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Peugeot 508 sedan 2015 review

The imminent departure of the Australian-made Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore has opened up an opportunity for imported cars to fill the gap – albeit a shrinking one as family buyers opt for smaller cars and medium SUVs.

One of these contenders is the Peugeot 508, first sold here in mid-2011, as a replacement for two previous models, the slightly smaller 407 and the slightly larger 607. For 2015 the 508 has been given a mid-life upgrade that includes styling changes, petrol engine upgrade, as well as some cuts from the model range.

As before Peugeot 508 is available as a sedan or wagon (Touring in Peugeot-speak) and with the choice of three turbocharged engine, one petrol and two diesels.

Design

For 2015 Peugeot 508 has undergone a number of cosmetic changes most of which are concentrated at the front of the car. These include a taller, flatter bonnet; new guards; headlamps that now incorporate LED elements, and daytime running lights; new bumpers and grille.

The iconic Peugeot Lion badge has been moved from the front of the bonnet to a more prominent spot at the centre of the now almost vertical grille. There's also a bigger rear bumper, again with a squarer appearance.

All combine to give the big Pug a bolder look although still conservative enough to suit its target market.

The big Peugeot has plenty of interior room

The changes to the bumpers mean that the 508 has grown slightly compared with the outgoing model, increasing in length by 38mm to 4830mm although, unusually, it's now marginally narrower (by 25mm at 1828mm).

Despite the reduction in width the big Peugeot has plenty of interior room with front-wheel drive freeing up space in the rear compartment and boot. Inside, the design remains much the same as currently, but changes to colours and materials have updated the appearance.

Engines

Engine capacities are unchanged with a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol; 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre turbo-diesel units on offer.

What has changed is in the efficiency of the all-new, modern e-THP Euro 6 petrol unit which gets an extra 6kW of power (from 115 to 121kW) but cuts combined urban/highway cycle fuel consumption from 7.1L/100km to 5.6L/100 km and CO2 emissions from 164g/km to 130g/km. Stop/start technology is one reason for the lowered emissions.

While the little petrol is the star performer the two diesels are more than capable performers. The 2.0-litre HDi, delivers 120kW of power at 3750 rpm and 340Nm of torque at 2000 revs; the 2.2-litre HDi 150kW at 3500 rpm and 450Nm at 2000 revs. Both have been measured at 5.7L/100 km on the combined cycle; 140g/km of CO2 emissions and are Euro 5 compliant.

All engines have a new lightweight design of Aisin six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Range

Model choice has been pruned from seven to five variants with the previous 1.6 petrol Allure sedan and wagon not carried over, leaving the entry-level $37,990 Active sedan as the only model to carry the petrol engine. The mid-spec Allure gets the 2.0-litre HDi with either sedan or wagon body; while the GT is powered by the larger 2.2-litre diesel and is also available as either sedan or Touring wagon.

Standard across the new 508 range are six airbags; enhanced ABS brakes; stability and traction control; LED daytime running lights and fog lamps; powered lumbar adjustment on the driver's seat; satellite navigation; reversing camera; 7-inch colour touchscreen; 8Gb music storage; Bluetooth and USB connectivity; rear sunblind; and electric boot release.

The Allure also gets blind-spot monitoring; push-button start/stop; available parallel parking space measurement; hill start assist; powered front seats including front passenger lumbar support; and a 12V outlet, there's a seat to roof retractable cargo net on the Touring.

The GT sedan and Touring add colour head-up display (optional in Allure); all-LED headlamps; leather sports seats with contrasting red stitching; tyre-pressure sensors; and a massage function for the driver's seat.

Alloy wheel sizes are 17-inch (Active); 18-inch (Allure); and 19-inch (GT).

Driving

We were able to drive both the 1.6-litre petrol (Active) and 2.2-litre diesel (GT) models during the Peugeot 508 launch between Sydney and the Southern Highlands. While the car is clearly aimed at the luxury market we found it to have reasonably good handling when pushed hard in the rare challenging sections of what was a fairly benign drive route.

Larger Peugeot models have long been one of our first choices for comfortable, spacious and economical long-distance commuting

We would normally opt for the extra grunt from the diesel but were highly impressed with the torque and smoothness of the petrol unit. There's nothing wrong with the diesel, but this all-new 1.6 is an exceptional piece of engineering.

As we've come to expect from any Peugeot noise suppression is outstanding, an important factor in the type of long distance travel for which the 508 is designed.

Verdict

The coming departure of the traditional Holden and Ford large cars is likely to see Australians re-define the word 'large' to the meaning that has long been applied in Europe and Asia.

Previously 'medium' cars such as the Toyota Camry; Ford Mondeo, Mazda6, Hyundai Sonata and Peugeot 508 will in future carry the mantle of large cars and could be the winners if the SUV bubble ever bursts and sedans come back into fashion.

Larger Peugeot models have long been one of our first choices for comfortable, spacious and economical long-distance commuting. We've made several inter-city trips in the superseded 407 Touring diesel and would have no hesitation in doing so in the new 508. Just a pity that the turbo-petrol/wagon variant isn't available – that would have covered all bases very nicely.

Pricing guides

$24,475
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$13,200
Highest Price
$35,750

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Active 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $15,300 – 21,560 2015 Peugeot 508 2015 Active Pricing and Specs
Active 1.6T 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,200 – 19,140 2015 Peugeot 508 2015 Active 1.6T Pricing and Specs
Allure 1.6T 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $14,500 – 20,460 2015 Peugeot 508 2015 Allure 1.6T Pricing and Specs
Allure HDi 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $16,400 – 22,770 2015 Peugeot 508 2015 Allure HDi Pricing and Specs