The Peugeot 508 has a sporty driving position, a stylish interior and a large infotainment system that’s easy to use. Unfortunately, build quality lets the side down in a few places
The Peugeot 508 doesn’t just look sporty, it also feels sporty when you’re sitting inside. The driver’s seat is set quite low and the tall centre console between you and your passenger makes you feel very snug indeed. The lower half of the dashboard juts dramatically outwards into the cabin, too, which exaggerates the angle of the Peugeot 508‘s narrow windscreen.
Then there’s there’s the design itself. If you’re bored of the logical, somewhat dull layout you’ll get in a VW Passat, the Peugeot 508 should prove the perfect tonic. Its wraparound dashboard design makes you feel like the centre of attention and the slim digital instrument binnacle matches the svelte styling of the car’s exterior. It’s just a shame you need to drop the steering wheel unnaturally low to get an uninterrupted view of the display.
Interior quality is, on the whole, pretty decent. Any plastics in your eyeline are soft and squidgy, the trim pieces look reasonably expensive, and the door handles and piano-key style buttons on the centre console are made from cold-to-the-touch metal.
In terms of material quality, only the hard plastics lower down in the cabin and the flimsy feeling stalks behind the steering wheel give the game away that you’re not in something with German DNA.
Build quality is, unfortunately, another giveaway. That’s not to say the Peugeot 508 feels badly built, but tugging at various parts of the interior will reveal movement that you wouldn’t get in a hewn-from granite VW Passat. The parcel shelf that skips about in your rearview mirror as you drive over bumps is another pointer that the 508 doesn’t represent the last word in engineering precision.
In terms of trim levels, you can choose from Active, Allure, GT Line, GT and First Edition models.
Active versions come with fabric seats and are the only models to get the smaller eight-inch central sat-nav screen. Allure models represent the best value. They come with half-leather seats (you can choose from light and dark colour schemes) and ambient lighting that illuminates all four footwells and the car’s various cubbies.
GT Line models also get half-leather seats – this time with contrasting stitching – and a leather-effect finish for the top of the dashboard. They’re the first models in the range to come with mood lighting that bathes the whole cabin in a cool blue glow at night.
That leaves GT and First Edition models, which get all of the above but swap the GT model’s half-leather seats for soft Nappa leather upholstery.
No other car at this price point can beat the 508’s interior style
Whether you go for an entry-level Allure or a top-of-the-range First Edition Peugeot 508, you get a 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle, backed up by an 8.0-inch central display in Active models and a 10-inch unit across the rest of the range.
We have only sampled the latter, which comes with built-in TomTom sat nav as standard. Sticking a postcode in takes a matter of seconds and it calculates the route quickly, too. The beauty of having TomTom’s backing is that the car’s nav can route around heavy traffic more efficiently than most and – if a jam’s unavoidable – it can tell you how long you’ll have to wait until you clear the congestion.
It’s a decent system made better by the fact that it comes in conjunction with a 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle that replaces the conventional dials – an expensive option in a VW Passat. The second screen lets you cycle through a variety of displays, including a huge sat-nav map and a ‘Minimal’ setting which only shows you the car’s speed to spare your eyes from distractions at night. The clarity of the graphics isn’t quite up to Audi standards, but the Peugeot’s colourful animations arguably make it cooler.
If you’d rather keep things simple, the Peugeot 508 also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, so you can use your phone’s sat-nav apps via the car’s large central screen.
These make it easy to play music directly from your phone. If you’re aficionado, it’s worth considering the optional Focal stereo. Its 515W output and boot-mounted subwoofer mean it can produce thumping bass, but with 12 speakers in total it can also pump out crystal clear vocals.