Peugeot's new medium-large wagon is a pretty good place to be, once you've come to realise a European does not have to be a pin-sharp sportster.
The French automaker has got it spot-on by naming the wagon "Touring" and it should well satisfy owners and drivers who want some Euro prestige with lots of tech and toys, a stylish lifestyle vehicle, comfort and safety for (whisper it) less than 50 grand.
Explore the 2011 Peugeot 508 Range
So far in Australia, there's only one version of the 508 wagon - having a turbo-diesel engine and equipped to Allure trim level. A 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine (115kW/240Nm) is on the way.
At $45,990 the 4.8m Peugeot 508 Touring has few direct rivals, the obvious being the VW Passat Highline diesel. The Passat's lesser-known cousin, the Skoda Superb, is $2000 less and the fellow French Citroen C5 Tourer is $49,990.
Which means the Peugeot is priced well under the luxury Swedish and German marques for this type of vehicle. If you're prepared to do away with the Euro image and some of the gadgets, diesel motoring can be found in a Mazda6 wagon for $36,250.
This Peugeot 508 Touring stands up in the value equation: keyless entry and start, front and rear park assist, electric park brake and hill assist, eight-speaker sound, Bluetooth and USB, quad-zone climate control, power front seats and leather trim. A capped service program at $990 for the first three years/60,000km is offered.
Perhaps the most stylish Peugeot wagon ever seen. It's fresh, sleek, elegant yet has more space than the predecessor 407 wagon. The wagon space is large (612 litres with rear seat up).
There's a ski port, the rear seat folds flat 60, 40 or all with the flick of levers by the tailgate, it has chromed tie-down hooks plus two upper hooks, elastic side straps and a cargo blind. There's a wide rear bumper to reach over but the load height is reasonable.
Points lost for tiny glovebox and centre console bin sizes. A feature is the full length panoramic glass roof, which can be covered to various stages by a horizontal electric blind. Rear side windows have roll-up sunscreens/privacy blinds.
The engine is what you'd expect from a Euro, which means quite OK. The 120kW of power and 340Nm of torque is par for a two-litre turbo-diesel. It feeds to a six-speed automatic transmission that has a sequential manual control with paddles behind the steering wheel and a Sport setting.
Official diesel consumption is 5.7 litres/100km. We saw as low as 6.2 thanks to a country drive but ended with 6.6 in mostly gentle throttle use: it's warming to see 538km covered and still 520km to go on the trip
computer (tank is 72 litres).
Peugeot boasts of good aerodynamics and the 1544kg weight is commendably low for this size diesel wagon, aided by an aluminium bonnet. The tailgate has assisted opening and electric closing. SAFETY Six airbags, all the acronyms for braking, collapsible steering column and brake pedal, three rear child seat restraint anchorage points, flexible cargo net and five-star ANCAP crash test score should assure buyers.
Keyless entry and start is not just a party trick but very practical. The power seat has plenty of adjustment although, as is the way with many modern cars, the driver must peer around the A-pillar at intersections. Rear seat passengers get comfort and separate vent controls (and love the full glass roof).
The flat-bottom steering wheel is leather-clad but the driver lacks direct feel with the road. Yes, it safely gets around corners but this wagon is no sports car. Notably, the GT sedan version gets a different front suspension. Slip the auto shifter across to the S setting and the car becomes more willing (0-100km/h in 9.5sec) and even in normal D mode the paddle shift can be used to invoke engine braking down a hill.
Engine noise is well suppressed. Passengers might never know it's a diesel - unless a window is down at cold start-up. But tyre roar and road noise are there, although we drove a Touring with lower, 45-profile tyres on optional 18in instead of 17in standard rims. It's not the only Euro car to let you know you're on a coarse Aussie road surface.
The real plus in this stylish wagon is to enjoy the comfort, the fair value and space plus the prestige of a Euro car badge. Don't expect it to be a German-like sportster wagon in nimble handing and steering. But do cash in on the diesel engine's frugality and range. This Touring is a good tourer.