30/04/2012 13:28 | By Sean Carson, contributor, MSN Cars

Peugeot 508 RXH review (2012 onwards)

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Peugeot 508 RXH

What - Peugeot 508 RXH
Where - Cheshire, UK
Date - April 2012
Price - £33,695 - £36,000
Available - May 2012

Key rivals: Audi A4 Allroad, Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, Ford Mondeo Estate, Vauxhall Insignia 4x4

Summary: High-riding French estate car receives the firm's hybrid powertrain from the 3008 crossover - we wouldn't call it a 4x4 though.

Peugeot 508 (2011 onwards)

On Bing: see pictures of the Peugeot 508 RXH

We like: High efficiency on paper, nice ride and steering, impressive cabin quality
We don't like: Ponderous gearbox, fuel economy doesn't match claims

First impressions
The 508 RXH hybrid is based on Peugeot's 508 SW estate car and receives the firm's Hybrid4 system from the 3008 Hybrid4 crossover.

It's a striking piece of design too - the looks might not be to everyone's tastes, but there's no doubting Peugeot is trying to appeal to a wider audience. The 'lion's claws' LEDs and floating grille certainly give the 508 RXH its own identity.

The car gets four drive modes - ZEV, Auto, Sport and 4WD - selectable by a rotary control on the car's centre console, and they actually work, too.

there's no doubting Peugeot is trying to appeal to a wider audience

ZEV mode means drive comes from the electric motor only, Auto and Sport see a combination of diesel and electric power used - depending on how the car's brain sees fit - and 4WD gives go to all wheels.

Slipping behind the wheel of The Lion brand's latest offering, you're first struck by the level of quality - it's on a par with its German rivals in most areas. But then when you clock the price, you'd expect it to be: £33,695.

All the same, Peugeot's claims for the 508 RXH's efficiency look promising and mean that this car is a nice alternative - in it's powertrain, at least - to more conventional estates. It should be friendly to the environment and the bank balance. To many, that's what matters.

Peugeot 508 RXH (© Peugeot)

In-gear acceleration is good - exactly what you want from a diesel - and makes for competitive performance in this sector. 0-62mph comes up in 8.8 seconds supported by the electric motor when full throttle is asked for, cutting out when cruising to help improve economy.

The added shove from the rear axle's drive unit chimes in and cuts out imperceptibly - the only way you'll know is through the information graphic on the car's dash.

The duo of motors is let down by the transmission, however. The turbodiesel engine is mated to Peugeot's Electronic Gearbox Control 'box - effectively an automated manual six-speed unit.

It's not a Range Rover, but the first sight of a bit of greenery doesn't flummox it

It's poor. The gearbox holds on to gears too long - not making the most of the car's decent torque output - and hesitates on upshifts to the point where it annoyingly punctuates acceleration.

Sport mode (and manually changing gear using the car's paddles) improves things, speeding up the gearbox's willingness to shift, but it doesn't cure the problem altogether.

Off road, the RXH is relatively competent. It's not a Range Rover, but the first sight of a bit of greenery doesn't flummox it either. The stability systems do well to keep the car tracking straight and ensure progress is continued, so as not to bog or spin the wheels.

Ride and handling
The 508 RXH's ride is beautifully plush. It's firm but compliant and for the most part, doesn't feel crashy. The RXH's chassis generates good grip and the car felt planted and surefooted in the torrential conditions we tested it in.

It's a shame then that the feedback through the steering can't match the levels of information relayed to the driver through the seat of their pants - it's well weighted, but is a touch numb.

A wider track, 50mm raised ride height and some under-body protection measures mean muddy tracks and fields are easily conquered, but that's likely to be the most off-roading you'll be doing - an approach angle of 15.6 degrees at the front means for serious stuff you'll be better off with an SUV.

Peugeot 508 RXH (© Peugeot)

Peugeot's 'green' wagon is nicely trimmed inside, and available in only one specification, comes complete with executive-level options as standard.

The standard car's £33,695 list price could induce a sharp intake of breath from some though - the £36,000 508 RXH Limited Edition even more so.

The list price could induce a sharp intake of breath

Regular cars get cruise control, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav, half-leather electric seats, automatic headlights and wipers and a host of airbags, while Limited Edition spec adds keyless entry and start, parking sensors, a powered tailgate, leather and Alcantara, a more punchy stereo and quad-zone climate control.

The full-length standard-fit panoramic glass roof lets light flood into the cabin, highlighting some nice interior accents. Piano black plastic and chrome detailing works well in the RXH's cabin, and gives a nice feel of quality along with the soft material that covers the dash and doors.

Housing the hybrid motor on the rear axle, boot space is reduced over the standard 508 SW, with 512 litres playing 423. Three adults in the back would be a push on long journeys, but the cabin is comfortable on the whole.

Economy and safety
Peugeot claim the 508 RXH will return 68.9mpg combined when driving the car to its strengths - pretty decent performance, bettering the standard 2.0 diesel estate car's 56.5mpg by some way.

The car can travel up to two miles at 40mph depending on battery charge - not ground-breaking electric-only range granted, but real draw is that with the help of the electric motor, the RXH emits just 107g/km CO2.

As it's a hybrid, the car doesn't attract the same levels of company car taxation as a normal diesel - that means a BiK rate of 12% - less than half of an Audi A4 Allroad's rate.

We didn't get anywhere near the 68.9mpg average on our route, however. It seems unless you drive it in a relatively narrow window of maximum efficiency, the RXH might be no more efficient than a standard frugally driven diesel.

Safety is good though, and the hybrid Pug receives a full five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating.

Peugeot 508 RXH (© Peugeot)

The MSN Cars verdict
The 508 RXH is a sweet car that works well on the road and makes a good fist of being an off-roader in an unconventional way, thanks to it's separate drive to separate axles.

It's more expensive than the conventional competition and is beaten on price by the four-wheel-drive estates from Audi and VW, too. Then again, it does offer more equipment as standard.

Its low emissions make it an appealing proposition to fleets and business users, and as a parallel hybrid, it could employ a manual transmission, which would make the RXH a great deal more pleasurable to drive for us, at least.

It's a capable car with some impressive talents, but there's potential that the price will mask this and put people off.

Read more Peugeot car reviews

Peugeot 508 (2011 onwards)

On Bing: see pictures of the Peugeot 508 RXH

Need to knowPeugeot 508 RXH
Engine, diesel2.0 turbodiesel
Power, hp163 @ 3,850rpm, 37 electric motor
Torque, lb ft221 @1,750rpm, 150 electric motor
0-62mph, secs8.8
Top speed, mph132
Mpg combined68.9
CO2, tax107

















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