26.4.2011 Peugeot 508 Active 1.6 eHDi review
Big Peugeots haven't been big sellers in the UK for years and this car exists mainly for China where it will also be built. Though Peugeot doesn't mention the B-word, it hopes the quality and value of the 508 might tempt buyers from the cheaper BMW 3-Series and, yes, Audis too.
Cope with the gearbox and the 1.6 litre eHDi can be a very economical and comfortable car, however it does lack the joie de vivre of the 1.6 petrol manual and doesn't ride as smoothly. Order books are now open for the 200bhp/99gCO2/km hybrid due next year with electrical drive to the rear wheels.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
Economy champion is the 112bhp, 1.6 litre turbo diesel with a six-speed semi-automatic transmission. Because it's not a dual clutch system, it's a case of nodding dog head movements for all on board in automatic mode, unless the driver anticipates the gear changes and eases back on the power. Taking control using the steering wheel paddles to change gear is best course. Acceleration to 60mph takes 11.3 seconds while the car will ease to a top speed of 118mph. Max torque of 202 lbs ft from 1,750rpm and max power comes at 4,000rpm.
Despite Peugeot's media hype about driving sensations and 'setting the standard in terms of road-holding' the 508 is more about comfort and cruising than cornering agility. The chassis is much the same as Citroen's C5 but with different suspension. Only the top spec GT uses double wishbone front suspension, the rest use cheaper and lighter MacPherson struts, but with the speeds possible on the test routes near Stratford upon Avon I couldn't tell any difference. Maybe the steering was a bit sharper, but maybe the tyres were different, but if we hadn't been told would we have known?
Looks are of a more discreet Audi, now that Audis are rather fancy, and I suspect will win on car sales. The 508 is better proportioned from most angles than the long nosed Peugeot 407 it replaces (along with the bigger 607) and particularly imposing with black or white paintwork. Directly astern is a worse view, as the car looks taller and narrower than it actually is. The estate car, or SW model, is arguably more elegant than the saloon but sloping rear window means you risk cooking the family Labrador in hot weather. Tall boot is a generous size. Length 4792mm. Width 1853mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Easy to get in and drive, but exploring the sound system, on-line functions, cruise control/speed limiter and head-up display (if fitted) means spending time with the handbook. Thickly padded seats were plush and comfortable with electric lumbar support adjustment. All but the lower models have the curse of the electronic parking brake.
SW Estate models get a long glass sunroof which puts a lot of weight where you don't want it for handling – high up. The sunroof means tall drivers may find headroom tight in the driver's seat, although head and legroom is adequate in the rear seats.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
This big 1.6 ton family saloon is capable of astonishing economy according to official fuel test figures with 55.4mpg on the urban cycle, 70.6mpg on the extra urban cycle and 64.2mpg on the combined cycle. This works out at a fuel cost of around 9.8p per mile. We saw 53.4mpg on the mixed motoring test route. Carbon dioxide emissions of 109g/km slot the Peugeot 1.6 eHDi into band B with free first year road tax and £20 per year after that. Service intervals are every 12,500 miles. Warranty is three years/60,000 miles.
Carbon dioxide emissions of 109g/km are amazing for a car of this size and weight and the same as the diminutive Peugeot 107 city car introduced six years ago. Fuel to the engine is cut under braking as soon as the car drops under eight mph. Slip it into neutral when stationary and you don't have to blind the driver behind with your brake lights. The engine restarts quickly and smoothly when you select D. Charge from a special capacitor keeps the radio, air con, wipers etc going while the engine is off. A diesel particulate filter to clean up the exhaust is fitted as standard. Automatic radiator flaps ensure the engine operates at the ideal temperature while minimising aerodynamic disturbance.
Keyless entry with start/stop engine button is all the rage these days, though you don't get it on a £230,000 Ferrari because Ferrari says a key is an important part of the driving experience. Peugeot also offers a head-up windscreen display of speed/sat nav info etc that you also don't get in a Ferrari. Standard fittings include halogen headlamps, alloy wheels, air conditioning, automatic headlamps and wipers, cruise control, electric window front and rear. Metallic paint is £450, Bluetooth phone system £205 and rear parking sensors £330.
Model tested: Peugeot 508 Active 1.6 eHDi 112
Body-style: Four-door saloon
Engine/CO2: 112bhp 1560cc turbo diesel / 109 gCO2/km
Trim grades: Access, SR, Active, Allure, GT
On-road price: Range from £18,150. eHDi models from £19,050. Price as tested £20,750
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 3.5 STARS
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