In recent times, the good old honest family saloon, once the flag bearer of many manufacturers, has been left in the shadows somewhat by a relatively new four wheeled-threat. Where once the Ford Mondeo et al. was the go-to choice for the average urban family, these days many are enticed by the SUV practicality and saloon/estate familiarity on offer from a crossover. Indeed, as recently as 2011, Renault took the decision to completely axe its long serving family saloon mainstay, the Laguna, from its UK line-up in an effort to reduce costs by cutting adrift some of its more ‘expendable’ models. A sign of the times, perhaps?
Possibly, but it certainly isn’t a trend being mirrored in all quarters. Another famous name from across the channel, Peugeot, far from turning its back on this slice of the market, has confirmed a 2014 refresh for its very own family favourite, the 508.
First unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the 508 was one of the first to carry the name of the company’s new ‘8’ generation. Four years on, and with aspiring glances being cast towards the premium end of the market, Peugeot’s latest refresh evokes a certain feeling of luxury not previously typical to the French brand.
As before, the new-look 508 will be available in three guises; the saloon, the estate or the hybrid powered RXH crossover. However, the face has received a significant makeover, with a new grille design, which now incorporates the Peugeot prancing lion at its centre, paving the way for all future models. Full LED headlamps, DRLs, indicators and fog lamps illuminate the front of the car, whose bonnet has also been redesigned and loses the curves of its predecessor.
Likewise, the 508’s interior has been given the premium touch courtesy of a 7” dashboard-mounted touch screen, de-cluttering the centre console of knobs and buttons, and a generally better quality finish in the trim and upholstery departments. Standard toys include keyless entry and starting, an automatic electric parking brake, automatic headlamp dipping, a JBL Hi-Fi plus optional blind spot sensors and reversing camera.
Power in the new 508 comes from a range of latest generation petrol and diesel engines, including the new 165bhp 1.6 litre THP petrol, mated to a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. The 163bhp 2.0-litre HDi Diesel option can also be combined with Peugeot’s HYbrid4 electric motor on the saloon and RXH models, sending and extra 37bhp to the rear wheels when selected from one of the four drive modes.
The forthcoming Moscow and Chengdu Motor Shows in August will be the places to be to get up close and personal with the new-look 508. The car has its European premier at the Paris Motor Show before UK sales start in September.