Peugeot 508 1.6 EAT8 Fastback Review
Eye Of The Lion

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
15 Sep 2021
 

The Peugeot 508 is a unique offering, in a time where same-segment cars have been overlooked in-favour of the SUV. Its coupe-like silhouette sets it apart from the competition, and it might just win hearts.

It took a long time for Peugeot’s radically designed D Segment sedan to arrive at our shores. For the past few years, the French automotive brand in Singapore, primarily focused on two main offerings, the 3008 and 5008 SUVs which have done quite well here, and have just been (re)facelifted.

Peugeot’s revamped range of cars have been peppered with their new design direction, and with the from the ground-up new 508, their sedan edges closer to being a four-door coupe (think Volkswagen Arteon). Peugeot has done this by furnishing it with a smoother non-abrupt roofline, and frameless windows. With the reduced popularity of sedans, you can bet that there will be more to come that will be styled with a coupe-like silhouette. 

The radically new headlamp treatment, together with lion claw mark DRLs, form the brand’s new signature look. Carrying the theme at the rear, lion claw-themed brake lights, peer through smoked light lenses, whenever the brake pedal is depressed. If you are a fan of visuals, the rear lamp animation during the starting sequence is a treat for the eyes. As a nod to the past, all Peugeots now have their model badges in-front of their bonnets, which is one of my favourite design features.

Inside

With perhaps one of the more fancy-looking dashboard designs in its segment, the 508 shares a good amount of componentry with its 3008 and 5008 siblings. The banana-inspired gearshift lever with a button at its base, often seen in the group’s cars and the steering wheel with its quirky flat top and bottom also find their way into the car. What I do appreciate about the overall design of the dash, is that it is less complex than the ones found in the 3008 and its 7-seater sibling, which also means that there are less variables to result in a mis-aligned dash - in which the aforementioned early production SUVs suffered extensively from.

The 508 has a good quantity of tech and comfort goodies to offer, like an 8” screen fronting an infotainment system which supports both Apple and Android devices, a wireless phone charging pad that is neatly tucked away below the centre console, and piano key style buttons to toggle different infotainment functions. Since priority is given to left-hand drive production, the USB port that sits in the same area as the wireless charger is stationed on the left side.

The digitised instrument panel provides drivers with a few display options, but while this is all good, I realise that there is almost no way to adjust the driver’s seat to a comfortable sweet spot, where you are able to see all of the display. I often found myself peering over the top of the odd-shaped steering wheel to check my speed, since I would often see as much as just a third of the digits. Odd instrument panel placement aside, the 508 accommodates its passengers well, even at the rear, with its sloping roofline.

While I have been referring to the 508 as a sedan, it actually has a liftback style bootlid (like the Skoda Superb), technically making it a fastback. Boot space at 487 litres is marginally smaller than the Toyota Camry’s 493 litres, but is easily trumped by the Skoda Superb’s ginormous 625 litres… well just about every D segment sedan is beaten by the Czech offering.

The Drive

Currently, the Peugeot 508 is the only vehicle in the brand’s stable here powered by their more potent (and smoother) 1.6 litre engine, the rest of their range are equipped with their 3-cylinder 1.2 litre, which just barely qualifies them as Category A COE cars. 

The 508’s turbocharged four-cylinder 1.6 litre (saying this, the other D Segment car which comes to mind that has a “right-sized” engine is the Honda Accord with its 1.5 litre turbocharged unit) produces 181hp and 250Nm, and is paired to a dual-clutch 8 speed transmission. Apart from some minor jerks at car park speeds which is common with such gearboxes, on the run, the transmission switches cogs quickly and smoothly, ensuring that there is no power loss between gears. This translates to, a car that feels quite alive, be it in town traffic or when getting up to speed on the highway.

If I crane my neck, this is what I see at best. Perhaps the French have longer bodies then the rest of us.

The 508’s suspension has just the right amount of firmness in my books to provide an entertaining drive, especially around the bends, and while it is not intended as a performance car, I am impressed that there is hardly any body roll, and it drives without feeling harsh even on rougher road surfaces. To add to the quality of the drive, the front end feels far from heavy, making it easy to flick the “Pug” from one turn to the other. The quick steering adds to the car’s sharp responsiveness, however, that odd-shaped steering wheel on the other hand is not a very helpful tool.

Like most French cars, the 508 has comfortable and supportive Nappa leather seats, which are a huge plus especially for those who may have back problems or if you are one who clocks in the miles. As a little treat, both front seats are equipped with a series of massage functions, that includes my favourite ‘Cat Paw’ function, that replicates how you would get massaged by perhaps in this case, a lion.

Safety equipment includes lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. The car’s also features a forward collision warning system which relies on a forward-facing camera to monitor traffic conditions. The same camera is also part of the adaptive cruise control hardware. There is also a 180 degree rear camera that helps when you are backing the car into a parking lot. While it is useful, it is clearly not as good as those found in the Volkswagen Passat or Skoda Superb, since you can see where the imagery is stitched together, and the resolution is not as clear as I would have liked.

Our Thoughts

The Peugeot 508 is a unique offering, in a time where same-segment cars have been overlooked in-favour of the SUV. Its coupe-like silhouette sets it apart from the competition, and it might just win hearts. It is one of two D segment cars, offered with a liftback style boot for easier loading and unloading. While it is not near-perfect, it has plenty to offer.

In Summary

We Like

Well-equipped. Aggressive styling and lovely stance. Drives well. Comfortable seats.

We Don't

Bad instrument cluster placement. Odd-shaped steering wheel does not help with spirited driving. Rear camera picture quality could be much better.

Verdict

The Peugeot 508 looks as good as it drives, and the French have mostly gotten it right for how well equipped it is. Pity there was not enough thought put into the instrument cluster placement.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1598cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Bore x Stroke (77 x 85.8)mm
Power 179bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 1650rpm
Power to Weight 126.1 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 8.8s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 226 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 19.2 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed DCT
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4750 x 1680 x 1410) mm
Wheelbase 2800 mm
Kerb Weight 1420 kg
Boot Capacity 487 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 1537 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 62 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs