Low blow: how the Peugeot 508 won Irish Large Car of the Year

Low blow: how the Peugeot 508 won Irish Large Car of the Year

A universal “ooh la la” accompanied the unveiling of the new Peugeot 508 last year, as the French manufacturer transformed its flagship executive model from a straightforward, up-and-down 4-door saloon to a veritable crouching tiger of a low-slung coupé.

The new 508 is wonderful to look at – even better to drive – but it was mixing with some serious company in our Large Car of the Year category, up against big-hitters like the BMW 3 Series and Tesla’s dazzling new Model 3, to name but two.

French flair won the day, however, and at this year’s Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year awards, the Peugeot 508 was crowned Irish Large Car of the Year 2020. In our latest video episode, we asked ICOTY jurors Caroline Kidd and Leah Carroll to lift the lid on the 508 and tell us how the judging panel came to its conclusion.

Premium level design

“The judges were really impressed by the premium level design the 508 brings to the segment,” says Caroline, “It’s a really energetic and expressive design, with LED headlights, that beautiful chequered flag front grille, frameless windows and the number 508 on the bonnet that pays homage to some of Peugeot’s legendary saloon cars like the 504.

“Peugeot has been moving the brand upmarket in recent years and the new 508 is the best iteration of that move yet,” she says. “You can see it in the quality of the cabin which is really innovative and brings a premium level of design to what is still a very affordable car.

“The 508 also features the i-Cockpit which is unique to Peugeot, incorporating a compact steering wheel and above that a digital instrument panel with graphics that are so modern and contemporary – another feature the judges really liked,” Caroline adds. “The cabin of the 508 has a really sporty feel, in fact it feels like it wraps around you while everything just falls to hand.

“The 508 is really sporty,” Caroline says. “It comes with a range of petrol and diesel engines, all very efficient, as well as a plug-in hybrid option, so this is very much a car of the moment. There are also both manual and automatic gearboxes available. On the road, the 508 feels very agile and comfortable so it really meets the needs of buyers in the large car segment.”

Good for families too

“The 508 is a low-slung fastback which offers plenty of pace and keen style for many executive buyers,” says Leah Carroll. “Not only does it have excellent style outside and inside, but it also has huge interior [boot] space. With the seats up it’s got 500 litres, while with the seats down you can get up to 1500 litres of space inside. Not only that but it’s got a great plastic insert that makes it easy to clean as well as grip for any baggage or luggage you may have.

“The 508 faced stiff competition from the BMW 3 series, the Lexus ES, Toyota Camry as well as the Volvo S60 and Tesla’s Model 3,” Leah continues. “You can see from its executive design exactly where it’s taking the fight to, but not only that it does fit the family environment with all that interior space.”