Peugeot 508 driven

* Peugeot's new Mondeo rival * Mpg 45.6-64.2, CO2 109-150g/km * Prices from £18,150...

Peugeot 508 driven

What is it?

Peugeot's all-new family saloon and estate; a replacement for the 407. Peugeot hopes its blend of style, quality and efficiency will help to tempt those who might otherwise choose a Ford Mondeo, VW Passat or even a BMW 3 Series.

What's it like to drive?

We've driven the range-topping GT HDi model, which comes with a 201bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine and six-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

First impressions are very good. The engine is strong, the gearbox generally smooth and refinement is impressive, with little engine- or road noise and only a whisper of wind noise at speed.

The GT model has a more sophisticated front suspension set-up than the rest of the range for sharper handling. It does its job well, because the 508 turns neatly into corners and feels assured on demanding roads.

The steering is usefully informative and responsive too. Our only concern is the ride quality, which wasn't tested too thoroughly on the mostly smooth Spanish roads we drove on. Body movement is well controlled, but there's an underlying firmness that may prove unforgiving on the UK's more variable road surfaces.

What's it like inside?

The 508's interior is a big step forward from the 407's, with some very classy materials and details. The styling is rather conservative, but the top-notch plastics and precise, solid controls give it an upmarket feel that's at least a match for its rivals in this class.

The cabin isn't quite as spacious as some, but there's plenty of room for four six-footers and an almost-flat floor makes it unusually accommodating for a central rear passenger. The saloon's boot has a useful 515-litre capacity, while the SW estate provides 560 litres, as well as the option of an electrically-powered tailgate and a folding boot floor.

How much does it cost?

Prices start at £18,150 for the entry-level 1.6 VTi 120 Access model. SR is the next trim level up, then there's Active and Allure. The GT HDi 200 model tops the range, at £28,750. Estate versions are £1015 more than the saloon .

The 508 is available to order now, with first deliveries expected in April.

What Car? says

Sleek, smooth 508 is a big step forward