Peugeot hoping 508 can drive sales
The Peugeot 508 has a strong front design that you will either love or hate and now also comes in a station wagon to boot.
AT long last the Peugeot 508 has arrived. Such a pity it wasn't here a couple of months ago because I think it would have impacted in a fairly major way.
This is a different proposition altogether to the 407 it replaces with a strong front design that, I think, you will either love or hate. But at least it is not bland and 'safe' in its looks (not that the 407 was either, in fairness).
That is important these days, especially in this family/fleet sector where buyers can quickly switch allegiances.
The 508 is a big, big car with a lot of cabin space and a big range of equipment. Ex-works prices start at €24,850.
There are three trim levels -- Access, Active and Allure -- with two bodystyles (a saloon and estate). The entry level model is the 1.6-litre HDi (112bhp) Access with the top of the range 2-litre HDi (163bhp) automatic Allure costing €35,150.
One of the criticisms of the 407 was rear passenger space. This puts that right, while there is a noticeably bigger boot. Of course, you can fold the back seat and up goes your space significantly.
As I said, the entry level engine is a 1.6-litre diesel. The manual version and the 2-litre HDi (140bhp) -- with 6spd gearboxes -- both fall into the €156 road tax bracket. The 2-litre is a lovely engine.
I took it for a short drive around south Dublin on Monday. The 2-litre HDi (163bhp) automatic is in the €302 bracket. HYbrid4 technology is scheduled for next year.
This will help develop 200bhp and all-wheel drive but with just 99 g/km emissions.
Right now there is also a 1.6 eHDi (112bhp) stop-start engine with an electronically controlled Ecomatique gearbox (Band A, €104 road tax).
The manufacturer claims the stop-start system cuts fuel consumption by up to 15pc in city driving.
Standard equipment on all 508s includes six airbags, anti-whiplash head restraints, hill assist, traction control, ESP.
Peugeot claims the 508 has equipment advantages over key rivals such as the Ford Mondeo, Toyota Avensis, Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Octavia.
Oh yes, and it has a full-sized spare wheel.
Well, this was welcomed at the launch like it was a whole new breakthrough. That's because so many carmakers these days don't bother with one, opting instead to offer skinny-spares or, worse, sealant packages.
Peugeot insisted on the 'full Irish' because of our roads and because people using cars such as the 508 can put up enormous mileage and want the reassurance of a proper spare.
Speaking of enormous mileage, engineers completed two million-kilometre road tests under real life conditions in the 508 as part of its preparations.
Peugeot here says there has been a huge response to the car and it expects 15pc of sales to be station wagons. That must make it all the more galling for it that it is arriving so late in the sales year. But there is always next year to look forward to.