The Peugeot 508 has a stylish, five-door coupe style body that makes it great looking, but not as practical as alternatives. It’s fun to drive, though, and most models are very cheap to run
If you need a practical 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 seat is noticeably more cramped than in alternatives such as the VW Passat.
Okay, so the back might be a little tight, but you certainly can’t accuse the 508 interior of being boring. Its dashboard design is nothing like as dull as you’ll find in alternatives and all models come with two large infotainment screens that make the cabin look very modern.
If you’re more interested in old-fashioned, solid build quality, however, the 508 might not be the car for you. It’s not that it’s bad, but material quality isn’t as consistently brilliant as a Skoda Superb’s and it doesn’t feel as solidly screwed together as the Superb, either.
But then the Skoda feels nowhere near as sporty as the Peugeot 508, which has a low-set driving position that makes you feel cocooned.
If you’re a tall person sitting in the back, though, you don’t so much feel cocooned as crushed. The 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 tall boot lip.
While practicality is very important, if you’re considering the sporty 508 you’ll likely have more than a passing interest in how it drives. And you won’t be disappointed, the Peugeot corners with a keenness that would make some hot hatches seem docile, 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 it isn’t as sophisticated as you’d find in a Volvo V60.
The 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 nearly 70mpg 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.