2018 Peugeot 508 first drive: Alternative choice

The French have long had troubles with their big saloons – Peugeot’s new ploy is to try and turn the car into something else and trick us. Is it a saloon? A coupe? A hatchback? Well, at least it hasn't been turned into an SUV. 

So, the 508 stands out in its segment, but that might not necessarily be a good thing – the company car park is supposed to be a me-too line-up of conformity and conservative fashion. It’s been a long while since a non-German was able to break into that hegemony.

First impressions? 

Curiously it doesn’t even say Peugeot on the front of the car – you’ll have to rely on the zombie lion badge, 508 numerals and a bit of educated guesswork to get this puzzle solved. This certainly doesn’t look like any Peugeot you remember – the brand has been promising a lot with recent concept cars but they never really translated through to production. 

Peugeot admits that it’s an overtly design-led project – if you want a practical family wagon get yourself an SUV – and it’s low, sleek and petite in the metal. Put it next to a Ford Mondeo or a Vauxhall Insignia and they’ll both look like they need to hit the gym. But what actually is it? Of course Peugeot’s marketing and design teams will say it’s a four-door coupe, but the boot is a big old hatchback. Those delightful frameless doors lend the coupe claim a bit of credence, though.

The ruse mostly works – the new 508 looks great, offers an impressively high level of quality inside and plenty of toys. If it’s practicalit...