Peugeot 508 Active Sedan Auto 2016 Review | Road Test
Peugeot 508 Active Sedan Auto 2016 Review | Road Test

Peugeot 508 Active Sedan Auto 2016 Review | Road Test


Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the new Peugeot 508 Active with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Peugeot still has a big sedan? And sells it here? Yes, it does and yes it does.

I'm not going to get myself into hot water by saying that almost nobody knows about the 508. Generally speaking, a larger Peugeot is one for the fans who remember the glory days of the 504 and 505.

Cars like the 508 are hanging on the by the fingernails and in this segment, there are plenty of cheaper options from Japan. You can get a Camry and an insomnia cure at the same time for under $30,000.

But it's always worth casting the net a little further if you like being different, want a bit of Euro look and feel, or you're just a sucker for a brand that Americans have trouble pronouncing.

Price and features

There are three 508 sedans available in Australia, starting at $36,990 for the Active, taking a giant leap to $45,990 for the Allure and ending with another big jump to the GT diesel at $57,790. If you want a wagon, the Tourer is available in Allure spec for $48,990.

Front and rear passengers get a pretty good deal in the 508.

Our car for the week was the entry-level Active. Your $36,990 buys you 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, remote central locking, power windows and mirrors, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, heated door mirrors, eight speaker stereo with 7.0-inch touchscreen, sat nav, dual zone climate control, rear sunblind,  auto headlights and wipers, LED running lights, cloth trim and metallic paint.

Practicality

Front and rear passengers get a pretty good deal in the 508, although the latter don't do as well as you might expect for such a big car. Rear leg and headroom is good, if not spectacular, although the shapely outboard seats are super comfortable, as are the fronts. If the front seats are all the way down foot room is marginal and the middle passenger sits a bit high for long journey comfort.

The big news here is the whopping boot, all 497 litres of it. If you knock the 60/40 split fold seats down, you end up with 1533 litres. That's quite a lot of space. Some wagons would be jealous.

Inside the cabin there are four cupholders but, as is the French way, they're not brilliant. The front two sprout from the dashboard at a weird angle making it difficult to pluck a standard-sized takeaway coffee cup from its clutches. The rears are in the armrest and because the armrest is thin to accommodate a ski-port hatch, they're not deep enough to keep a can upright in even a moderate yaw movement.

Bottle holders are a distant dream, too - each of the four doors have pockets but they're not shaped for liquid-carrying vessels and there are also netted document pockets for rear passengers.

Design

Up-spec 508s are handsome things but for some reason this unadorned, blingless Active is slightly dumpy. It's not at all ugly, it just backs into a hedge (metaphorically speaking) in the way Homer does in that popular GIF that does the rounds when a politician retreats away from a policy position.

With lots of front overhang, a seriously raked windscreen and a high posterior, it certainly looks wedgy and sleek but the timid wheels and lack of adornment mean it's a bit of a wallflower. You can't have everything, I guess.

Inside is very grey and the 508 is starting to feel its age a little. The small screen, generally unadventurous styling and mid-spec plastics are neither awful or awe-inspiring. It's about as middle-of-road as you can get, much like the Mondeo with which it shares a segment. That segment being 'underrated larger European cars.'

Engine and transmission

The 508 Active is powered by Peugeot's 1.6-litre turbo four, producing 121kW and 240Nm, neither of which are particularly startling numbers.

What this Peugeot does well will be familiar to Peugeot owners of decades ago - it handles, steers and rides with uncanny fluidity.

Oddly, the Active is the quickest 508 you can buy, propelling the commendably light sedan (1410kg) from zero to 100km/h in 8.9 seconds versus the diesel's 9.2 seconds. Power reaches the road via a six-speed automatic transmission and the front wheels do the work.

The 508 is rated to tow 1600kg braked and 740kg unbraked.

Fuel consumption

Peugeot says you'll get 5.8L/100km on the combined cycle, but we were some way away from that over our week, averaging 9.4L/100k across city traffic, highway running and some backroad shenanigans.

Driving

What this Peugeot does well will be familiar to Peugeot owners of decades ago - it handles, steers and rides with uncanny fluidity. It's quiet, composed and will ruffle no feathers either in the cruise or puddling about in rubbish traffic.

The French were famous for body control, so famous it became a tired cliche and then something we longed for when they stopped doing it. The 508 soaks up deep gutters, lumps, bumps and potholes without upsetting progress. It changes direction rather more quickly than you might expect for a car with balloony tyres (although they are decent Michelins) but doesn't trade that off with a firm ride.

It's got a great engine, reasonable performance and excellent road manners.

Engine and transmission are well-paired but could do a with a little more finesse - the six-speed auto is often loathe to kick down and switching to sport is an exercise in futility as it ruins the smooth shifts. You can fix that by leaving the transmission in normal and operating the fixed paddles on the steering column.

Things it could do better include a less enthusiastic switch-off behaviour in the stop-start system and a slightly livelier wake. The steering is also a little heavier than might be considered ideal for a car this size.

Safety

The 508 scored five ANCAP stars in August 2011 and is equipped with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, brake force distribution, and brake assist.

Ownership

Peugeot offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with three years' roadside assist thrown in (at the time of writing, 2015 plated cars (!) were being sold with an 8-year warranty and roadside assist package).

The Active is included in Peugeot's capped price servicing, which covers five years/75,000km. Services range from $465 for the first service to $725 for the fourth service, averaging a stiff $608 per service (required every twelve months or 15,000km).


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