I seem to have an on-off-on relationship with Peugeot. The very first vehicle I ever drove on the road was a 504 pick-up truck. When I was younger and hot hatches became popular, Pug were kicking it with the 205 Gti. Personally I preferred the 309 Gti but that’s because I was always partial to larger cars.
The first Peugeot I owned was a late 1980s 405 with a 1.9 petrol engine. I rescued it from the back of a used car dealer’s yard. It was a non runner but I repaired the engine (only missing a few parts) in situ and drove out. For a car that was a big saloon it was pretty nippy and a decent motor. I had it for a couple of years before I passed it onto my parents as they needed a bigger car.
Over the years a couple of 406s came and went, one petrol, one HDI. Both drove like sports cars and were great. Then it seemed design in the Peugeot family went a bit, well, boring. The ’07 range led us to a 207 that was okay, a 307 that looked sorta okay and a 407 that looked like a balloon version of what a car should look like!
I know what you’re saying…I missed out large numbers of other models and I have but these were the core. The 106 was a fab little car, the 605 a massive limo, basically a 405 on steroids.
Recently, over the past few years, it seems design has moved away from bubble wrap and back to paper. The 5008 is a massive crossover with style and aggression and that brings us to the 508.
The 50… series has been missing from the car range since the 505 and the early 508s seemed to channel bubbles more that cars. It wasn’t a great success. So seeing a new design 508 recently at a press day I just had to take one for a spin. Now, there is a reason I ‘had’ to take one out. You see, it looks amazing. In my opinion. It’s got edges, corners an aggressive look and almost seems to be a European version of a US muscle car. In style at least.
Sharing the platform with the aforementioned 5008, this new 508 is smaller, yet larger, than it’s predecessor. And it’s a hatchback. Boy is it a hatchback. The boot space it massive, even Richard could fit in there for a nap! Another adjustment to the design is to move to frameless windows on the doors. They have done this in order to lower to roofline and it works and still provides a good seal against wind noise.
We borrowed the 2.0 diesel lump GT version. The interior is something else for a mainstream manufacturer. The seats with their diamond-stitch leather are sumptuous and supportive, more high end Mercedes than mass produced Peugeot. The i-cockpit has plenty of fingerprint catching piano black and the large central infotainment screen is easy to navigate but it’s star feature in my eyes was the digital dash, yes, I’m a geek at heart. Richard wasn’t so sure about the piano key switches but I thought they were a nice design touch.
The eight speed automatic box performs well and the engine is quiet yet responsive and like older 405s and 6s, is hold the road well. The design team have even considered the taller rear passenger by raising the head lining in the rear of the cabin so that new hair do can remain unharmed.
It’s hard to do a car real justice in a short half hour drive so we will see about a longer test in the near future but, on my current position, if I were looking for a large hatchback, I think the 508 hits all the right spots.