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Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the Peugeot 508 Allure Touring with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
Australia is a strange and sunburnt place, and so it's not surprising we are sometimes a little out of step with the rest of the world.
Take diesel vehicles, for example, which continue to dominate sales across Europe, while here they make up just one in every five new cars sold. And while other nations still appreciate the practical appeal of the humble station wagon, here they could only be less popular if they arrived with Rolf Harris in the boot.
And all of that adds up to a tough sell for Peugeot, with the French brand offering its 508 Allure Touring (a fancy name for wagon) here in a single, diesel-powered trim level. It would be easier to market asbestos-wrapped uranium cakes in our petrol-and-SUV-obsessed market. And that's a real shame, because the 508 Touring just might be one of our favourite Peugeots.
It's a premium-feeling cabin, even if Peugeot hasn't quite ironed out every French kink.
The 508 range, including the Touring model, was launched in 2012 and overhauled in 2015, with Peugeot reshaping the front-end and rethinking the interior to give it a more premium and sophisticated feel. But what began as a two-trim Touring line-up has since been consolidated to just the single offering in 2016, with the Allure ($48,990) the only wagon now available.
|Peugeot 508 2016: Allure HDi Touring|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
The once-mid-spec Allure model (it used to sit below a top-spec GT) wears a $48,990 sticker price, and is now the only offering in the 508 Touring line-up.
Legroom behind a six-foot driver's seating position is genuinely massive.
But it is hugely well equipped and leaves you with almost no options to tick. Heated leather seats, a 7.0-inch, nav-equipped touchscreen and an eight-speaker stereo arrive as standard, along with cruise control, push-button start, auto-open boot, quad-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
In fact, the only things the old top-spec GT had that the Allure doesn't are a slightly bigger engine, marginally bigger wheels and a colour head-up display - the latter of which you can still option for an extra $1,650, which includes a better sound system.
It's a stunning and stylish thing, the 508 Allure Touring. You'll fine none of the traditional French quirks in the body styling. No exterior airbags to ward off wayward trolleys or sagging hydropneumatic suspension, either. Instead you get a sleek front end dominated by a wide grille that almost kisses the redesigned headlight clusters at the top corners and the strips of LED daytime running lights in the bottom corners.
It's a smooth profile, too: all flowing lines highlighted by silver splashes on the standard-fit roof rails and door handles, and filled at each corner by its 18-inch alloy wheels. Even the bulbous rear end - an element that often looks like an afterthought on wagons that began life as sedans - blends into the broader design beautifully.
Inside, the Allure is a premium sea of leather-wrapped seats and soft-touch dash materials. It's a premium-feeling cabin, even if Peugeot hasn't quite ironed out every French kink from the ergonomics.
The cupholders, for example, pop out from recesses just below the 7.0-inch touchscreen, and using them blocks your view of the screen (including the navigation instructions) entirely. Likewise, the push-button start is located in the furthest corner of the cabin, virtually below the driver's window, while the fuel-cap and boot-release buttons get the prime real estate next to the steering wheel.
Any station wagon's ace card is practicality, and the 508 Allure Touring ticks that box and then some.
At a touch over 4.8m long, space is plentiful in any seat, but especially for backseat riders, where legroom behind a six-foot driver's seating position is genuinely massive.
And life gets even better for rear-seaters (provided you don't have someone squished into the middle seat, of course) where added niceties like reading lights, individual climate controls and a power outlet are standard equipment. There's also two cupholders in the pull-down seat divider, which match the two comically positioned ones in the front, to bring the 508 Allure Touring's total to four, with extra room in the doors for bottles.
And then there's that boot. Seats up, you get a hugely usable 612 litres of space, along with a standard-fit luggage net to keep things from knocking about back there. But drop the rear seats via the easy-reach handles in the boot, and that climbs to a massive 1817 litres. That's a lot of space - more even than some three-row, seven-seat SUVs can manage with both the third and middle rows folded flat.
The Allure trim level is offered with just the one engine and gearbox combination, arriving with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that will generate 120kW and 340Nm. They're not huge numbers, but the engine is paired with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic which helps deliver the power in predictable servings from low in the rev range.
That power is sent to the front wheels, with Peugeot listing claimed/combined fuel use at 5.7L/100km (though the on-board computer was recording a number closer to nine after our mostly city-based test).
While the 508 Allure Touring would normally arrive with Peugeot's standard three-year, 100,000km warranty, a rush to shift 2016-plated stock has seen the French brand offer an eight-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty on the current model.
Service intervals are still pegged at 15,000kms or 12 months, with Peugeot's capped-price servicing program limiting the total cost to $3105 for your first five visits to the service centre.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The 508 Allure Touring is no German rocket-wagon. For a start, the power output from its 2.0-litre diesel engine isn't overly extravagant, with its middling 120kW and 340Nm tasked with shifting the Touring's not-inconsiderable 1540kg bulk.
And in the real world, those numbers translate into a fairly subdued drive experience. The 0-100km/h time is listed as 9.2secs, but it doesn't actually feel that fast. Crucially, it never feels underpowered, but equally it doesn't inject excitement into every moment. Likewise, if you start to ask too many questions of the suspension or steering, you'll find it a step behind Euro benchmarks in terms of driving dynamics.
The multimedia unit is far from the most intuitive we've used.
There's also a noticeable lack of Sport, even with Sport Mode engaged. A fact Peugeot seems to acknowledge by almost hiding what the button does, with just the tiniest "S" popping up on the dash to show you've activated it.
But keep it humming along at city speeds and the 508 Allure Touring slips perfectly into its element. It's composed in the CBD, it's quiet on most road surfaces (though some surfaces do invade the cabin, and more worryingly, revealed a suspect rattle from the dash at one point), the transmission is smooth and seamless, the steering is easy and predictable and it does exude a sense of premiumness from the driver's seat. The diesel engine is largely unobtrusive, especially when you don't ask too much from it. Attempting to squeeze maximum power from it, however, does reveal some harshness.
But it wouldn't be French without a few little quirks. For one, there's a kind of stubborn delay when you ask it to do something. Engage the parking brake, for example, and there's a notable pause as it engages or disengages. And the multimedia unit is far from the most intuitive we've used - we're still trying to figure out all the functions as we prepare to return out test vehicle.
Practical, good-looking and with just enough quirks to remind you you're driving something French, the 508 Allure Touring offers plenty of perks. While sub-par standard safety and a thrill-free drive experience count against it, it's a handsome and viable alternative to the all-too-common SUV.
|Allure HDi||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$24,420 – 30,140||2016 Peugeot 508 2016 Allure HDi Pricing and Specs|
|GT HDi||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$33,110 – 39,380||2016 Peugeot 508 2016 GT HDi Pricing and Specs|
|Allure HDi Touring||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$26,070 – 32,120||2016 Peugeot 508 2016 Allure HDi Touring Pricing and Specs|
|GT Touring HDi||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$34,760 – 41,360||2016 Peugeot 508 2016 GT Touring HDi Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||7|