Guilt-free luxury and performance | PEUGEOT 508 2.0L HDi ALLURE
Edited by eric tipan
Now that your promotion allows you to seek a higher-caste automobile and extra space, better performance are musts without the quantum leap in fuel expenses, let me tell you about this big cat whose bite is definitely better than its bark.
As hard as automakers try to make naturally aspirated, small displacement vehicles riveting to drive on open roads and spacious enough to rival compact executive sedans, these rides are pedestrian at best in two major aspects – performance and real estate. Sure, you get great fuel mileage (maybe 10 to 12 kilometers per liter even in the city) and a cabin that fits your small family of five but – and this is where we get a little profound – does it stir your emotions and make you want to keep on driving?
In the case of the Peugeot 508 2.0L HDi Allure, most definitely.
Even at first glance, there’s no mistaking the 508 for anything else other than a large family car. It comes with a sleek nose accentuated by two lines on both sides of the hood that come from the base of the A-pillar down to the front, which draws your attention to the understated grille and the famous lion logo of the French automaker.
Get used to people double-taking and trying to make out the brand, let alone pronounce it, as Peugeot is still fairly new in the market.
The crowning glory of the façade is the 508’s full LED technology headlamps that look just as good as they perform. Brighter and more energy-efficient than xenon and halogen lamps, these adjust to the driving conditions. Set it to Auto and, if the vehicle is travelling at less than 40kph, the beam lights up the inside of an oncoming corner for increased visibility.
Move along the sides and you’ll notice that it carries a bulbous shape that forms a shoulder at the base of the C-pillar to give emphasis on the taillights that wrap around the rear fenders. The sides and the rear overall shape actually reminds me of executive sedans of old – think of 2006 to 2011 – but Peugeot has its own unique take on it that makes the 508 a little different.
Under the hood is Groupe PSA’s (Peugeot, Citroen, DS Automobiles) 2.0L HDi (high-pressure direct injection) diesel engine with 163 horsepower and 300Nm of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode that can be accessed using the paddle shifters right behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Normal mode feels lively enough and already brings an ample amount of power for common overtaking scenarios. As the default setting, it comes with the perfect combination of fuel economy and performance. Eco mode makes the 508 feel a tad sluggish and slow to react so unless you’re running on fumes, best to leave the door open for this option.
Now if it’s excitement you seek, switch to Sport mode and by the audial cue alone, you’ll feel – rather, hear – tones like that of a V6. To prep the engine, it automatically sets on the lower gear, thus the gurgling sound, making the response to throttle input much more instantaneous and abrupt.Peugeot’s long heritage in racing could be one of the reasons for the 508’s real-feel steering. It doesn’t do much to mask what the road gives you – a little less comfort and more stark reality to make sure you.
Inside is a mix of high-tech and luxury aboard the 508 2.0 HDi Allure. There’s a bunch of buttons and dials to deal with at first, and it took a lot of my willpower to curb curiosity on the fly. The leather seats are highly comfortable, and got me in great driving position. It is electronically adjustable, and even has lumbar support for those long hours in traffic.
It comes with an awesome-sounding JBL hi-fi kit nine-speaker audio setup controlled by a seven-inch touchscreen that doubles as a backup monitor, although the rear camera seems to have very little low- light sensitivity, making it hard to discern dark corners in basement parking lots. There’s Bluetooth and USB connection, but what’s sorely lacking are little cubbyholes for gadgets and mobile devices for front-seat occupants.
Peugeot responded to complaints regarding the small trunk size of its predecessor, the 407, making the 508’s considerably bigger although it seems to have taken away some space from the cabin.
Don’t get me wrong – it is not cramped, but I expected just a bit more legroom based on the 508’s dimensions.
Most of what you see on the 508 also comes in other models of its class. What does set it apart is its performance and efficiency, beginning with the confident stride each time the accelerator is stroked, from an engine undersized in its category and a frugal fuel consumption of nine kilometers per liter in combined city and highway driving.
The swanky interior, modern amenities, large trunk, high-end performance, and impressive range do come with a P2.190 million price tag. If your current status begs for an executive-level vehicle amid rising fuel costs, pick the one that won’t punish you for harnessing every bit of its potential – the one that can provide all of the above minus the guilt trip because you’re spending P1,000 on fuel every two days. Get yourself behind the wheel of the Peugeot 508 2.0L HDi Allure.
Positives: Superb 2.0L common-rail direct diesel engine, spacious trunk
Negatives: Rearview camera is practically useless in dark basement parking facilities