Peugeot 508 review

Category: Executive car

Section: Performance & drive

Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 rear right tracking LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 front right tracking
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 rear right tracking LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 dashboard LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 rear seats LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 infotainment LHD
  • Peugeot 508 wireless phone charging
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 instruments LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 front seats LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 boot open LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 right side LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 front right static LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 rear left static LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 front right tracking
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 rear right tracking LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 dashboard LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 rear seats LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 infotainment LHD
  • Peugeot 508 wireless phone charging
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 instruments LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 front seats LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 boot open LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 right side LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 front right static LHD
  • Peugeot 508 Hatchback Hybrid 2020 rear left static LHD
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The plug-in hybrid version of the 508 combines a petrol engine with an electric motor, and offers an electric-only range of around 39 miles, putting it in direct competition with Volkswagen's impressive Passat GTE, as well as the Skoda Superb iV. When running on electric power alone, acceleration from a standstill is brisk and motorway speeds are handled with ease. Just don’t expect Tesla-like acceleration from the single 108bhp electric motor. When the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine joins in, 0-62mph takes 8.3sec, which isn’t quite as quick as its Skoda and BMW plug-in rivals manage it.

The 1.5-litre diesel engine (badged 1.5 BlueHDi 130) only produces 128bhp and is the only engine that’s offered with a manual gearbox. Unfortunately, it feels underpowered enough to make joining a motorway or overtaking more stressful than it should be. We have yet to try the 2.0 BlueHDi 160, but the 174bhp 2.0 BlueHDi 180 has strong performance, with 0-62mph taking the same 8.3sec as the hybrid. It doesn’t feel much more brisk than a 2.0 TDI 150 Superb, though.

The manual gearbox of the BlueHDi 130 is disappointing; there’s a long, notchy action between its six gears. Fortunately, an eight-speed automatic gearbox is optional, and is standard with all the other engines. The automatic is generally impressively smooth and responsive, but can be hesitant around town and this failing isn’t helped by the start/stop system, which is overly intrusive in operation.

When paired with the hybrid engine, it gets particularly flustered if you ask for a sudden burst of acceleration – it can dither around trying to decide on a gear. The hybrid is otherwise quiet and smooth, particularly in electric mode, but the transition when the petrol engine kicks in isn’t as smooth as you’ll experience in the Skoda Superb iV or BMW 330e. After that it behaves like the other Puretech petrol engines; smooth enough in normal use but rather coarse at the top of the rev-range. The BlueHDi 130 diesel is certainly noisier, partially because it needs working rather hard, but the BlueHDI 180 is refined for a diesel in this class.

Adaptive suspension is optional for most models and standard on range toppers, and is linked to four driving modes: Eco, Sport, Comfort and Normal. Comfort and Normal tend to introduce a floating sensation over the crest of bumps at speed, particularly in the hybrid, while Sport increases the steering weight and stiffens the dampers, but the differences are small. Regardless of setting, the 508 fidgets over road imperfections at all speeds; the Skoda Superb is far more forgiving of poor road surfaces. Cars without the adaptive suspension are set a little on the firm side and fidget noticeably, too.

New car deals
Save up to £4,383
Target Price from £26,275
Save up to £4,383
or from £360pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £20,999
Leasing deals
From £407pm