Peugeot 508 Review
The Peugeot 508 has a stylish, five-door coupe style body that means it looks great, but it’s not as practical as alternatives. It’s fun to drive, though, and most models are very cheap to run
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Stylish looks
- Pretty interior
- Good to drive
What's not so good
- Cramped back seats
- Build quality isn’t rock solid
- No proper self-drive tech
Peugeot 508: what would you like to read next?
If you need a large family car, but don’t want to be too sensible just yet, the Peugeot 508 could be the model for you. Its stylish five-door coupe body looks great and it drives well, too, but the back seats are noticeably more cramped than in alternatives such as the VW Passat.
Okay, so might have to put up with a few complaints from tall passengers in the back, but you certainly can’t accuse the Peugeot 508’s interior of being boring. Its dashboard design is far more interesting than most alternatives and all models come with two large infotainment screens that make the cabin look bang-up-to-date.
If you’re more interested in old-fashioned, solid build quality, however, the Peugeot 508 might not be the car for you. It’s certainly not terrible, but the Peugeot’s materials don’t feel as consistently brilliant as those in a Skoda Superb. But, driving the Peugeot 508 feels much sportier than pottering about in the Skoda thanks to the 508’s low-set driving position.
If you’re a tall person sitting in the back, though, you don’t so much feel cocooned as crushed. The Peugeot 508’s rear seat suffers from a shortage of headroom and isn’t overly generous with knee room if there are tall people sitting up front.
The Peugeot 508 feels like a sports car that was born in the wrong body
The boot isn’t the biggest you’ll find either, but its large hatchback door makes loading bulky items relatively easy, even if you do have to lift them over a slight boot lip.
So, the Peugeot 508’s practicality might not be particularly impressive, but if you’re considering a sporty-looking saloon car, you’ll likely have more than a passing interest in how it drives – and you won’t be too disappointed. The Peugeot 508 corners with an uncommon keenness for a mid-sized saloon, but also manages to smooth out bumpy roads quite effectively.
The Peugeot 508 isn’t quite so clever when it comes to autonomous driving tech, however. It’s available with active cruise control and lane assist, but these systems aren’t as sophisticated as those you’ll find in a Volvo V60.
The Peugeot 508’s 1.6-litre 180hp PureTech petrol engine will soon take your mind off that, though. It sounds sporty, can accelerate past slower moving traffic easily and maintain a decent lick on twisting B roads, yet doesn’t carry the silly price tag of higher-end models and is impressively light on fuel.
For ultimate fuel economy, you’ll need to choose a diesel model and the 130hp 1.5-litre model is your best option. Quick would be the wrong word, but it has plenty of punch for motorway driving and should manage more than 60mpg at a cruise.
That makes the Peugeot 508 sound like an entirely sensible choice when in fact, it isn’t. Other family cars are better built and more spacious, but if that all sounds a bit too ‘pipe and slippers’ for you, then the 508’s stylish design and sporty drive make it worthy of a place on your shortlist.
The Peugeot 508 has a sporty driving position, a stylish interior and a large infotainment system. But, it’s not that easy to use, and alternatives feel more solidly built
The Peugeot 508 has roomy front seats and a fairly big boot with a large opening but the car’s sloping roofline means rear-seat space is badly compromised
The Peugeot 508 comes with a decent amount of seat adjustment to help you get comfortable. Electric lumbar support comes as standard to help reduce back ache on long drives and all models come with heated front seats.
Unfortunately, the Peugeot 508‘s small steering wheel presents a few problems. It’s mounted lower down than in most saloons and doesn’t have a great deal of adjustment so it can obscure some of the digital driver’s display – especially if you prefer a low seating position.
GT cars and above come as standard with massage seats, but the pulsing airbags are so feeble you can’t help but think an arthritic pensioner would do a better job of easing an aching back.
Back-seat passengers have more pressing things to worry about than the intensity of their massage, however. For them, simply fitting beneath the Peugeot 508‘s sloping roof may prove a challenge. Any passengers over six-feet tall will find their head brushing on the ceiling and the small rear windows make the back seats feel unnecessarily claustrophobic.
The tight rear knee room doesn’t help, either. There isn’t enough room for a six-foot passenger to sit comfortably behind an equally tall driver and there’s barely any space for their feet under the front seats. On the plus side, all models get a rear centre armrest as standard.
The Peugeot 508‘s curved roofline means there’s slightly more headroom in the central rear seat, but the harder seat padding and lack of shoulder room mean three adults will feel very hemmed-in on long journeys.
Even fitting a child seat is affected by the low roofline. You’ll have to stoop down some distance to strap in a child if you’re very tall. The standard Isofix anchor points aren’t particularly easy to locate, either – they’re hidden behind zipped pockets in the back-seat padding.
The Peugeot 508 comes with a number of well-sized storage spaces that should make it easy to keep clutter to a minimum. The front doors have room for a 1.0-litre bottle of water each, there’s a tray in front of the gearstick with a couple of USB ports for charging your phone and you can get an optional wireless charging pad tucked under the centre console.
You get two cup holders up front and two more in the rear centre armrest, plus a smaller storage space with butterfly doors between the two front seats. The rear door bins aren’t quite as generous as those in the front though, and the nets fitted to the backs of the front seats feel quite cheap.
The Peugeot 508 has a 487-litre boot that’s slightly smaller than you get in a Mazda 6, and noticeably down on what a Volkswagen Passat offers.
That said, the 508’s boot is easier to load than the Passat’s thanks to its large hatchback-style boot opening. There isn’t a particularly large boot lip to lift heavy luggage over, either, but you can’t get it with an adjustable boot floor to help you slide large items into place easily.
That being said, the boot is large enough to carry two large and two suitcases at once. There’s also enough space to carry a large baby stroller on its side and a set of golf clubs, with enough room left over for a couple of soft bags. The Peugeot 508‘s sloping rear windscreen means there isn’t quite enough space to carry a large box, though – even if you remove the tiny parcel shelf.
Fold all the back seats down and you get a completely flat floor and 1,537 litres of space – enough to fit a bike in with both of its wheels attached and around 5% bigger than the boot in a Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport.
In terms of features, the boot has floor-mounted tethers so you can secure your luggage, hooks for keeping your shopping bags upright and a 12V power socket, so you have somewhere to plug in a portable vacuum if you need to give the boot a clean. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space to store the parcel shelf under the boot floor if you need to remove it to carry tall items.
The Peugeot 508 is comfortable, cheap to run but none of its engines is particularly punchy and it doesn’t feel as sporty as its looks suggest
The Peugeot 508 feels more agile than most saloons, but a five-door sportscar it ain't…
The Peugeot 508 is available with a choice of three diesel and two petrol engines. Most models come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
In fact, it’s only the 130hp 1.5-litre diesel – the cheapest car in the range – that comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. That shouldn’t put you off, though, because the basic diesel has enough power in reserve to make sure you don’t need to be changing gear like your life depends on it just to make steady progress.
It’ll get from 0-62mph in a so-so 9.7 seconds but its mid-range punch – when overtaking slow A-road traffic, say – is pokier than that figure suggests. Peugeot reckons it can return fuel economy of up to 74.3mpg.
If you want more performance, you can also choose from 2.0-litre diesel models with 160 and 180hp, but they’re expensive to buy and still not that fast.
We’d advise you sidestep them, though, and instead go for the 180hp 1.6-litre PureTech petrol, which returns claimed fuel economy of up to 52.3mpg on a mixture of roads – although you’ll probably see a figure in the low forties in normal driving conditions. It’s not only smoother than the diesels, it also feels sportier to drive and noticeably quicker – getting from 0-62mph in a respectable 7.9 seconds.
Finally, there’s the top-of-the-range 225hp 1.6-litre PureTech petrol, which is only available on high-end trim levels. That makes it prohibitively expensive, particularly because it’s only marginally faster than the 180hp model.
Old Peugeot cars used to be famed for their ability to smooth out bumpy roads while also being agile in bends – a reputation that’s set to return with this new Peugeot 508.
The 508 can gobble up country roads at an impressive lick, absorbing bumpy surfaces with ease and gripping the road with confidence – leaving you to deal with the important job of pointing it safely around corners.
You’ll find the i-Cockpit steering wheel – that feels oddly small in other Peugeots – fits the 508, allowing you to zap it in and out of tight bends without flailing your arms. It’s reasonably nimble for a mid-sized saloon, but the 508 isn’t as much fun to drive as a Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport – even in Sport mode when the steering feels heavier, the suspension firmer and the accelerator more responsive.
Turn off the country roads and onto the motorway and the Peugeot 508 feels more at home. Its suspension does a good job of smoothing out bumps and the relatively quiet cabin helps long trips fly by. Wind noise is well muted, but you’ll hear more noise from the tyres rumbling on the road surface than in the Skoda Superb and VW Passat.
Sadly, you can’t get the Peugeot 508 with quite as much advanced self-driving tech as the Volvo V60. You’ll have to be content with the adaptive cruise control, which can brake and accelerate for you, and the gentle steering of lane assist that’s fitted to GT models and above.
On the upside, you do get an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard on all but the entry-level diesel model. It changes gear smoothly, taking the stress out of stop-start town traffic but it doesn’t respond particularly quickly if you use the steering-wheel-mounted paddles to choose when to change gear.
Rear parking sensors are fitted to all models so you can park easily without worrying about the rather restricted view through the Peugeot 508′s small back windows. Move up to an Allure version and you’ll also get front parking sensors and a rear camera. You don’t have to worry about low-speed shunts because the Peugeot 508 comes as standard with automatic emergency braking.