Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Should you buy a Peugeot 508 Fastback?

On looks alone, the answer can be yes. There's no doubting that Peugeot has cracked it and if it sells well, the 508 proves that not everyone wants to buy an SUV. The good news is that this high style continues inside – it has an equally impressive interior, as long as you like that shirt-button steering wheel.

There’s a wide range of engines to pick from, whether you want performance or economy, and long-distance comfort will suit company car drivers. If you’re on a budget, the cheapest engine to go for is also the most economical – the BlueHDi 130. The automatic model offers marginally better fuel economy than the manual, but costs more to buy. As such, it’ll take a while to recoup the difference in cost.

If you want the fastest 508, the PureTech 225 is the one to go for. Even so, while this engine makes for swift performance, it’s still a little underwhelming. It also doesn’t really have the sound to match the performance, so this isn’t much of a flagship performance model.

'The Peugeot 508 Fastback shows that its maker is back on form, producing a desirable and decent-to-drive alternative to the usual German trio of premium execs. Top marks for building a big French car with genuine wide-ranging appeal.'

Keith Adams, Parkers Editor

In terms of how it drives, it's not class leading, but it handles well and lower-spec models ride compliantly enough to relax. Also, don't let those four doors lull you into thinking that it's a roomy hatchback, like a Volkswagen Arteon, because it's not. The front seats are a snug fit, and the rears are very tight for adults.

But, it’s a much more interesting alternative to its German rivals, such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A5 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But it does lack the practicality offered by some of these, and comes at quite a high cost compared with its more mainstream rivals. We'll also have to wait and see if it doesn't suffer from the poor resale values usually associated with previous large French cars.

The added electrical hardware on the plug-in hybrid models results in an additional 280kg in weight, and while this isn’t that much more noticeable around town – or indeed accelerating, thanks to the strong electric motors – it’s when you drive down country lanes when you notice the reduction in agility. Nevertheless, the 508 didn’t quite deliver the entertaining driving experience some would have hoped for in the first place, so the ability to drive in a quieter and more relaxed manner only suits it more.

We tested the 508 GT 2.0 BlueHDi 180hp and for 85% of the time, this engine is great – economical and unobtrusive – but in town it can get a little fussy, selecting gears and engaging abruptly enough to cause some driveline shunt. Economy is nothing special, either, returning low-to-mid 40mpg.

Which, combined with the relatively unrefined urban behaviour of the 180hp diesel automatic, is enough to question just how much value for money this near-£40,000 Peugeot really is. There’s a great deal of style, but it seems, not much substance beyond the distractingly clever tech.