From £19,834
Downsized diesel engine makes a decent option for the fleet buyer, but the 508 still lags just behind the best in class.

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

Add a comment…
Fidji 24 September 2011

Re: Peugeot 508 1.6 HDi

artill wrote:
They arent even going to fit the V6 diesel either

I know! It would at least be a consellation; they could borrow the one from the C5/C6. They have a 200bhp 2.2 diesel four pot in the 508, so they probably won't be getting a V6 in the future. It's a pity, as the I'm sure that the 2.2 lacks the refinement of a V6. For once, why can't they just make an exception, and not give a toss about an extra 10g/km? Emissions seem to be what every car today is built around, and I for one would love to drive a car that has been built with me in mind, rather than company car tax instead.

I would love to start a petition stating that each mainstream model of car can have a limited edition of cars where the engineers can just do what they want, rather than sticking their heads up the arse of the control freak that we call the EU. Just imagine a V6 Guilietta GTA or a V6 Mondeo. The world would be a better place for it.

Besides, cows cause more CO2 emissions than about ten cars, so surely by eating a lot of burgers, steak, etc, I should have free road tax. And those G-Wiz driving vegetarians can pay £1,000 a year in road tax. Just a thought.

artill 24 September 2011

Re: Peugeot 508 1.6 HDi

Fidji wrote:
A V6 petrol would suit it very nicely, but that's not going to happen these days.

You are right, its just the engine it needs, and sadly you are right, it wont happen. but it would need more power than the V6 from the 407. This engine in the 406 was great, but the 407 was far to heavy for it.

They arent even going to fit the V6 diesel either!

Fidji 24 September 2011

Re: Peugeot 508 1.6 HDi

I think that the 508 looks like a very classy car. A V6 petrol would suit it very nicely, but that's not going to happen these days.