I never did pay much attention to Peugeots until I stumbled upon a review of the 3008 on TV. The part that really impressed me most was of the driver’s cockpit which I thought resembled an F16 fighter jet’s cockpit that wraps around the pilot allowing easy reach of the controls.
Being the curious type, I actually visited the local showroom to get a closer look. To my surprise, they were quite interesting and a big improvement from the previous Peugeots.
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Joining The Rennaisance
I had recently closed down my auto detailing centre and was actually looking at selling cars again. When the Sales Manager mentioned that he was recruiting, I immediately signed up and reported for duty the following day.
I knew that Peugeots are really good and practical cars but I didn’t see them as being one bit exciting. I knew that the only chance I had of selling them was to get people in for a test drive. They really had to experience the new Peugeots and I had to sell on emotions. That strategy worked and in my first month, I secured a few sales from customers who believed in the build quality and driving experience more than the brand appeal.
Then, one day, something happened. We received a new batch of inventory and one really caught my eyes; the uber-sexy 2-seater RCZ sports coupe. It had such beautiful curves and it helped bring people to our showroom. Many actually thought that it was either an Italian or German sports car. Unfortunately, it lacked the power and torque that it deserved.
Shortly after the arrival of the RCZ, we received another shipment of cars. This time they were the much-anticipated 508 which was a complete remake of its predecessor, the 507. It was very refreshing to see what the French builder was really capable of achieving.
It didn’t just have that appealing presence but it was also powered by an impressive 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine that produced 156 hp and an impressive 240 Nm torque, more than enough for this mid-sized executive sedan. Incidentally, they shared the same engine with the Mini Cooper.
As good a car as it was though, the 508 didn’t exactly make a dent in its market segment which I’d attribute to the lack of confidence Bruneians had for the Peugeot brand. I would occasionally ask my friends, family and acquaintances what their perception was of Peugeots and the same answer kept popping up; “they keep getting piggy-back rides on vehicle transporters, parts are more expensive and there’s usually a long wait for the parts to arrive.”
A Fantastic Effort
The local dealer finally seemed to listen and decided that they’d been sitting on the sidelines for far too long. They wanted that to change that.
Recently, I came across an interesting campaign on their Instagram account. The ad copy read “Just as soon as you have checked in your car for maintenance or servicing, we can send you back anywhere within Brunei *FREE with our Peugeot DePause Shuttle Service.”
I could be wrong here but I can’t recall seeing any car dealership publicly making such an offer. If they succeed, we could just be seeing more French Lions roaming our roads. All they need to address now are the piggyback and parts issue.
Crème De La Crème, S’il Vous Plaît
I’m sure some of you may already know that Peugeot had recently launched their latest version of the 508. If you missed it, you can watch a short description of it here. With more people opting to get into SUVs these days, it seems to be Peugeot’s arsenal to capture some market share in the mid-size executive sedan segment which is mainly dominated by Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and Volkswagen.
The front end will remind you of the Kia Optima and the Honda Accord but that striking embossed chequered chrome grille design and the prancing lion instantly gives it away as a Peugeot. At the back, the full LED ‘claw-effect’ rear lights really makes it stand out from the rest.
Judging from the large 508 above the grille, PSA Peugeot is particularly proud of this achievement. Definitely, a milestone for them as the last time they did that was over thirty years ago on the 504.
The new 508 now comes in the form of a fastback with frameless doors that accentuate the coupé inspired design. The lowered, more dynamic shape with the aggressive front end certainly gives it an aggressive and muscular appearance.
Combine the above with the swooping lines, the low roofline and chiseled body, you’ve got a recipe that could cause a stir in the market.
Judging from the many YouTube reviews I’ve seen on the latest 508 we’re set for a big surprise. All of the reviewers seem to be very impressed with the design, layout and the superior quality of the materials and workmanship. And, they have every reason to be!
It contains the three main characteristics of the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit;
- the compact, full grain leather trimmed steering wheel,
- a large 10-inch capacitive touchscreen angled towards the driver, and
- a 12.3-inch head-up digital instrument panel.
It also features i-Cockpit Amplify, which enables the driver to choose between two levels of ambiance – “Boost” and “Relax”.
Interior space is also very spacious and should be sufficient to comfortably seat 4 adults. However, being a coupé, anyone sitting in the back seat over 5 ft. 10 in. will experience their heads touching the roof liner.
Boot space is an impressive 487 liters which is an increase of 14 liters from the previous version. The seats can be folded down flat should you need more space, giving you a total load space of a whopping 1,537 litres.
The 508 promises to be a good performer and will offer a range of two turbocharged petrol and three turbocharged diesel engines with a power range of between 130 to 225 hp.
We can expect to see them here with the 1.6-litre turbo Puretech engine that produces 180 hp/250 Nm which is good for a 0-100 km/hr of 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/hr.
Should the 508 GT be available, it would be powered by the same 1.6-litre engine but tuned for more power rated at 225 hp/300 Nm bringing it from 0-100 km/hr in 7.3 seconds with a top speed of 250 km/hr.
Both variants will be driven by the 8-speed sequential automatic transmission from Aisin. Combined fuel economy is quite respectable at 5.4 l/100 km for the 180 hp engine and 4.7 l/100 km for the 225 hp one.
It’s based on PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, shared also with the 3008 and 5008, which is a big improvement from the previous generation 508 which sat on PSA’s older PF2 platform.
The shared platform setup will ultimately mean greater cost savings in producing the related models as well as the improved availability of replacement parts.
This means that it weighs less as the base chassis is now 70 kgs lighter (at 1,395 kg) than its predecessor. The suspension geometry is also more sophisticated; stiffer with more rigidity. What all this means is that the ride will be more refined and cornering dynamics will be greatly improved.
All 508s will be installed with MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link suspension setup at the rear, improving comfort and agility. Both front and rear suspensions come anti-roll bars installed.
Peugeot has always put heavy emphasis on not just occupant safety but pedestrian safety as well. Here are some of the standard features you’ll find in all new 508s; six airbags, three ISOFIX points, and automatic emergency braking.
They can also be equipped with an impressive group of advanced driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control with stop and go function, automatic high-beam for the lights, active blind spot detection, lane positioning assistance, and road sign recognition.
One of them is a night vision system, a first to the D-segment, that utilises an infrared camera. This will make it easier for detecting pedestrians at night and will definitely improve visibility, especially when you encounter areas with poor visibility conditions.
And Then This Pounced In
Just when I thought things were exciting enough, Peugeot decided to raise the bar again. In early June, they unveiled an estate version dubbed the 508 SW and for a long-time fan of long and low station wagons (it’s true, I really do love them) I instantly was in Cloud 9!
Everything’s pretty much the same except for it’s 30 mm longer, almost 200 mm taller and has almost 40 litres more luggage space than the sedan. With all the rear seats down, there are 1,780 litres of space available.
And did I mentioned it looks gorgeous from all angles; long, low rooflines and a wide, sporty stance.
I am absolutely sure when I say that owning a Peugeot car is an acquired taste and up until now, they have predominantly been purchased by a small, elite group of individuals.
Having said that, I can state with certainty that with the more aggressive design language, the improved build quality and the ingenious technologies presented in the latest Peugeot 508 and 508 SW, we might just see that scenario change entirely.
Couple that with their effort to improve ownership experience through bold after sales campaigns such as the DPAUSE Peugeot Shuttle Service, I do believe their revival as a premium car brand can be achieved. Do you agree?
I’ll share more details on the 508 SW soon so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.