The stylish Peugeot 508 family car has been given a subtle update, but is it now better than ever?
3.5 out of 5
The tweaks to the Peugeot 508 are subtle and haven’t changed the core of the car, which is not without its flaws (some infotainment issues and a tight rear cabin), but still delivers on many fronts in hybrid form. It’s a comfortable, efficient, refined and practical machine that can cut it with the best the VW Group brands have to offer. The question is, given that SUVs are still the most popular models with buyers, is it more the market than the car that will limit the 508’s potential?
Peugeot is going through a period of reinvention, with all-new models such as the forthcoming 408 and heavily revised cars, including the 308 hatch, underpinning its push to go more premium. But what about existing models such as the 508?
Well, the brand has upgraded the range with some subtle styling alterations and spec tweaks to boost its appeal. The range now starts with Active Premium trim, with more kit, while the old Allure spec has been axed in favour of Allure Premium. Above this there’s GT, and this GT Premium model.
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It also features subtle styling updates, including black door mirror caps and a dark chrome grille insert with a black surround, while all 508s now have LED headlights.
This high-spec GT Premium trim gets lots of standard kit. The Driver Assist pack groups adaptive cruise control and lane-assistance tech, plus there’s full keyless go, a 360-degree camera, sat-nav and live services, the latest smartphone connectivity, a Focal stereo, 19-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated seats and a 12.3-inch digital dash.
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The i-Cockpit layout remains and there aren’t any changes to the cabin, which means the ergonomics might not suit everyone but you can still get comfortable behind the steering wheel.
The 508 delivers comfort on the move, too. The EMP2 platform provides a flowing ride the majority of the time. The Peugeot floats over undulating country roads yet the body control is sound; it feels calm and composed – until you hit a serious pothole or bump, which tends to thud through the car’s structure at speed.
Handling is a match for the ride in that the 508 feels nicely set up, with a grippy and agile personality that backs up its sleek, sporty looks in fastback form. It’s good fun, helped by the boost our plug-in model’s electric motor delivers.
The Hybrid 225 powertrain combines a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with an electric motor delivering a total of 222bhp and 266Nm of torque.
The Peugeot feels punchy enough on electric power. Ask for more performance, and the petrol engine kicks in. However, around town or at lower speeds the e-motor takes care of propulsion effectively and delivers strong refinement. This slips in hybrid mode, but the four-cylinder unit is still pretty quiet unless working hard.
However, this approach is at odds with the 508 Hybrid. You’re better off making the most of the electric range (up to 34 miles, officially) by allowing the battery to deploy its 11.8kWh of energy as it sees fit.
With a 487-litre boot, the 508 Hybrid just shades its closest rival – the Skoda Superb PHEV – offering two litres more. However, there’s not quite as much space for passengers in the Peugeot.
Material quality feels good, as does the 508’s build, while the tech backs this up with enough features. We’d like physical climate controls, as well as snappier responses from the infotainment system, though, especially given the GT Premium plug-in’s hefty £41,580 price tag.
|Model:||Peugeot 508 Hybrid 225 GT Premium|
|Powertrain:||1.6-litre 4cyl turbo petrol + e-motor|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive|
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