Our cars: Peugeot 508 SW - January 2012
Week ending January 27
Driven this week: 521 miles
The search for winter tyres on our 508 has come to an end. The unusual 235/45 size on 18in wheels has stumped everybody, and none of the main suppliers were able to help.
Smaller wheels for the winter are not an option either, due to the size of the 508’s front brakes. Given our mild winter so far, it might not have mattered, but the car is going to Austria in two weeks, where they’re having record snowfalls.
So we’re looking into alternatives. Snow socks sounded like an obvious option, but they’re not recognised as an equivalent to the mandatory winter tyres or snow chains required in Austria. Another possibility is a set of spikes, which can be fitted to regular tyres.
Week ending January 20
Driven this week: 564 miles
Last week I listed the features on our 508 that I don’t use, but since then I’ve found two more. On the heating control panel are two buttons labelled ‘soft’ and ‘fast’. I had previously ignored them but thought I would give them a go. They simply regulate the speed at which the car reaches its programmed temperature.
Necessary? Probably not? Nice to have? Yes, I think so. I’ve found myself toggling between settings a few times. ‘Soft’ when I want to hear the radio more easily, ‘fast’ when there is a real urgency to de-mist/ heat the car.
Week ending January 13
Driven this week: 451 miles
Our 508 has a pretty extensive specification, but sometimes it’s more interesting to look at the items that don’t get used. Here’s my list.
Driver seat massage: I tried it a few times, but it feels too much like getting poked in the back for my liking.
Park assist: the 508 will tell you if it thinks you’ll fit in a space, but won’t park for you. It’s just not useful enough.
Paddle gearshift: rarely used and punishing on fuel economy if I do ever get twitchy fingers.
Head-up display: it’s there, but I tend not to look at it. The conventional displays get my attention most of the time.
‘Saved’ cruise control speeds: difficult to work out and just unnecessary really.
How much would be saved off the price of the car if these items weren’t fitted?
Week ending January 6
Driven this week: 438
It was a quiet fortnight over Christmas for our 508. Its most challenging task was the inevitable tip run, with a mountain of cardboard to dispose of. The ease with which the rear seats can be flipped down and then returned to upright is a real bonus on days like this. It’s effortless really.
Removing the parcel shelf and dog guard is slightly more fiddly, but this is more of an observation than a criticism. The 508 does a fine job of fulfilling its estate duties.