TAKE a good look at our latest motor on test and I am sure you will agree it is a good looking vehicle – but it is also a car which you will not see very often on our roads.

That is because it is a big Peugeot, which have not sold here in large numbers since the 1980s, and also because the company is not planning to send many to their UK dealers.

Now that is a shame as it is a great car – but also a bonus if you want a stylish large saloon which will stand out from the usual German-dominated executive car crowd.

In fact it is so good the 508 made it onto the shortlist for the Northern Group of Motoring Writers Car of the Year and yours truly got to take a black GT version along to the recent judging day in North Yorkshire.

My 508 was up against some good opposition for the trophy from the Renault Alpine 110, Volvo V60, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla and all electric Kia Nero.

So what makes this big Peugeot so good? Well the radical styling inside and out speaks for itself with stand-out features like dramatic LED lights front and back and a low sporty profile from any angle.

Then there is the standard kit list which includes Peugeot’s raised instrument binnacle which sits above the small steering wheel, to be more in the driver’s line of sight, and is digital so can display a wide range of information at the flick of a switch – also customizable with a choice of dials and readouts.

Despite our GT version only having a 1598cc four cylinder petrol engine turbocharging means it puts out 225bhp so that in sport mode the car can hit 62 in 7.3 seconds and go on to a top speed of 155.

But despite its size that performance does not cost the earth at the pumps as Peugeot claim the eight-speed auto 508 can return up to 47mpg – which seems reasonable as I managed around 40mpg on the round trip to Settle, despite some sporty driving on the twisty bits.

Amongst the toys to be enjoyed are adaptive cruise control, a hands free power tailgate (which actually works without you needing to be a contortionist), brake energy recapture, active sports suspension, 19” alloy diamond cut alloy wheels, reversing camera, an easy to use sat nav/DAB radio system with 10” touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, stylish heated electric leather seats and a long list of safety features.

In other words everything you would expect in a £50k Merc or BMW but here the price tag for the GT version is £36,420 – still a lot of cash but then this is a lot of car for a lot less than you would pay for the equivalent from other manufacturers. And the GT is a true grand tourer, comfortable, powerful and fun to drive.

The 508 range starts from £25,560 for the entry level Active version which still boasts a good level of equipment including an 8” touchscreen, smart alloy wheels and connected sat-nav.

So is the 508 a winner? Well we will have to wait until a little later in the year to discover what myself and my motoring group colleagues have voted top dog.

But after getting behind the wheel of all six finalists I have to say the big Peugeot is a very strong contender and could well come out on top when things like practicality, price and desirability are taken into account.

More info at www.peugeot.co.uk

By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth