The French Luminary

Anyway, enough about that steamed non-sense. We're in the 21st century, and before we say our farewells to combustion and fuel, shall we celebrate a little bit first? What we have with us in this lovely tropical day is a 2016 Peugeot 508. The svelte sedan comes in at over a shade north of 2 million pesos, which isn't a lot considering that you get a lot of 'car' in return. Of course, at this price point you could get yourself top of the line versions of the Toyota Camry or the Honda Accord. Also, you could get those Japanese sedans with a V6 power plant and tons and tons of power, whereas the same amount of money for a Peugeot 508 will only buy you a 2-liter oil burner. A bit sad? Not really.

This is exactly where this luminary sedan shines. The high-pressure direct injection engine is quite responsive on Philippine roads, yet it returns unbelievable fuel economy. Sure, it will not pin you to your seat the way its gasoline V6 rivals will, but if you're an executive and you're seated at the back, why on Earth would you allow your chauffeur to do that to you? Besides, I fell asleep nicely at the rear for about an hour and a half. I had no complaints at the back, but some reclining seats would've been very welcome. 

"I WOULD SAY THAT IT IS ABOUT 45% QUIETER THAN THE DIESEL ENGINES THAT COME FROM MERCEDES-BENZ AND BMW."

I specifically love the interior of this car. Sure, it is showing some signs of age despite it being a face lifted model, but it is still quite nice to be in. There are a lot of French touches. I love how the gear lever looks like a Power Ranger's foot. The driver and front passenger seats offer great support. I could drive all day in this car and not feel my back hurt one bit, and this is largely due to the superior lumbar support. The seats aren't what I would call soft, snug would probably be the right word. The ride quality of the 508 is unmistakably European. It's planted, but a bit too stiff. A tinge more of softness from the shocks would be nice. 

"THIS FACE LIFTED VERSION HAS BEEN INJECTED WITH A LOT MORE TESTOSTERONE."

Driving the 508 is another thing. The first thing you'll notice is that the engine is quiet. You don't hear much of it from inside the cabin, which says a lot about the build quality of the Peugeot. However, once you step outside you'll realize that the engine really don't make a lot of noise. It's quite an achievement. I would say that it is about 45% quieter than the diesel engines that come from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The Peugeot engine sounds almost as silent as Audi's diesel engines. Does this have anything to do with Le Mans technology? Could be. Unless, I've drowned out the noise completely with the 9-speaker JBL stereo system. 

One of the things that I really loved about this car was the steering. I liked that it was precise and that it had weight. It adds to the already solid feel of the car, and it was something that I really appreciated. Now, as a general rule, I like buttons. I prefer buttons to touchscreen surfaces simply because seeing a lot of finger prints on the screen irritates me. Also, unless you've got chopsticks for fingers, pushing buttons is far more accurate than having to touch a screen that isn't made by Apple. Speaking of which, there's a slight problem with the infotainment system on the 508. It needs to be plugged to the computer for an upgrade because the system feels like it's got the weight of the world on its shoulders. The system also has its French quirks. The settings are never where you last left them and the computer is quite hard to skim through. 

The verdict? Well, it's all a matter of opinion, but I have always loved the 508 from the first time I drove it many years ago. I think that this face lifted version has been injected with a lot more testosterone, which is good for the men who want to drive one. It may not have the most beautiful lines, but it at least has the presence of a brooding hitman.

My favorite feature on the car is that it has a calculator on the on-board computer. I like it for two reasons. The first being that it is completely and utterly useless, and the second being that it's good for a game of trump cards. Does your car have a calculator? I thought so. I would've preferred some Brie cheese and wine instead. Another gripe I have with the car is the rearview camera. It works fantastically during the day, but it does not work at all at night. At nightfall the camera was darker than its paint job. Moving it around in reverse through tight spaces in the absence of light can be a bit tricky, but moving it forward with the adaptive LED headlights is a whole new world. 

"IF YOU HAVE THE CASH TO SPEND ON AN EXECUTIVE SALOON, WHY BUY THE SAME RUN-OF-THE-MILL CAR THAT EVERY SINGLE BOSS IN YOUR OFFICE DRIVES?"

After all, if you have the cash to spend on an executive saloon, why buy the same run-of-the-mill car that every single boss in your office drives? Don't be like them. If your beautiful wife loves you, and your kids think the world of you, and you're indispensable in your office - you need to drive a Peugeot 508. If they all think you're a jerk, well, c'est la vie!