Last month, I spoke at some length about the attractiveness of our new long-term Peugeot 508. I’ve been driving some attention-grabbing cars of late, including an orange DS and a black Porsche Panamera estate with green brake calipers, but even that couldn’t prepare me for the reaction to the Peugeot. Everyone, it seems, turns to look at this big, red, family hatchback. Someone in an old-shape, 61-plate 508 even gave me the thumbs-up on the motorway. I was so surprised that all I could offer in return was the tiniest and most inadequate of smiles. So if that was you on the westbound M4, I’m sorry. I’m not really a grumpy git – I’m just socially awkward sometimes.
The last issue of Diesel Car also saw me express my desire to find out more about the 508’s relevance in the modern world, and given the way so many buyers are swayed by a car’s looks, I’m beginning to see a market. If you were the sort of person who judged a car solely (or almost solely) on aesthetics, you could well find yourself handing over thousands for a new 508. But if you did that, you might find a few issues.
As I’ve spent more time with the car, I’ve noticed a handful of irritants – some of which are a direct consequence of the attention-grabbing design. For a kick-off, the water droplets that form on the hatchback, then drip down and splash into the boot when you open it, and then there’s the frameless windows, which have caused me some quite serious physical pain. Somehow, my peripheral vision just can’t quite judge their whereabouts, so I keep banging my head. Some of the car’s high-tech on-board systems are giving me a headache, too, including the lane assistant, which occasionally tries to swing me into the path of oncoming traffic on narrow roads. Turning it off is, thankfully, a simple affair, but the system doesn’t remember my actions, so it comes on again every time I start the car. The most trying issue, however, is the DAB radio, which seems to have the uncanny knack of picking the worst possible moment to lose signal. I like having the radio on when I’m on a long drive – particularly if there’s football or F1 in the offing – and although I could bear with the occasional drop-out causing me to miss the odd overtake or one of Jermaine Jenas’ witty asides, this is happening far too often. In built-up areas, the speakers will fall silent every few minutes.
Admittedly, some of these issues are partly my fault. Maybe I’m just a clumsy so-and-so, or perhaps I simply haven’t found out how to switch the lane departure system off more permanently. But even so, I think they’re important. I could live with a car that rode a little more harshly than its rivals, but a brand-new car with a misbehaving radio? That’s driving me insane.
Date arrived 3rd April 2019
Fuel economy WLTP combined 45.2-51.1mpg On Test 47.6mpg
The boot is massive, swallowing golf clubs with ease.
Hit-and-miss radio signal ruins my enjoyment of the Premier League and F1 title race.