Peugeot enters heavyweight ring

2011-11-18 14:08

Most drivers still cringe at the thought of a new Peugeot because of bad experiences with after-sale services, but the new 508 might just win back some hearts.

Launched earlier this year in Europe, the 508 has already sold 85 000 units, and its makers hope to move 500 models locally by next year.

The Koreans launched their Sonata last year to take on the big daddies of the sedan clique, and now Peugeot joins the fray to compete against the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C180. However, the French company says it’s in the market to take on the VW Passat, Volvo S60 and the Honda Accord.

It certainly looks the part in a sassy way. The lion logo rests subtly on the bonnet above the gaping grille, but the front-end doesn’t look as clunky as older models do. It’s streamlined, smooth and classy.

I particularly like the rear-end with the chrome strip on the bootlid and twin exhaust pipes. It’s a simple design, but less is more and it works on the 508.

The model comes with three engine variations: 1.6-litre, 2.0-litre, 2.2-litre and three trim levels: Active, Allure and the range-topping GT model. The engines are all mated to a six-speed gearbox.

Standard features in the range include cruise control, electric mirrors, auto-active headlights and wipers, rear-parking sensors and Bluetooth connectivity.

The entry-level 1.6-litre engine holds it’s own on the road. We drove it and the 2.2-litre around George and to the Wilderness in Western Cape. But the GT is something else though – it has more oomph whether cruising or giving it some pedal.

With adequate bells and whistles even in the entry-level model, it’s difficult not to be charmed. The quality materials and finishes are pure top class.

Not a new feature for the brand, the 508 comes with the heads-up display panel which slides up out of the dash behind the steering wheel. This one has been upgraded with a colour display of the speed the driver is travelling, navigation direction and the outside temperature. This is standard across all models.

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