Big kid on the block

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By Nick Jones

Set aside for a moment the MPVs that Peugeot makes and you’d be excused for thinking that their main market is smaller family transport such as the 107, 207 and the 307.

But now we have a new, bigger kid on the block – and it’s called the 508.

The success of the impressive 607 prompted Peugeot to deliver a larger saloon packed full of the latest technology... and here it is.

Design-wise the styling boffins have done a good job. It shouts class and at just under five metres long, is a lot of metal for your money.

It has rather a long wheelbase so I think it’s fair to say the French have gone for a better ride quality from the 508 like never before.

It has the large grille on the front with narrow yet penetrative headlights, sculptured wheel arches, extremely thin pillars both for and aft and a rather cute, stylish rear end.

It’s certainly a car that grabs your attention that is for sure.

On the engine front, you naturally have a choice of either petrol or diesel. Petrol-wise you can plump for a 120bhp 1.6-litre or one with a turbo pumping out 160bhp. Go diesel and the choice broadens somewhat – you can have a 1.6-litre 1.6e-HDI which is the entry-level car, then through 140bhp unit, a 2.0-litre 163bhp version with all the particulate filters attached.

My test car was the 163bhp 2.0-litre, which is an absolute gem.

It can cruise along all day and you can hardly hear it ticking over.

Top speed is 140mph, with 0-60mph taking 9.6 seconds.

It also produces a healthy nugget of torque, quoted at 340Nm at a lowly 2,000 revs per minute.

On the emissions front it really is a green car as it emits only 129g/km, which is incredible really for a car of it’s size and capability; not only that, it can return 57.6mpg on the combined cycle, meaning petrol stations will be an infrequent delay.

Furthermore (as you know road tax is calculated on emissions and fuel type) it will only cost you £90 for a year to tax it.

Inside there are a raft of pockets, cubbyholes and drawers in which to stash the merchandise.

The seats are large and comfortable, mine here is the six-speed manual version and this really works well.

Head and legroom is impressive (particularly in the back seats) and the boot holds a tidy 470+ litres of luggage.

It is my opinion here that the 508 with the fit and finish, ease of operation of all the switchgear and buttons has gone more upmarket; it feels bigger, more luxurious and smarter with it.

On the long list of standard equipment all the safety features are apparent also, like many airbags and all the electronic aids that assist you with driving.

The test car also had the impressive Connect Navigation fitted, with a colour head-up-display, quad-zone automatic air conditioning with a rear window sunblind – adding around £1,300 to the price of £23,880.

So it’s right up near the top end of the spectrum as far as price is concerned but at the other end you can pay as little as £18,450 for the 1.6-litre 508 with ‘Access’ specification.

Somewhere in the middle you will find the correct specification to suit your needs for around £20,000; looks like Peugeot have got it right with the 508.

No, it’s not BMW or Audi, but discover a car in this class that’s as well suited and booted for the money and let me know – I’ll be waiting to hear from you...