I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with tyre pressure monitoring systems. Some are great, and their safety value can’t be underestimated, but I’ve found other systems to be fiddly. So when the 508’s digital driver display lit up with its puncture warning just outside Weston-super-Mare, I didn’t know which of the two it would be. The car felt fine – there were no worrying noises and the steering didn’t pull left or right – but I dutifully pulled over in a retail park. Unlike some, the Peugeot’s system gave me no indication of which wheel was the culprit, and a quick look over the tyres revealed nothing obviously amiss.
So, putting the alarm down to a false reading from the sensors, or perhaps heat-related changes in pressure after a 180-mile slog south, I tentatively reset the system and continued on my way. Half an hour later, I’d reached my destination without triggering anymore warnings, but I still let the car cool down and checked the pressures with a borrowed gauge. All were vaguely similar, except the left rear, which was around 10psi down. After a workout with the foot pump, I checked the tyre’s surface properly. It’s no easy task, given the way the 18-inch alloys fill the arches, but with a lot of short, slow reverses, I finally found it. Protruding from deep within one of the central grooves was a shiny screw. Thankfully, though, a quick mooch across to “Weston-super-Mare’s busiest independent tyre and auto centre” (their words, not mine) saw the tyre plugged and repaired. All for the princely sum of £17.50.
Although the fix was ultimately simple, all my mucking about with the tyre pressure monitoring system drew my attention to the 508’s i-Cockpit digital instrument cluster. It’s a bit like a diet version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, offering a host of different displays to choose from. You can have the navigation system’s map between two strange rotary dials, or you can have a really minimalist display that essentially shows speed, fuel and nothing else. There’s a display that shows you what the lane departure warning and cruise control are doing, too, and if none of that appeals, you can have a digital version of instrument dials. That sounds pointless, I know, but it’s actually my preferred setting.
And when night falls, another option appears, in the shape of the night vision camera system. It uses an infra-red camera housed in the grille to show you the road ahead in negative form, picking out hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists and marauding donkeys, way before the headlights. It’s a system I quite liked in the DS 7 Crossback I ran a while ago, although I didn’t use it much because scrolling through the displays to find it was too much of a faff. I don’t use it in the 508 either, because the display itself is so small it’s hardly worth bothering with. I do like the digital instruments, though. I like the choice they offer, I like their clarity and I like the way conventional dials now look a bit old-fashioned. The fact this technology is appearing in mainstream models only serves to narrow the gap between premium rivals.
Date arrived 3rd April 2019
Fuel economy WLTP combined 45.2-51.1mpg On Test 48.1mpg
I’m loving the crystal-clear digital instrument cluster.
Puncture put a dampener on my trip to Somerset.