Monday, 9 February 2015

REVIEW - Peugeot 508 BlueHDi Allure

I’ve reviewed several Peugeot models over the last few years. And this has helped me see the transformation of the brand. Take the 207, which left me feeling rather uninspired. Then compare that to the 208, which is a brilliant little car. And then we get to the flagship- the biggest, most executive of all the Peugeot’s; the 508. It’s been given a facelift to keep it looking fresh, and is far removed from the old 407. But the executive saloon market is a rather crowded one, and the Peugeot has its work cut out for it trying to get ahead of rivals. I decided to test the new BlueHDi Allure model, because this offered a combination of economy and luxury. So time to see how it stacks up then…

Looks – 8/10

The facelifted front end really does look good on the 508. The lines are noticeably bolder, especially the headlight shape and grille. But the familiar Peugeot look is still there, with the slightly set back “Peugeot” badge and the kink in the bottom line of the headlights. The ‘swoosh’ daytime running lights are still there too, but instead of being inbuilt to the headlights are located lower on the bumper. They also double up as the indicators, and give a premium look to the front end. What’s more, coming up behind you they are rather striking in a rear-view mirror. The Allure gets 18-inch alloys, and a smart chrome trim around the windows. The rear end is an improvement over the previous model- the exhaust cut-outs have gone- but it just doesn’t have the same appeal as the front. It just still feels like something is missing, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. I also think privacy glass would go a long way to a more premium image.

Step inside the 508 and the quality becomes apparent. There’s plenty of gloss black trim, and the half leather seats look welcoming. The plastics are top quality, and the switchgear is relatively simple and well laid out. The instrument panel is rather snazzy indeed, with its bright dials and the multi-function display in the middle. The media screen is well-positioned, and as a touch-screen is easy to operate too. The engine start button and electronic parking brake is in a rather strange place; they’re out to the right hand side of the steering wheel and feel a bit of a stretch, but then again these aren’t needed once you’re on the move. And in stereotypical French car style, there’s even a secret compartment where the buttons to disable the start/stop and traction control can be found. My only complaint with the interior is that it’s a bit dark. If it wasn’t for the light coloured headlining it would be a rather black place indeed, and a bit of brushed aluminium or similar would break this up somewhat.

Handling/Performance – 8/10

The BlueHDi engine in the 508 is a 2.0-litre diesel, and is only available with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Power is 150PS, and this is slightly down on rivals. The engine is a torquey one though; offering 370Nm. This means that whilst the 0-62mph dash of 9.8 seconds isn’t overly impressive, the in-gear acceleration is lovely. Once you’re on the motorway and cruising along in sixth gear, overtaking seems effortless; simply poke your right foot on the accelerator and you’ll be past the car in no time at all. The engine is a typical diesel in the sense that it starts running out of puff above 3,000rpm, but is notably quiet. On tickover you can barely hear it, and at motorway speeds there’s very little sound intrusion into the cabin, because at 70mph in sixth gear, you’re well under 2,000rpm.

The 508 is a rather large car, but I found it rather well balanced to drive. Peugeot have got the steering spot on in terms of weight and response. The turn-in is sharp and there’s not much in the way of lean as you enter corners. I wouldn’t exactly call the 508 nimble or agile, but it certainly does well for its size. The seats offer enough support to stop you rolling around in the cabin, and there’s no dramas on a twisty A-road. The suspension is comfortable all the time, which makes the flat cornering even more impressive. But the motorway is where the 508 is most enjoyable. It’s an executive saloon, and you certainly feel this most on a long motorway haul.

Economy – 10/10

The BlueHDi engine range from Peugeot are the choice for those with an environmental disposition. They offer a compromise of power and efficiency with the goal of reducing running costs. Take the 2.0-litre diesel engine in my 508 test car. 150PS is plenty in terms of power, but on the efficiency side there’s 109 g/km and combined fuel consumption of 67.3mpg. So road tax is free in the first year, and £20 subsequent to that. Which for an executive saloon is rather cheap. There’s stop/start technology to help bring the CO2 emissions down, and the 6-speed gearbox has a long final gear to reduce engine rpm on the motorway. If I really wanted to knock the 508, I could argue that the Volvo S60 has 99g/km emissions and 180PS, but that would be rather unfair, as the whole £20 difference is rather insignificant in the real world.

Practicality – 9/10

As a large saloon car you can expect plenty of space. The cabin is very spacious, and in particular the rear legroom will suit even the tallest adults. The driving position is good too with plenty of adjustment available if required. Visibility is good, and is aided by the reversing camera. Being the Allure model, you can also benefit from Bluetooth hands-free, satellite navigation, cruise control, speed limited, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control and heated seats. This makes the 508 a rather enjoyable car to live with day to day. Boot space is generous too, but as with all saloon cars is hindered slightly by the restricted opening.

Fun – 8/10

I am a fan of the latest Peugeot models. They have more style, more presence, and- most importantly- more tech than in years gone by. This translates into a car that you don’t just drive; you enjoy. And with great iPod connectivity you can find your perfect soundtrack to suit any drive. Yes, I understand this is a large diesel saloon, but it’s also got the ability to drop the jaw of a BMW driver once he steps inside and sees all the goodies. And I found myself going for the keys at every opportunity, because it’s a great car to drive. The whole family is happy with the spacious cabin, and the featuring push-out cupholders put a nostalgic smile on my face every time.

Concluding Remarks

So there we have the 508 Allure. The BlueHDi engine is without doubt the one you’d go for; the balance of economy and driveability is perfect. The level of equipment as standard means that the only option you’re likely to pay for is a metallic colour, as was the case with my test car. That will cost you an extra £520 over the standard price of £26,395. And when you compare this to similar models you will find this a rather competitively-priced car indeed. So all of a sudden you’re having to think twice about your decision in this sector. Peugeot have made put a lot of effort into rebranding in recent years, and it shows. For more information visit your local dealership or log on to the Peugeot website. The Peugeot 508 BlueHDi Allure; a meeting of style and spaciousness.

Total Score – 43/50

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