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PEUGEOT 508 RXH HYbrid4 107g/km Semi-automatic 6-speed

Peugeot 508 Saloon


Will It Suit Me?

When Peugeot’s 508 first arrived to replace the old 407, it was instantly one of those cars that turned heads. The years have mellowed things a little but the company’s hoping that minor updates will keep things current. Sitting on my drive recently, it was still creating quite an impression with my neighbours who were frantically twitching their curtains trying to figure out just what had landed.

It’s certainly different. The front end is especially nice, the sweeping lines of the long aluminium-crafted bonnet sweeping down to a proud Lion badge that close inspection reveals is sitting above a subtle ‘Peugeot’ script. One thing it’s not is boring and at first acquaintance it seemed a whole lot better screwed together than some Peugeot products I’d sampled.

Practicalities

The 508 may take up a lot of road but the passenger compartment isn’t the biggest in class. Yes, there’s room to swing a generously sized cat up front without doing too much damage to the soft furnishings but kneeroom in the rear isn’t overly generous, especially if a taller driver has bagged one of the front seats. Again, the styling has have taken priority over practicality when it comes to boot space, the stub tail preventing a truly big boot. The solution in this instance is to opt for the low slung 508 SW estate version which has plenty of room astern. Right from the outset, the investment in quality is manifest.

The fabric seating of our test car felt better and seemed of higher quality than many of the bargain basement leather trims fitted to upper-spec mid range saloons and the seats had both enough lateral grip and were comfortable enough. The steering wheel is trimmed in leather and the dashboard follows the trend for ‘waterfall’ centre consoles on which most of the major instruments are placed and sees a welcome move away from the rattly hard plastic ventilation and air conditioning controls that have blighted many Peugeots of yore. Quality is the over-rising theme with a centre console stylishly lacquered in black with highlight touches of chrome. The driver’s seat adjusts to every contour of your body.

And the level of fit and finish is on a par not only with mainstream rivals but even with German premium badged offerings from the compact executive sector.

Behind the Wheel

It feels plush and old-fashioned French to drive — which for me is a good thing. Peugeot offers two distinct front suspension systems on this model. Most 508s get a straightforward strut set-up, but to better handle its extra power, the flagship 204PS 2.2-litre variant retains the double-wishbone-type set-up from the old 407. With 0-60mph in 8.2s and copious torque, this, the grandest version, ought to offer the sportiest 508 drive — but it doesn’t.

PEUGEOT 508 RXH HYbrid4 107g/km Semi-automatic 6-speed

Though the non-negotiable provision of a 6-speed automatic that does without the latest slick-shifting double-clutch electronics is one explanation for this, the main reason why is weight. True, this top 508 is lighter than the old 407 V6 diesel it replaces, but its bigger engine and fancy suspension mean that it still must lug around 385lb more than the 2.0-litre diesel models, my preference amongst these being for the lower-powered 140PS version as here, you can have it with the lovely short-throw 6-speed manual gearbox denied to customers of the 163PS variant. So less is more in 508 land then?

Pretty much yes, a sentiment that also applies when considering the 112PS 1.6-litre HDi diesel models. One uses the PSA Group’s much heralded e-HDi technology with efficiency savings that are very welcome but which must be garnered in concert with the rather jerky EGC semi-automatic gearbox that Peugeot also insists that buyers of the 120PS 1.6-litre VTi petrol model must have. For these reasons, if your budget — or more likely, that of your company — restricts you to entry-level 508 motoring, I’d counsel you to specify a 112PS 1.6-litre variant in manual form.

Or, and this is I admit, a rather left-field choice, go for the 156PS 1.6-litre petrol turbo model. True, its 8.6s 0-60mph showing results in a set of efficiency figures that will cost you a little on your BIK paperwork, but no more there or at the pumps than the poorer performing 2.0 HDi 163PS auto version. If though, the issues of personal taxation and eco-friendliness are high upon your agenda, then you’ll probably be better off asking your dealer about the 200PS Hybrid4 diesel/electric drivetrain used in the RXH version of this car.

Value For Money

Prices kick off at around £19,000 for the entry-level petrol version. When stacked up against rivals from Ford, Mazda and Vauxhall, the price looks reasonable. The question is, would you put your hand in your pocket for one?

With the premium brands like BMW and Audi offering small cars in this price bracket, many potential customers are willing to sacrifice a bit of space in order to have that sprinkling of Teutonic fairy dust to plump up the resale values. Three years down the line, how much will your 508 be worth? It’s something you’ll need to factor into the equation when you make price comparisons.

PEUGEOT 508 RXH HYbrid4 107g/km Semi-automatic 6-speed
PEUGEOT 508 RXH HYbrid4 107g/km Semi-automatic 6-speed
PEUGEOT 508 RXH HYbrid4 107g/km Semi-automatic 6-speed

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