In a time where large sedans are a rare species it was actually a pleasant surprise to have one tossed my way over the compact hatches and SUVs I’ve grown accustomed to.
The 2016 Peugeot 508 is the French maker’s most sizeable offering and this week the lower-spec Active was under the microscope.
Priced at $36,990 the Peugeot 508 Active sits below the Allure and GT variants (which also come in a station wagon Touring model).
At a glance the 508 looks sleek with a corporate sophistication but when you sidle up next to it the body design is somewhat dull and uninspiring. It’s safe but boring.
The interior too is also a little less luxurious that I’d hoped. Now the layout of the switchgear was as you’d expect in a Peugeot, just that the hard plastic panelling didn’t help with the feel nor did the grey colour or highlights.
The pop out cup holders in the middle of the centre dash are a little old fashioned and would obstruct any of the buttons below it. The side opening centre console storage compartment was a nice classy touch.
However, the standout of the car was the drive; stable, smooth ride with well weighted steering and compliant handling.
So a large car should come with a large engine to match. Not so.
With only a modest 1.6 litre engine the 508 is capable of remarkable acceleration thanks to the turbocharger and a decent 240Nm of torque producing what was pretty aggressive performance.
Switch on the sports mode and it’s even punchier.
I recall I was impressed by this in my first drive of the Peugeot 508 at the launch last year and that thought hasn’t faded even in this diesel model.
There was one issue that got my goat. Though only a small aspect, it has a bearing on the long term liveability of the vehicle.
I had a titanic tussle with the auto start/stop function which was, let’s say, difficult at the best of times.
This fuel saving technology switches the engine off when you come a complete stop, starting it up again when you step on the accelerator again. Getting the tuning right is critical.
In the case of the 508, I found it was oversensitive and turned off too prematurely making crawling in traffic a headache while there was delayed response in getting started again which made for a frustrating experience.
There’s plenty of elbow room in the cabin both front and back and you won’t have any troubles with space and cranky passengers for many miles. Legroom is average while the boot is equally roomy but narrows in towards the seats.
The Peugeot 508 can go the distance with a large 72L tank giving you plenty of mileage till the next refill. Out of the week it managed a satisfactory 8.5L/100km.
Some standard equipment include auto lights and wipers, zoned climate control, heated seats, an electric park brake, LED DRLs and fog lamps.
There is no ignition button in the Active and comes with a standard key.
Only the auto start/stop put a dampener on what was otherwise a fine drive in a European car that would be best suited to long distance trips.
NUTS and BOLTS 2016 Peugeot 508 Allure
Engine: 1.6L turbo petrol producing 121kW and 240Nm
Transmission: Six-speed sports automatic
Warranty: 3 Year/100,000km
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $36,990