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The first impression
The last Peugeot I drove was the Red Hot Chilli Pepper of French cars - the 208 GTi, which is a finalist in this year’s Car of the Year competition. I also reviewed their ultra stylish RCZ coupe. I have said it before and will again, the French make quirky and delicious cars.
The 508 is less eccentric and more about family practicality, but it is still decidedly delectable. On my initial walkabout, I noticed the car’s proportions. It’s a sizable piece of French machinery, it is not overtly large, just so when viewed as a “French Car”. Peugeot is synonymous with making hatches, with their 205 GTi begin the most famous.
Its lines are simple but very elegant. If the 508 was designed by a fashion house, it would come from the Calvin Klein collection team. In or outside, the car looks slick. In 2012 it won the prestigious title of "Best Car of the Year" in Spain, proving that this lion is not just a pretty car but also a good one. In fact it beat the Range Rover Evoque which came second in the same competition.
On the inside the seats are very comforting, either in the front or the rear. The dash is an executive’s playground, like a suit buttons and pockets, every control and screen falls and fits like Channel tailoring. Materials have an upmarket sensation to their tactility, though the all black colour palette does disguise some of the cabin’s interesting details. It’s a family car, so if you are carting younger people around and some of their fury friends, black will suitably camouflage day-to-day mishaps, but a lighter interior will sit very well on a darker metallic exterior.
The 508 being handsomely proportioned is endowed with a large boot. It’s capable of fitting sizable suit cases or a full month’s worth of grocery shopping for a family. And in the quirky tradition the boot button is secretly concealed, it is masterfully integrated into the cars badging. The zero in the 508 is the “g-spot” that opens the trunk.
The 508 comes with a three engine variants: 1.6 turbo charged petrol engine being reviewed, 2.0 turbo charged diesel engine and the range topping 2.2 turbo charged diesel engine. The 1.6 turbo engine is a Peugeot favourite, and used in a variety of their models, comfortably manoeuvring the 508 around with great gusto. The ride quality of the car is set up for comfort, and it feels luxurious. We have terrible roads in Johannesburg and the 508 does a masterful job of disguising these irregularities. Handling is well balanced but not razor sharp, a trade-off that the majority of all drivers will appreciate.
The extra stuff
The Peugeot 508 comes standard with a 5 year/100 000km maintenance plan. It also scored 5 stars in its EuroNCAP crash testing.
The 508 falls into a declining segment, once popular, but with the introduction of the SUV/Crossover type vehicle these medium sized executive sedans are becoming road dinosaurs. It’s a trend, there is nothing inferior about these types of vehicles. In fact the 508 and the above mention competitors are a lot better than many SUV/Crossover currently available, but South African consumers like Americans, are dropping them like lemmings and buying pseudo 4x4’s. It’s a shame!
The 508’s closest competitors would be the Volvo S60. Both offer something different and unique. The French 508 is perhaps just that much more unique in the styling department and offers that fantastically supple ride.
I’m impressed, and for R345 900 you are getting a lot of car. It’s a solid buy, like me I’m more than sure you will be pleasantly surprised how good it actually is.
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