Peugeot 508 RXH Review: Hands on
31st May 2012 | 10:20
The Peugeot 508 RXH diesel hybrid crams in tech smarts under the bonnet
The 508 RXH Hybrid4 is a car with green issues on its mind. It sports the same advanced Hybrid4 system to give you four drive settings EV, Hybrid, Sport and 4WD that aim to let you make the most of any environment and keep polar bears alive.
It is a noticeably better looking car than the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 we tested a few months back and the interior is airy and spacious. However what we’re really interested in is the kit on board. So does the 508 RXH have any added techy cleverness in the cockpit?
Peugeot 508 RXH: Tech
The 508 RXH might look different and far more desirable on the outside but on the inside it carries almost exactly the same tech smarts as the 3008, with a solid selection of built-in gadgets to improve the driving experience and keep passengers entertained.
One improvement on the 3008 is Bluetooth audio syncing. Where we were unable to get our smartphone playlists paired with the main multimedia system in the 3008, the 508 RXH has fixed this problem. We had our Spotify app firing music to the cars speakers in no time.
However, by Peugeot’s own admission there have been complications with iPods, iPhones and some Android phones meaning this isn’t always guaranteed and successful syncing can vary from iPhone to iPhone.
If you do fail to sync wirelessly there are USB connections conveniently located in the central arm rest, plus there’s a handy SD card slot for loading up your own media.
When it comes to making calls, it’s stupidly easy to sync your smartphone’s contact list, also via Bluetooth, and navigating your full phone address book on the 7-inch 16:9 multi media display was easy and intuitive.
Controls on the steering wheel column make it simple to select and dial a number, while the hands-free system delivers clear, crisp sound through the car’s speakers.
We were disappointed to find that the full built-in phone keypad we liked so much on the 3008’s central control panel had gone and with it the easy access to dialling numbers without having to go through your contacts list or use the dial to input numbers.
Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4: Satnav
The built-in sat nav system works well. The menu system is navigated using a dial at the foot of the central column. Entering a destination is straight forward enough while stationery but once you’re on the move, postcode entry can be a bit fiddly as you scroll through the alphabet. However this isn’t a problem unique to the Peugeot’s system.
Route guidance is clear and effective although pretty basic. It lacks some of the usefulness and clarity that you get in the sat nav systems you might find in the likes of the Audi S7 Sportback with integrated Google Search, Google Earth and Google Street view.
The central panel also features a built DVD/CD player so your passengers can enjoy films while you taxi them from pillar to post. We’re not sure why Peugeot opted for DVD, we’d have preferred this to be Blu-ray.
A quick peek inside the glove compartment reveals a SIM card slot - a feature of Peugeot Connect - that lets you use your own SIM to give the car Wi-Fi capability.
The colour heads up display (HUD) – a small glass screen that rises out of the dash in from of the driver – that puts useful information within easy view of the driver, including speed, speed limiter warnings and navigation info.
Drivers get further help from the park assist technology which is starting to become a regular feature on new cars. Sensors determine whether the vacant space is large enough and also gives guidance on how difficult the manoeuvre is likely to be. T
his combines with front and rear distance sensors to help you avoid any nasty knocks.
Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4: Specs
• 7” colour 16:9 central display
• Built-in sat nav with traffic info
• Driver heads-up display with speed, cruise control info and sat nav
• SIM card powered Wi-Fi capability
• Front and rear parking assist
• Electric parking break
• Hands-free calling
• DVD/CD player
• Keyless entry and start-up
• Optional JBL 10 speaker hi-fi system
Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4: Performance
Like all hybrids, the electric motor takes care of the car at low speeds, starting off and when decelerating while the petrol – or in this case diesel – engine kicks in for high speeds on main roads and motorways.
Where the Peugeot 508 RXH HYbrid4 differs is that it boasts four drive modes to give you more control over your driving style, depending on your environment.
The Zero Emission Vehicle Mode (ZEV) uses 100 per cent electric for dashing about the city without spitting out nasties in the air; Auto lets the car’s clever system make the decision between the HDi diesel engine and the electric motor for maximum efficiency.
Sport gives the drivers’ driver the option for more efficient frequent gear changes at higher speeds; Finally 4WD mode makes the electric motor drive the rear wheels while the diesel does the work up front to give more traction.
The Peugeot 508 RXH carries a 2.0 litre engine that produces an output of 220 break horsepower, 212 lb/ft of torque (diesel) and does 0-62 mph in just 9.5 seconds and hits a top speed of 132mph. All that will give you a claimed, combined 69 miles per gallon.
Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4: Verdict
Overall the Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4 sports a good range of in-car tools that are largely easy. The wi-fi, built-in sat nav and heads-up display are the highlights and while this isn’t necessarily breaking any new boundaries in car tech, it’s got pretty much everything you need for a comfortable driving experience.
Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4 Price: £33,695
Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4 Availability: Available now