Success in the compact saloon class was never going to come easy. A serious breadth of ability is crucial in achieving critical acclaim in a segment home to the Jaguar XE, Alfa Romeo Giulia and BMW 3 Series – all cars that combine abundant driver appeal, desirability and usability to great effect.

Yet while the 508 ticks some of those boxes, it’s not quite the all-rounder it needs to be to get the nod over and above its rivals. It is sharply dressed and visually alluring but is hampered by a tight second row. The i-Cockpit cabin is more appealing than it has ever been but is marred slightly by materials that aren’t as rich as they first appear to be. And while the 508 is a decently agile and largely composed steer, it isn’t quite as engaging as those predominantly rear-driven cars at the business end of our top five.

Stylish and likeable but lacking the polish of more premium rivals

The 508 is certainly a job well done for Peugeot, though, and it’s a car we’d have no qualms about recommending to someone looking for an alternative, contemporary French take on a well-worn – and predominantly German – saloon car theme.