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Peugeot 508 (2018 - 2023)

FIVE COMES ALIVE (some text hidden) --NONE--

By Jonathan Crouch

Introductionword count: 47

Peugeot's classy medium range 508 model sharpened up its act in second generation form. This R83-era design aimed to offer a fresh approach to 'D'-segment motoring and did, offering an appealing combination of style and savoire faire. Life's too short for boring car design - mais non?

Modelsword count: 17

5dr hatch / estate (1.2 petrol, 1.5 diesel, PHEV) [Active, Allure, GT Line, GT, Peugeot Sport Engineered]

Historyword count: 286

Big French cars used to be interesting. Distinctive. With the second generation Peugeot 508, launched in 2018, they became so again. It competed in the medium range Mondeo sector but delivered something quite different, offering a choice of five-door 'Fastback' and SW estate body styles. On the used market, you might even prefer it to something with a premium badge. This Gallic maker used to have a distinguished and rather stylish history in selling larger 'D'-segment designs of this kind, with the 403 model of the Fifties, the 404 of the Sixties, the 504 of the Seventies and the 505 of the Eighties. With the switch to front wheel drive that accompanied the launch of the 405 in 1987 though, the company rather lost its way and successive models - the 406 of 1995, the 407 of 2003 and the first generation 508 of 2010 - were somewhat forgettable. So for this new-era MK2 508, the brand had a complete re-think. Out went the boring three-box saloon body style, replaced by a stylish five-door Fastback Coupe design, which sold alongside a sleeker SW estate model. The interior quality and technology was up to premium snuff too - certainly a cut above Mondeos and Insignias, as Peugeot sought to position itself as what it called 'a high-end generalist automotive brand'. Plus 508 customers got class-leading running cost efficiency, a gorgeously appointed cabin and a driving experience that the French maker reckoned would make people really want this car. The Hybrid petrol/electric Plug-in variant was introduced in 2020. And the 355hp AWD Peugeot Sport Engineered PHEV flagship model arrived in 2021. The range was heavily facelifted in late 2022, but it's the pre-facelift models we look at here.

What You Getword count: 420

This second generation 508 opened up a fresh chapter in Peugeot design and it was one that prioritised style over space. To create its rather distinctive look, this car was 8cm shorter and sat 6cm lower than its predecessor, plus it was also narrower at the rear than at the front. Otherwise, the big news was that the saloon body style of previous Peugeot medium range models had been abandoned in favour of a hatch body shape - though the brand wanted us to call it a 'Fastback'. If the 508 formula appeals, you don't have to have this body shape: there's an alternative SW estate version that looks equally avant garde. Either way, there was a clear desire here from the designers to do something different - which we really like. Inside, you get a very different design to the kind of thing you'd normally expect to find in this segment, with a quality of fit and finish that justifies Peugeot's premium pretensions. The main thing you'll initially notice though, is the so-called 'i-Cockpit' ergonomic layout, Peugeot's term for interior design that positions you so that you're looking at the instruments over the top of the steering wheel rather than viewing them through it. A word about those instrument gauges: they represent another of this cabin's defining talking points, conventional dials completely replaced by a fully configurable and customisable 12.3-inch colour screen. Just about everything else you'll need to know can be found on what looks like a tablet PC attached to the fascia, a multifunction colour touchscreen that grows from 8 to 10-inches in size beyond entry-level trim. In the back, despite the swept-back roof line, head space won't be at too much of a premium unless you're of basket ball-playing stature. The relative narrowness of the cabin won't help if you have to take three folk in the back but the low transmission tunnel makes dealing with that eventuality easier than it would be in some rivals. A powered tailgate (which works with a wave of your foot beneath the bumper) was optional on most models - annoyingly so because the huge hatch is rather heavy. Once it raises, a 487-litre space is revealed, which is actually 14-litres more than was provided by the longer previous generation model. Pull the toggles behind the head rests to push everything forward and you'll find that the seats don't fold quite flat, but a very reasonable 1,537-litres of space is opened up. It's 530-litres in the SW, extendable to 1,780-litres.

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Category: Spacious Family Cars

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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