Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



First drive: Peugeot 508 Hybrid. Image by Peugeot.

First drive: Peugeot 508 Hybrid
French manufacturer Peugeot adds a PHEV to the handsome 508 and 508 SW line-up.

   



<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> Peugeot reviews

Peugeot 508 Hybrid

4 4 4 4 4

Peugeot has plenty of smooth, frugal petrols and lusty turbodiesels available in its striking 508 fastback and estate SW family, but of course you're not an eco-conscientious automaker these days unless you've got a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) among your ranks. So here it is: the 225hp 508 Hybrid. Is this now the pick of this gorgeous French machine's range?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line
Pricing: 508 range from 26,030; Hybrid GT-Line from 36,680 as tested
Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol with 80kW electric motor and 11.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Transmission: front-wheel drive, e-EAT8 eight-speed electric automatic
Body style: five-door fastback plug-in hybrid
CO2 emissions: 29g/km (VED Band 1-50 Alternative Fuel Cars: 0 first 12 months, then 135 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 217.3mpg, electric range c.34 miles
Top speed: 149mph (Hybrid mode, 84mph Electric mode)
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Power: petrol 180hp at 6,000rpm, electric 110hp at 2,500rpm, system maximum 225hp
Torque: petrol 300Nm at 3,000rpm, electric 320Nm at 500-2,500rpm, system maximum 360Nm
Boot space: 487-1,537 litres

What's this?

The PHEV version of the 508, even though its name of 'Hybrid' (stylised 'HYbrid' on Peugeot's own badging, with the 'HY' bit in dichroic colours) doesn't actually suggest any plug-in capabilities. But they are there: look closely at the 508 Hybrid's flanks and you'll see there's a 'fuel' filler cap on each of the rear wings. For reference, it's the left-hand one which accepts volts and the right-hand one which'll take petrol. Please don't get these mixed up if you buy this particular 508, eh?

Visually, apart from those filler flaps and the colour-shifting badgework, the only other external giveaway to the PHEV's nature is a cyan blue light which shines forward from the interior mirror when the car is running in zero-emissions (ZE) Electric mode. Inside, you'll probably more easily spot the lovely two-tone Alcantara seat upholstery and a load of extra hybrid-electric-related displays/information graphics in both the i-Cockpit ten-inch digital cluster and the main infotainment screen on the dashboard, but other tiny clues are the 'B' on the crooked gearlever for the electrically optimised e-EAT8 gearbox, this B altering the retardation of the regenerative braking, and also a little 'lightning bolt' piano-key button just below the aforementioned infotainment monitor. Other than that, this cabin is exactly the same as that in any other 508, which means it is lovely to behold and feels like a high-quality item when you're operating its switchgear. Oh, and the 508's EMP2 platform was already prepped for electrification, so you don't lose any passenger or boot space whatsoever when compared to plain petrol or diesel models (but you do lose your spare wheel, in favour of a tyre-inflation kit).

You can have your 508 Hybrid as either the fastback, which is what we've tested here, or the sublime SW wagon. The PHEV isn't available at the 508 range's base specification of Active, so you'll need an Allure, GT-Line or top-grade GT to enjoy this petrol-electric goodness. On the technical front, the Hybrid teams the 180hp version of the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine to a front-mounted 80kW (110hp) e-motor, plus an 11.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the boot floor, with all drive sent to the front wheels via the e-EAT8 transmission. Charging times are less than two hours on a 7kW home wallbox unit, although you need to tick an option to fit an onboard 7.4kW charger to the Hybrid - otherwise it'll only charge at 3.7kW - and there is no facility for rapid 50- or 150kW replenishment of the battery. However, even WLTP-ratified, the Peugeot is claimed to return in excess of 217mpg economy, while just emitting 29g/km of CO2, and its quoted all-electric range is around 34 miles.

It's therefore a very tempting proposition to fleet buyers/company users, but maybe also to families and private individuals who can regularly charge their PHEV and get the most from its petrol-electric set-up. Therefore, perhaps the biggest obstacle to this Pug's roaring success or otherwise is its price. At Allure and GT-Line spec, where the comparable 180hp petrol 508 is also available, adding the Hybrid's electrical kit chucks another 4,250 onto the price tag, meaning the cheapest 508 Hybrid Allure starts at 34,930 and comes in at nearly 37 grand for this GT-Line. And if you want a GT, as your PHEV has the same output of the flagship 225hp 1.6 petrol version and you might be in for a spot of hybrid-one-upmanship, then there's a 3,625 premium on the 1.6 GT's 37,005 basic list. Which, if you're good at maths, pushes the ultimate 508 Hybrid beyond the dreaded 40,000 marker, resulting in a 455 annual VED bill all the way from your second year of ownership until your sixth. And money isn't all the Hybrid adds to the 508 package, either...

How does it drive?

Weight. The answer to our previous, er, cliffhanger, is 'weight'. The 508 Hybrid is fully 280 kilos portlier than an equivalent-spec petrol with the 180hp powerplant. So while the Hybrid, as already hinted, matches the previously unchallenged top-dog 508 for power (the 225hp petrol GT) - and neatly eclipses that car for torque with a peak of 360Nm - the extra bulk in its frame blunts its performance by more than half-a-second for the 0-62mph sprint, when compared to the 225hp plain 1.6. In reality, though, the straight-line performance gap between the two feels even wider than that, and the mass of the 508 Hybrid is particularly noticeable during cornering.

Where the 225hp 1.6 GT feels lively and alert, the 225hp 508 Hybrid feels a bit leaden and unresponsive. It's not bad, by any means, as body control still keeps the car pretty flat through faster corners and the steering is reasonably direct, but there's less eagerness from the nose to get itself turned into sharper bends and you can sense the heft of the electrical magubbins when you're trying to enact quick direction changes; also, the usual lament of chunky cars, the braking is noticeably affected, doubly so in this car's case by the regen requirements of the system.

So if you're buying the 508 Hybrid because you want a frisson of the old Peugeot chassis magic, you're better off looking at non-electrically-adorned models of the handsome Frenchie's line-up. Thankfully, though, the Hybrid rescues itself from oblivion by being exceptionally refined. Our test car had adaptive dampers, which form part of the Drive Modes (more in a sec), and the ride quality was never anything less than superb. Ditto the suppression of unwanted contributors to noise in the passenger compartment, as about the loudest thing on the 508 Hybrid is the 1.6-litre engine any time you ask for more than 4,000rpm... so, as its top-end performance feels a bit lacklustre, and as the car is at its most elegant and stupefying in its close-to-silent Electric drive mode, the general mechanical refinement of this PHEV is its core USP. If you can regularly use that electrical ability on the Peugeot, and you aren't taken to tearing up mountain roads on an infrequent basis, this is definitely the 508 for you.

We mentioned the Drive Modes and there are four on the 508 Hybrid. These run Electric (self-explanatory), Hybrid (the 'normal' setting, for want of a better word, where the car switches between and chooses the best combination or use of the petrol and electric resources as it sees fit), Sport (which primes the powertrain for the 225hp/360Nm maximums and weights up/sharpens various major controls), and then Comfort. This last one is weird; it is apparently just the Hybrid mode, only with the suspension down at its softest setting - but we can't fathom out why Hybrid didn't just have the Comfort setting's ride qualities, leaving space for a fourth 'Eco' mode instead. Ah well, what's done is done now, we suppose.

As to fuel economy and the claims of the electric range, we haven't got much to add here. The 508 Hybrid seemed to hold onto its battery charge well while being driven pretty hard on twisting test roads, so there's no reason to believe that, if it were to be commanded in a much gentler fashion, the 34-mile EV range is somehow wildly off the mark. From past experience, we know that petrol-powered PHEVs are incredibly thirsty if you don't bother to rejuice the li-ion battery pack, but our test was not representative of normal 508 Hybrid motoring. Therefore, we'll try and bring you a full road test later in the year, where we can expand on just how green (or otherwise) this new Peugeot petrol-electric is.

Verdict

A totally unsurprising and yet nevertheless wholly worthwhile addition to the 508 fleet, Peugeot's Hybrid model is well executed and carefully thought-out for its target market. Its expense and sizeable kerb weight do blunt the experience a bit, meaning it's not our favourite 508 so far, but if low running costs are your be-all and end-all in this size of machine, then there's little else in the class which will do the job better than the 508 Hybrid.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 28 Jan 2020



  www.peugeot.co.uk    - Peugeot road tests
- Peugeot news
- 508 images

2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.

2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.2020 Peugeot 508 Hybrid GT-Line. Image by Peugeot.








 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2022 ©