The Peugeot 508 faces the unenviable task faced by D-segment saloons of needing to be all things to all men; we expect rather a lot of large family cars when it comes to driving dynamics.
For us, the best of these is still Ford’s Mondeo for its ability not just to massage surface imperfections and shrug off long distances, but to entertain its driver while it is at it. Volkswagen’s Passat, meanwhile, takes a more soothing, detached attitude to the whole business – not unlike Skoda’s Superb.
Peugeot seems to have aimed for a point somewhere in between, and has landed not too far from the mark it was going for. In its favour when it comes to refinement are low noise levels from not only the engine but also wind and road sources.
The 508 rides moderately well. It’s not as detached and aloof as a Passat, tending to shudder over smaller surface imperfections that the Passat would shrug away. Neither is it as pertly supple as a Mondeo; the Ford’s taut suspension might allow slightly greater movement of its body over town rumbles, but for every thud it settles very quickly, giving the impression that it’s isolating its occupants better than the Peugeot. After these two rivals and Skoda’s equally appealing Superb, though, the Peugeot is the best of the rest by far.
The same is true at motorway speeds; the Ford, Skoda and Volkswagen all offer levels of straight-line stability and maturity that are the equal of the 508. When it comes to outright dynamism, things swing into the Peugeot’s favour a little; with a modicum of feel through the rim and a degree of poise, it’s mildly more engaging than the competent Passat, albeit lacking the appetite for cornering of the Ford. It’s easily as good as anything else in the class, though – and a significant step from the 407 that went before it.
The raised ride height of the RXH model upset the 508's secure cornering, although we have concerns around the increased firmness of its ride. The standard 508, however, is easily as good as anything else in the class – and a significant step up from the 407 that went before it.