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 sat inside. The driver’s seat is set quite low and the tall transmission tunnel – that runs between the two front seats – makes you feel like you’re sitting snug in the cabin. As does the lower half of the dashboard that juts out towards you and your front-seat passenger.
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 – that’s also true if you’re sitting in the back – 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 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 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 models are the entry point to the 508 range. They 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, but this time with contrasting stitching and they add a leather-look finish to the top of the dashboard. They’re the first models in the range to come with mood lighting that bathes the 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 508, you get a 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle, backed up by an eight (Active models) or 10-inch central display (every other version).
We have only sampled the latter, which comes in partnership with TomTom making it one of the best sat-nav systems amongst the 508’s alternatives. 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 congestion more efficiently than most and – even if a jam’s unavoidable – it can tell you how long you have 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 means you can change from a variety of displays, including a huge sat-nav map and a Minimal setting which only shows you the car’s speed spare your eyes from distractions at night. While the clarity of the graphics isn’t quite up to Audi standards, 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 via the car’s large central screen.
These make it easy to play music directly from your phone and if you’re aficionado, it is 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.