Tiny ticker’s no hand­i­cap

The 1.6-litre petrol mo­tor is sur­pris­ingly ef­fec­tive in pow­er­ing this medium size sedan, PETER BARN­WELL writes.

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

PEU­GEOT’S smaller ca­pac­ity/higher ef­fi­ciency en­gine pro­gram is gath­er­ing mo­men­tum with the lat­est ben­e­fi­ciary be­ing its medium size 508 Ac­tive sedan ($37,990), which now has the lat­est gen­er­a­tion 1.6 turbo petrol four-cylin­der un­der the bon­net com­plete with a strin­gent Euro 6 emis­sions rat­ing.

The idea of a 1.6-litre en­gine pow­er­ing a car this weight and size seems a tad op­ti­mistic but all it takes is a mo­ment be­hind the wheel to al­lay any fears in that re­gard. UN­DER THE BON­NET

The en­gine is a hi-tech unit shared with BMW and other pres­tige Euro­pean man­u­fac­tur­ers and is good for 121kW/240Nm in the 1410kg 508 Ac­tive sedan.

That’s plenty to move the big­gish Pug with pur­pose, es­pe­cially given most of the car’s avail­able torque (pulling power) is de­liv­ered just above idle speed.

Peu­geot has done it with tech­nol­ogy in­clud­ing di­rect fuel in­jec­tion and vari­able cam tim­ing, along with in­ter­nal fric­tion min­imi­sa­tion and over­all ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments to the en­gine.

It re­ally doesn’t mat­ter be­cause you can’t tell what’s un­der the bon­net any­way — all is smooth and quiet.

You push the throt­tle, the car goes, push the brakes it stops. Sim­ple. KIT

The 508 has been through a mid-model re­vi­sion with mi­nor styling tweaks in­side and out and other changes.

The lo­cal im­porter has tried to off­set any price rises through ad­di­tional equip­ment with some suc­cess as even the base model Ac­tive test driver had a six-speed auto with pad­dle shift, cruise con­trol, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, elec­tric boot re­lease, LED lights, re­verse cam­era, sat­nav, large in­fo­tain­ment touch screen, par­tial leather up­hol­stery, park as­sist, pollen fil­ter, trip com­puter, auto lights and wipers and pre­mium au­dio. COM­PE­TI­TION

Gen­er­ous, yes but the car comes up against some se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion from Asian man­u­fac­tur­ers with equiv­a­lent ve­hi­cles priced lower.

Peu­geot once had an edge in the “drive­abil­ity’’ stakes but that was in the past; now it’s a level play­ing field.

Hav­ing said that, driv­ing the 508 is a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence on a num­ber of lev­els — per­for­mance, smooth­ness, luxury, in­te­rior room. No com­plaints what­so­ever. It’s not that far away from a Com­modore in terms of in­te­rior room, tak­ing five adults with ease — and their lug­gage in the large boot. DRIV­ING

Per­for­mance is never an is­sue, even fully laden, though fuel econ­omy suf­fers a tad in this ap­pli­ca­tion. We saw the claimed 5.6-litres/100km eas­ily in mixed, steady driv­ing but it’s pre­mium un­leaded. Auto stop start saves a bit in heavy traf­fic sit­u­a­tions.

The drive feel is typ­i­cally Peu­geot — a well cal­i­brated blend of com­fort and con­trol. But it’s no sporty sedan — that would be the GT model in turbo diesel only.

We like the looks of it, par­tic­u­larly the smart in­te­rior styling, but find the ex­te­rior, es­pe­cially in cer­tain colours, overly con­ser­va­tive to the point where the car tends to dis­ap­pear in a crowd — some­thing we sus­pect Peu­geot buy­ers wouldn’t be look­ing for. VER­DICT

Flavour of France in a prac­ti­cal, well equipped pack­age. Fairly bor­ing to look at, goes well, plenty of kit. Three stars out of five.

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