First drive: 2019 Peugeot 508 in the UAE
The 2019 Peugeot 508 has finally made its way to the UAE and other GCC markets since it was officially revealed at last year’s Paris Motor Show in October. The reason for the slight delay is apparently because Peugeot has been testing the cars in this region to address any reliability issues. That’s good news from a brand that became synonymous with cars that didn’t go more than a few years before they were given up on, including us when we owned a Peugeot 307 XSi a decade ago.
Before our drive, we got a chance to have a look at the car in Peugeot’s boutique store in Yas Mall. The shop features Peugeot merchandise and can set up test-drives. Plans are already in motion to open similar mall-based stores in Dubai.
The Peugeot 508 is a good-looking car, following the fastback or “4-door coupe” design language but in an accessible price range. Hence it gets the sloping roof design, frameless doors and a liftback boot-lid. Some design highlights include “snake teeth” LED lights in the front, while the rear has “claw” LED taillamps enclosed in their now trademark glossy black strip running across the boot. These lights have adaptive intensity throughout the night and day so they are always visible.
Things get interesting inside, thanks to the digital instrument cluster which can be personalised to your liking. The centre console features a bunch of switches under the touchscreen to mainly access comfort features. The air-conditioning did well on a fairly warm day, which may have not been the case in older models. Peugeot said one of their key metrics during testing in this region was the a/c performance.
Cabin legroom is fine, but taller folks sitting in the back may feel the sloping rear window is encroaching on their headroom.
Under the hood, we won’t be getting the Euro-market 180 hp or 225 hp 1.6-litre turbo engines that come with an 8-speed automatic. Instead, the older engine has been carried over from the previous model, which is a 165 hp 1.6-litre turbo, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. While it is adequate, the specs fall short of every other midsize sedan in the segment. Peugeot says they picked the older motor for its reliability, although we suspect keeping this European-built car within a certain price-point was a factor as well.
However, cabin quietness is better than most cars in its class. Wind noise creeps up slightly only at speeds above 100 kph.
The 508’s suspension setup is slightly on the firmer side. The steering has a nice weight to it, which further firms up if driven in “Sport” mode. There is a slight body roll during spirited turns, with the tyres providing sufficient grip. We always felt Peugeots have traditionally good handling and this one is no different.
Peugeot has packaged the 508 well, with several premium standard features. The French carmaker is aiming to be slightly more premium than the usual midsize sedan crowd but within the budgetary reach of those customers. Overall, the Peugeot 508 definitely has some interesting ingredients to carve its niche in a very competitive segment.
For prices and specs, visit the Peugeot 508 buyer guide.
Photos by Peugeot Middle East.