Tiny ticker’s no handicap
The 1.6-litre petrol motor is surprisingly effective in powering this medium size sedan, PETER BARNWELL writes.
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.