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2016 Peugeot 508 Active: Private Fleet Car Review.

It was a chalk and cheese moment to hop out of the razor sharp 308 GTi five door hatch and drop into the four door saloon that is the 508 Active. Here’s why.It’s a big car, the 508, at 4830 mm long. However, the wheelbase isn’t that much bigger, at 2817 mm (the GTi is 2620) meaning there’s a bit of overhang. It’s powered by a four cylinder turboed petrol, with 121 kW and 240 Nm of torque. The Active weighs 1410 kilos, meaning the torque is already up against it in regards to moving the 508. The six speed auto is ok, it’s not the smoothest nor the roughest auto around. Using the paddle shifts to have it drop down a gear during hill descents was required, as the transmissions held third or fourth without human intervention.The 508 also suffers from an accelerator pedal that feels as if nothing happens for the first inch or so of downwards travel and then suddenly enages all of the kilowatts available, rather than smoothly counting by the numbers. It has the disconcerting effect of lurching the 508 forward with an appreciable time frame between pressing and motion also apparent. When paused at an intersection this can make all the difference between a safe passage and a pucker moment. There’s Stop/Start tech on board, with the button to disable this in the 508 oddly hidden in the driver’s right knee area…Actual acceleration is smooth once over that hump, with a linear delivery as the 508 sees the ton in 8.9 seconds. For all that, you’ll expect consumption of under 5.0 litres per 100 km for the highway from the large 72L tank. Around town, Peugeot quotes 7.5L/100 km.The brakes have nowhere near the grip expected nor does the pedal have the response. Again, there’s appreciable travel before any sense of bite exists and retardation begins. Even the steering is numb and wooly, with a less than communicative feel to it. The 508’s nose consistently ran wide in T-Junction turns, indicating the ratio for steering isn’t quite ideal.This was noted in traffic, with a softish feel, a spongy feel, and not a lot of feedback. The ride on the 17 inch alloys, with 215/55 Michelin rubber (of course!), is soft, with no leaning towarsd a sporting style, however the damping is finely tuned so there’s no ongoing wallowing once through a series of road ripples.Although it’s the entry level model, with the Allure and GT being both diesel powered, there’s a fair swag of kit on board. Naturally there’s airbags all around, collapsible steering column and brake pedal, cruise control, speed sensitive power steering, rear sensors (no front on the Active), reverse camera, and heated exterior mirrors. There’s even a rear window sunblind, clipped manually to two anchor points in the roof. It misses out on Blind Spot Alert, Hill Start Assist, electric parking brake and four zone climate control.As mentioned, it’s a big car. There’s an 11.9 metre turning circle thanks to the 2817 mm wheelbase, a tidy 1828 mm width (sans mirrors) and stands 1456 mm high. Boot space is huge, at 497 litres, rising to over 1530 litres when the rear seats are lowered. Peugeot’s “claw” tail lights are a standout, bracketing a somewhat too narrow boot load lip, and there’s nicely integrated LED driving lights up front.At The End Of The Drive.
In a way, the 508 suffers from being in the same family as the 308 GTi. Compared back to back after experiencing the lightning fast in response, punchy as a Cassius Clay, five door hatch, the big sedan comes up short in the important of driving a car. The driving part. Yes, there’s a good array of standard features in the sole petrol powered entry in the three tier range but the lack of overall road manners brings the 508’s shortcomings into sharp focus.
To make up your own mind, click here: 2016 Peugeot 508 range