Peugeot 508 Blue HDI
Smart and modern-looking despite first appearing in 2011
- Smart and discreet exterior design
- Good space for passengers and luggage
- Highly impressive Blue HDi engine is frugal and powerful
- Good balance between ride quality and handling
- Infotainment set up is feeling a little dated
- Steering wheel would benefit from greater range of adjustment
- Handbrake button position is inconvenient
- Bigger diesel engine almost made redundant
Playing a crucial part in the Peugeot range, the 508 is designed to please both family buyers seeking a large and spacious car and also snare those looking for something with a premium feel but without the price tag. Running costs are a crucial factor regardless of the buyer which is why Peugeot has added a new, ultra-efficient Blue HDi diesel to the 508 range.
While Peugeot has enjoyed success in the small car segment for many years its fortunes with larger cars have been more mixed. In the past cars like the 405 and 406 mixed good looks with a fine driving experience, and in many ways the 508 has been a return to form. Since its introduction in 2011 it has reinvigorated Peugeot's large car range.
Visually the 508 set the tone for more recent models and introduced key details such as the claw-like rear lights and the slimmer chrome grille, and these have now become 'family' details across the range. The overall look is handsome while being discreet, and more luxurious models such as the Allure benefit from larger alloy wheels as standard.
On the inside the 508 uses a more conventional layout compared to the more recent 208 model, and as a result uses a conventional display screen with a rotary controller to operate it, rather than the more modern touchscreen. However the 508 offers a comfortable driving position, plenty of space and the option of features like a head-up display and keyless entry for a high level of convenience.
The key change for this particular model is the introduction of the Blue HDi unit, designed to offer a high power output for impressive performance but also keeping the crucial emissions figure as low as possible. This engine provides comparable performance to the larger 2.2-litre unit but with economy and emissions performance close to that provided by the smaller 1.6-litre diesel option.
Our verdict on the Peugeot 508 Blue HDI
The 508 remains a comfortable, spacious and usable saloon that is sufficiently adept to cope with long-distance motorway hauls and family duties, but it is the addition of the Blue HDi engine that really makes the significant difference, adding to the driving pleasure whilst also contributing to reduced running costs. Although the 508 lags behind a little in some areas it is a capable car with a broad appeal.
Where the 508 scores highly is in respect of fuel economy, and the Blue HDi model has very impressive fuel consumption and emissions performance. That not only means low fuel bills but also low vehicle excise duty.
Space and practicality
The 508 makes good use of its generous dimensions to give excellent head and legroom all round, and the amount of legroom on offer for rear seat passengers is particularly impressive. Boot space is also very good, and despite the stylish design access to the rear is straightforward.
Controls and display
The dashboard layout of the 508 is straightforward and easy to understand, with the main control for the screen located down by the gearlever and other controls on the dashboard. However, the menu system takes a little getting used to and some buttons are hidden behind a panel between the driver and the door, which is unusual. The head-up display system where fitted is excellent however, and is a useful safety feature.
Even on the relatively large alloy wheels fitted to this Allure model don't hurt the 508's smooth ride, which is a big contributor to the overall refinement levels. The seats are supportive and the driving position will suit most, and noise levels are kept well in check too.
All 508 models are fitted with an approved alarm, deadlocks and an immobiliser, while all models fitted with alloy wheels have locking bolts for additional security.
All 508 models have a comprehensive suite of safety systems including six airbags, ESP, ABS, EBA and Dynamic Stability Control. In addition the optional head-up display system is a useful safety boost and not commonly available in this segment.
The 508 even in Allure form is designed to be comfortable rather than sporty but nevertheless it manages to strike a good balance between the two. The Blue HDi diesel engine is a fraction noisy from cold but warms quickly and provides impressive torque and strong acceleration with little fuss. The steering is light and easy although the wheel would benefit from a greater range of adjustment.
Family car appeal
The 508 is well suited to family duties thanks to the generous space on offer, although a family buyer would do better to choose the SW version over the saloon as this offers better load space plus the option of the superb full-length panoramic glass roof which does a great deal to boost the feeling of space.
First car appeal
It is unlikely that new car drivers will consider the 508 despite its qualities, and although it is easy to drive the overall length might cause issues for the inexperienced.
Quality and image
A crucial area for any car competing in this segment is quality, and the 508 manages to provide this both in terms of the standard of construction and the sense of perceived luxury to its occupants. The 508's image is bolstered by this, alongside the stylish and distinctive design, allowing it to punch above its weight in terms of the competition.
With long doors both front and rear the 508 offers good sized apertures for people getting into the car, although it is worth noting that the sloping roof line does mean rear seat passengers need to duck a little more whilst climbing aboard. The boot is easy to access with a wide tailgate that can be opened remotely.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
All 508 models comes with a CD/tuner as well as USB input and Bluetooth, and there are controls on the steering wheel. Sound quality is perfectly good but the system itself is a little dated, and does without the touchscreen that the smaller 208 and many rivals enjoy.
Colours and trim
On the inside the 508 offers a low-key cabin with mostly grey and black plastics, which is relatively sturdy if a little plain. The fabric trim is pleasing however and Allure models also offer part leather. The same goes for the outside where more discreet colours suit the 508 best.
Like many modern saloons the 508 has a nose and tail that slope away out of sight which can make parking a little tricky. However, a rear parking aid is available on all but the entry-level model, while Allure and GT models can be specified with a parallel parking guide which will inform the driver of the suitability of a space alongside the car.
Space saver spare wheel fitted on all models.
Petrol engine options - 1.6-litre (120bhp and 156bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (112bhp); 2.0-litre (140bhp and 163bhp); 2.2-litre (204bhp). Transmission options: Five and six speed manuals or six-speed automatic. Trim levels: Access, SR, Active, Allure and GT.
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