Peugeot 508 RXH

May 2012

picture of car from the front

Stylish exterior adds a rugged element to the 508 Estate donor car

Ratings

Overall Rating 6Overall rating

Value for money Rating 6Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 6Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 6Controls and display

Comfort Rating 7Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Modern, progressive design, particularly in estate form
  • Cabin is spacious, sensibly laid out and well specified
  • Diesel-electric system is a bold move by Peugeot
  • Fine ride with capable handling

Gripes

  • Infotainment screen menus could be more intuitive
  • Promised economy doesn't materialize in the real world
  • Powertrain refinement could be better
  • Off-road style hybrid only available in estate bodystyle

French car makers are well know for their fondness for diesel power. Until very recently, the various brands lead the market in economical motoring. With rival firms having caught up, companies like Peugeot have had to become more inventive. And with hybrids becoming popular, combining diesel and electric power seemed natural, hence the 508 RXH.

In contrast to the many petrol-electric cars on the market, diesel-electric hybrids are rare as companies focus on the more lucrative North American and Japanese territories and their enthusiasm for petrol power. To carve out a niche in Europe, Peugeot has chosen the diesel hybrid route.

Peugeot's hybrid technology consists of a modular system, allowing it to power numerous cars. Alongside the 3008, the 508 RXH boasts a diesel engine and electric motor providing assistance and offering electric-only running for short periods.

Curiously Peugeot's powertrain includes an all-wheel drive option, which explains the 508 RXH's rugged exterior. In a bid to tap into the interest that surrounds Audi's rugged allroad sub-brand, the 508 RXH boasts an elevated ride height and bash-proof exterior trim.

This 508 isn't a genuine off-roader though, and is more at home on wet roads and rutted fields than halfway up a mountain. But it does tick the fashionable lifestyle box, and could prove an interesting alternative to a full-on SUV for some.

Our verdict on the Peugeot 508 RXH

Peugeot has taken a gamble with the 508 RXH, as the firm isn't well know for producing premium lifestyle cars, let alone forging ahead with diesel-electric hybrid technology. As such the 508 proves to be a mixed bag; the official economy figures are hard to match, powertrain refinement could be better and its price tag is on the high side.

Costs
Costs rating 6

The potential savings available from the RXH's hybrid powertrain need to be offset by the car's premium-level asking price as real world performance isn't always impressive. Still, being a flagship model it is well equipped - and better than its many rivals.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

In estate car guise the 508 RXH offers users a good level of space in the back - especially with the rear seats folded. Up front the car easily accommodates adults, although back seat passengers will be looking for a little more legroom.

picture of car from the rear

Practical estate body adds a versatile dimension to the 508 RXH

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 6

The dashboard layout of the 508 is straightforward and easy to understand, with the main control for the screen located down by the gearlever and other controls on the fascia. However, the infotainment menu system could be more intuitive.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 7

Aside from the occasional engine and electric motor noise intrusion the cabin is a relatively refined environment. Supportive seats and a good level of occupant space help justify the car's price tag.

Car security
Security Rating 7

All 508 models are fitted with an approved alarm, deadlocks and an immobiliser, while the estate variants also gain a sturdy load cover to keep out prying eyes.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

It's all standard issue kit here, with the RXH benefiting from numerous airbags and a good level of electronic stability trickery. The hybrid powertrain also boasts an all-wheel drive mode, which could be useful in slippery conditions.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 6

The 508 RXH is a slightly different beast to a regular 508, as the clutchless manual transmission requires a little finesse to ensure smooth gearshifts. Also the routine switching from diesel to electric power isn't terribly subtle, although performance is good and ride comfort is on par with other Peugeots. Overall the experience could be more polished.

picture of car interior

Interior is spacious, well-built and comfortable

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 8

If an MPV or similar vehicle doesn't appeal, the 508 RXH might prove an interesting alternative. There's no questioning its versatility and available space, although the car's plush interior might not be appropriate for young children

First car appeal
First car Rating 4

The 508 RXH is unlikely to feature on the wish lists of new drivers, even though it is handsome and good to drive, as it's something of a left-field choice when superminis and family hatchbacks might be kinder on the finances.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 6

After a few years of producing average cars Peugeot has started to become more adventurous. This RXH variant is a product of Peugeot's diesel-electric hybrid project, providing an interesting alternative to the increasing number of petrol-electric rivals. Only time will tell if the gamble will have paid off.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

With long doors both front and rear the 508 RXH offers good sized apertures for people getting into the car, although it is worth noting that the sloping roof line does mean rear seat passengers need to duck a little more whilst climbing aboard. Thanks to the slightly elevated ride height, the car's rear load deck is easy to access.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

RXH specification includes a top spec infotainment system, with the main functions accessed through the central colour screen. Navigation could be more intuitive and some important features are buried in the various menus.

picture of car in detail

Diesel-electric powertrain promises above average economy

Colours and trim

This 508 looks smart in the more upmarket metallics, which do much to reflect the car's premium price point. The extra exterior body trim also adds a rugged look. It's the same inside, as the 508 hybrid model boasts a plush cabin as befits its status in the 508 range.

Parking

In estate car guise the RXH is reasonably easy to park, thanks to good visibility fore and aft. Parking sensors and plenty of steering assistance help to keep the driver workload to a minimum.

Spare wheel

Tyre mobility system included.

 

Range information

Diesel engine options - 2.0-litre plus electric motor (163bhp). Transmission options: Six-speed semi- automatic gearbox. Trim levels: one trim level.

 

Alternative cars

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer Conventional Insignia aims to deliver premium experience

Ford Mondeo Estate Spacious mid-range staple does most things right

Volkswagen Passat Estate Passat is refined, spacious and economical in diesel guise

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid Classy 508 rival is better engineered but more expensive



Over 1,200 more car reviews online

All the reports since 1990 are available on this site, just search by make and model below.

Step 1 > Select make Alfa Romeo    Aston Martin    Audi    Austin    BMW    Bentley    Cadillac    Caterham    Chevrolet    Chrysler    Citroen    Daewoo    Daihatsu    Dodge    Ferrari    Fiat    Ford    Honda    Hyundai    Isuzu    Jaguar    Jeep    Kia    Lada    Lamborghini    Lancia    Land Rover    Lexus    Lotus    MG    MINI    Maserati    Mazda    Mercedes-Benz    Mitsubishi    Nissan    Perodua    Peugeot    Porsche    Proton    Renault    Rolls-Royce    Rover    SEAT    Saab    Skoda    Smart    Smart Car    Ssangyong    Subaru    Suzuki    Toyota    Vauxhall    Volkswagen    Volvo    Yugo   

 

May 2012