peugeot 508 drive modes 2019

Higher-spec models with adaptive suspension perform better, adjusting in accordance with the four drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport. The softest setting makes the prow bob up and down a little too much, while Normal does a good job of smoothing things out without feeling too wallowy. Switch to Sport mode, however, and the ride is unpleasantly harsh on our British roads - and since there’s little added benefit to the 508’s handling, it’s not a mode you want to stick with for very long.

Models lower down the range do without the adaptive set-up, and don’t ride quite as well, but even GT-Line models deliver a composed ride while retaining the more-involving-than-expected driving experience.

The rest of the 508’s refinement is a bit of a mixed bag. Road noise is ever present, accompanied by wind noise around the door mirrors and at the top of the frameless doors. The engines remained hushed at all speeds, though, whichever one you choose.

Peugeot 508 Hybrid driving, side 2020

The plug-in hybrid appears to be a little more impressive than the rest of the range, absorbing bumps and isolating them from the cabin more effectively. We suspect the additional 280kg in weight from the added hybrid hardware has a factor, but it’s also quieter when it comes to engine noise and road noise, too. This is good news as the conventional petrol engines generate quite a harsh note, and here it’s relatively muted - although our experience with this specific model has been limited to European roads so far.

Combine this with the ability to drive in electric mode and the hybrid makes for a far more serene place to spend time in, especially if you reside in towns and cities for much of the time you spend driving. Switch the drive mode to Comfort and this softens the suspension for better ride comfort, although we found the difference to be negligible.