From £17,599
Downsized diesel engine makes a decent option for the fleet buyer, but the 508 still lags just behind the best in class.

Our Verdict

Peugeot 508 SW
New Mondeo rival is better all round and should be a fleet favourite

The Peugeot 508 is is better all round than its predecessor, and should be a fleet favourite

18 September 2011

What is it?

The new Peugeot 508 has already shown itself to be a car of some class in a crowded segment dominated by mainstream, big-name talent, but the real battle for mid-sized saloon buyers is fought at entry level into the fleet market, where low emissions, standard equipment and economy score volume sales.

Arguably the firm’s range champion is the 1.6 e-HDi version, which utilises a micro-hybrid stop-start system aligned with an automatic six-speed, electronically controlled gearbox to return 109g/km. Unfortunately, experience has taught us that the EGC transmission is as ponderous as a change in seasons and probably best avoided.

Consequently, this model, which replaces the EGC with a five-speed manual and retains PSA’s familiar 1.6-litre diesel engine (although it loses stop-start), should earn its own admirers.

What’s it like?

Even without its magic ‘e’, the downsized HDi unit still manages to dredge 60mpg from the saloon’s not inconsiderable bulk while emitting 124g/km of CO2.

While the 508 has certainly benefitted from a substantial leg-up in general refinement over its predecessor, this model in particular cannot quite isolate the scratchy rumble of its vocal powerplant.

It takes a fair old prod to tempt the engine into overcoming inertia, but once in motion its modest 177lb ft of torque is available from 1500rpm, making the big Peugeot seem a shade more sprightly than its 0-62mph time of 11.3sec suggests.

There’s little point in working the 508 too hard, though; the four-cylinder unit revs cleanly enough, but as every one of its 112 horses is spent by 3600rpm it’s hardly necessary to force it towards a spluttery redline.

Far better to keep the 508’s curiously old-fashioned, long-throw gearbox in the low-rev sweet spot and reap the rewards of a respectable chassis and half-decent ride comfort. Do this for long enough and the 508 Active will almost have you convinced.

Should I but one?

But unfortunately for Peugeot, this end of the market is a vicious numbers game, and the similarly equipped Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Hyundai i40 all offer lower emissions and marginally better mileage for the money. Sadly for the 508, they are also all arguably better to drive.

Peugeot 508 Active 1.6 HDI

Price: £20,250; Top speed: 118mph; 0-62mph: 11.3sec; Economy: 60.1mpg (combined); CO2: 124g/km; Kerb weight: 1552kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1560cc, turbodiesel; Power: 112bhp at 3600rpm; Torque: 177lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
23

23 September 2011

But unfortunately for Peugeot, this end of the market is a vicious numbers game, and the similarly equipped Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Hyundai i40 all offer lower emissions and marginally better mileage for the money. Sadly for the 508, they are also all arguably better to drive.

If you are in the market for a car this big with so little performance are you really bothered about how it drives? The 508 is quite a nice place to be, although i found it very somber compared to French cars of old. The one i drove had a 2.0 diesel, and i wouldnt have wanted to try it with anything less powerful, as it was it had far too much lag to allow smooth progress.

I had high hopes for the 508, but i must say i think Peugeot missed their target again, sadly. Maybe with some altered trim and a lag free petrol engine it would be a mor pleasent thing, but i doubt we will be offered one like that.

23 September 2011

Considering diesel Peugeot's always used to be the diesels to have, this is disappointing.

I pretty much agree with Artil on everything he said, high hopes that have been let down. Considering what we have had from Peugeot recently, should this be a surprise?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 September 2011

When you think how good Peugeots in this class used to be, it's very sad to see this thing. It's just a barge. The styling is even more drab and boring in real life.

23 September 2011

I still don't understand why Autocar continue to put the Peugeot 508 down just because it might not drive as well as others in the class. If fuel economy, emissions and comfort are top the list for this sort of car then this car is a good alternative. Much nicer interior than all the others too. The point of this car is emissions and fuel economy so please stop putting it down because it doesn't have the poise and handling of a Caterham because for the most part it won't matter to the people buying this type of car.

23 September 2011

I would rather have the Mondeo 1.6TDCI Zetec, roughly the same price (same engine) but with a 6 speed manual, stop start, lower emission and greater economy, the recent facelift has raised the quality, and Ford dealers are getting better, whilst Peugeot are fairly poor, the Mondeo is also slightly better equipped as standard.

23 September 2011

[quote timmmmy]The point of this car is emissions and fuel economy so please stop putting it down because it doesn't have the poise and handling of a Caterham because for the most part it won't matter to the people buying this type of car.[/quote]

The reason they are putting it down is that the fuel consumption and figures aren't as good as the competition.

Also, there is a certain degree of expectation that comes with the Peugeot badge that may be one day they may re-discover the excellent ride and handling their cars once had. I know it's something we all should consign to the history books and take each car as they are but us enthusiasts are a funny bunch like that.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 September 2011

[quote Autocar]

But unfortunately for Peugeot, this end of the market is a vicious numbers game, and the similarly equipped Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Hyundai i40 all offer lower emissions and marginally better mileage for the money. Sadly for the 508, they are also all arguably better to drive. [/quote]

Wait a minute, so after praising the 508 for its dynamic qualities in initial tests, now Autocar is saying that it doesn't drive as well as the Hyundai i40? Is this the same i40 the Autocar reached the following conclusion about?

[quote Autocar]

...Just as good in most respects as Europe’s best, the i40 isn’t quite a match for the most finely tuned cars in the class in its ride and handling.... [/quote]

http://www.autocar.co.uk/CarReviews/RoadTestsVerdict/Hyundai-i40-1.7-CRDi-115-Blue-Drive-Active/259049/

23 September 2011

I like the looks of the 508, but why buy the 1.6 HDi instead of the 1.6 eHDi? It's much cheaper to run, it'll hold its value much better, and it's not much more expensive; you could easily make the money back if you cover a high annual mileage.

23 September 2011

[quote Fidji]but why buy the 1.6 HDi instead of the 1.6 eHDi[/quote]

I think its all down to the awful gearbox the eHDi gets

23 September 2011

[quote artill]

[quote Fidji]but why buy the 1.6 HDi instead of the 1.6 eHDi[/quote]

I think its all down to the awful gearbox the eHDi gets

[/quote]

Oh, well remembered. It has one of those Peugeot ECGs (or whatever they're called), doesn't it?

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