The 508 is one of those cars that prompts you to ask: ìWhat more could I want?î Possibly because of the extensive equipment list, the answer to that question leaves a puzzled frown. If you need a large, comfortable car thatís surprisingly cheap to run, this one does the business.
You can nit-pick about small details ñ the colour wonít get your pulse racing, and the tailgate needs some assistance to open. But a car like this is all about the major practicalities; you buy one because you need loads of carrying capacity, and youíre not going to go without reasonable passenger leg room to get it. In our time with the car weíve hauled around some weighty and sizeable packages, and not once have I wished for a larger vehicle. As for cabin space, there have been no complaints on that score either. One of my gripes about our previous long-term test car, the Peugeot 308 GT, concerned the rear head restraints which simply didnít go high enough for safety. Well, more exactly they could be positioned high enough, but within half a mile they would drop down to an unsafe level. So, when the 508 came along I expected similar sinkings. Not a bit of it, these restraints go high enough and stay where theyíre put. As for head and leg room, thereís plenty for all, unless basketball is your sport of choice.
Other memorable aspects of our long term 508 include the ride, which is an element at which Peugeot excels. The French as a whole are good at this; they seem to feel itís an important issue: ìWhyî, they say, ìwould you not want a comfortable time behind the wheel?î A good question, and one they answer with aplomb. If youíve not driven a French car in the last twenty years, and you think theyíre all likely to roll off the road on any bend taken at more than 30mph, try the 508. It impresses.
Practical too, are the controls of the heating and ventilation system; again, unlike the 308 itís a sensible system ñ a dedicated panel that allows intuitive use of knobs and switches. With one touch or twiddle you can set a temperature for driver or passenger, direct the air where you want it, clear the front or rear screen, vary the fan speed and so on. Itís all very easy, and hugely safer than screen-based systems which require too much time spent with eyes off the road.
And what havenít we liked? On the subject of safety thereís been one aspect of the design thatís given me the odd cause for concern, and it formed the basis of one of my ëWhatís Notí entries. Quite simply, the B-pillars are very wide, and coupled with the sizeable head restraints, youíre left with a sideways view that can be annoyingly, possibly dangerously, obstructed at T-junctions. Provided youíre careful, and are prepared to lean forwards and backwards, you eventually get the whole picture, but the process takes time, and sooner or later somebodyís not going to bother.
My final ëWhatís Notí concerns the navigation screen. Itís a subject which routinely crops up in car tests, simply because there are so many ways in which the system can make a pigís ear of the route processing, no matter what the car. However, this particular gripe has nothing to do with the electronics or software, it merely concerns the screen, which in conditions of high humidity has what appears to be a damp patch obstructing your view. The size of it varies from a small central patch right up to three-quarters of the screen area. It comes and goes, and doesnít affect the operation, so is not that important, just annoying.
Overall, however, weíve enjoyed the 508 and been impressed by its value. Hereís a large family car thatís amazingly well equipped, and returns running costs more in line with the small hatchback crowd. Real world fuel consumption of 48.6mpg isnít a figure most people would associate with a car this size. Goodbye 508, we will really miss you.
Arrived: 14th June 2016
Mileage: 4,368 miles
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 56.5/74.3/67.3mpg
Economy (on test) 48.6mpg
Good head and leg room in the back, and head rests are situated high enough.
The navigation screen is occasionally obscured by a ‘damp patch’.