Peugeot 508 RXH review
Peugeot's 508 RXH estate offers rugged, off-roadish looks, but without the reduced efficiency a full SUV provides. The Peugeot is available in four-wheel drive form, though it is the two-wheel drive model that we have tested. Promising practicality, economy, and high levels of equipment, the 508 RXH could be a good choice for those that need a large car, but want low running costs.
Review by Chris Lilly
Under the bonnet of the test car was fitted one of Peugeot's 2.0 litre BlueHDi engine, putting out 180hp. More importantly, the Peugeot produces 400 Nm of torque, which provides plenty of shove when the driver puts their foot down. A 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds doesn't sound too sprightly, but in-gear acceleration feels plentiful. The 508 RXH isn't designed to be a fast model, but performance is ample for the vast majority of tasks. A fully-loaded car with people and luggage will prove no problem for the 508 RXH, and the Peugeot sits nicely at motorway speeds, making it a good long-distance cruiser. The long-geared diesel performs less well in town, but it doesn't struggle unduly thanks to the torque available, it is just more comfortable on the open roads. One downside is that its six-speed automatic is not the fastest to change gear - certainly not as fast as the new company's EAT6 transmission anyway, found on newer models. It does offer a smooth change though.
With a taller stance than a conventional 508, and suspension designed to tackle mildly uneven ground, one should not expect the 508 RXH to offer the last word in sharp driving dynamics. And it doesn't. There is a fair bit of lean in the corners when tackling them in a hurry, and the 508 RXH quickly presents itself as being a comfortable cruiser. This makes the Peugeot a relaxing model to drive and be driven in. Around town, poor road surfaces provide little in the way of a challenge for the Peugeot, and the long wheelbase combines with the supple set-up to help iron out bumps along motorways. Driving in urban areas is helped too by relatively light steering, though the 508 RXH is a very long car. Parked next to a Range Rover, the Peugeot proved to be almost the same length, to put the car's proportions into context. This makes tackling older multi-storey car parks interesting to say the least.
Considering the 508 RXH is a very sensible car, Peugeot's done a good job with the styling. The off-road-lite looks certainly aid matters, but the Peugeot has enough about its fundamental design to make it stand out from the crowd. This is helped no-end though by both its sheer size and the fact that there are very few 508 RXH's on the road. That physical presence translates well to the interior, which provides plenty of space for occupants, and a decent sized boot. Passengers will have a comfortable trip thanks to good levels of head and leg space, while the boot will swallow up no end of equipment or luggage. It's sits roughly in the middle of the table compared to rival's load-lugging abilities.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Supporting the spacious cabin is a set of comfortable seats, further boosting the 508 RXH's credentials as a long-distance machine. It's also an easy car to drive thanks to the soft suspension preventing any real option to be in a hurry, and the automatic gearbox taking over a significant part of the act of driving. The Peugeot's cabin can't compete with many of its rivals when talking about interior build quality, with the likes of VW's Passat Alltrack, the Audi A4 Allroad, and Volvo's V60 Cross Country, all providing a classier and better designed cabin. Peugeot tackles this by offering customers significant amounts of equipment, so the 508 RXH proves fairly good value for money. The build quality of the controls again can't compete with its more executive rivals. They're far from flimsy though, and there is no impression that the 508 RXH has been built badly. The dashboard is rather conservative too, with a fair number of buttons dotted about the centre console.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Considering its size, the 508 RXH is a frugal car, with the test model returning 61.4 MPG officially. In real-world conditions, after 620 miles, the 508 RXH managed 48.6 MPG, while the emissions figure is 119 g/km. This puts it in VED Band C, costing just £30 a year to tax. There is a hybrid version of the 508 RXH too which offers the same fuel economy figure, but with lower emissions - down to 104 g/km. This last point drops the VED rating to Band B, with a cost of £20 a year.
The 508 RXH's biggest green feature is the electric motor of the hybrid model's. This 37 hp motor supports a 163 hp diesel engine, and allows for brief periods of zero-emission driving. The conventional diesel though is still pretty good considering its size and height. The BlueHDi engine uses both Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and a Particulate Emission Filter to cut down NOx and particulate emissions. According to our calculations, the model tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 42.
As mentioned before, the 508 RXH comes well stocked. Included as standard are 18-inch alloys, a panoramic glass roof, cruise control, leather steering wheel, reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, half leather trimmed seats, front electric seats, 7-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio, colour head-up display, and dual-zone air conditioning. The Hybrid model has a mode selector that can put the car into Auto, Sport, 4WD, or zero-emission settings. Options include full leather or Alcantara and leather seating, with heated front seats, a powered tailgate, JBL stereo, four-zone air conditioning, and metallic paint.
The Peugeot 508 RXh is pricey, but comes well equipped and is cheaper than its soft-road estate rivals. It's practical, won't cost much to run, and lives up to its promise as a sensible choice. Rural drivers, those that travel long distances, and families that need to cart plenty of kit around will all find the 508 RXH a useful option.
Model tested: Peugeot 508 RXH
Body-style: Off-road estate
Engine / CO2: 2.0 litre diesel / 119 g/km
Trim grades: RXH, RXH HYbrid 4
On-road price: From £34,230.
Warranty: Three years / unlimited mileage
In the showroom: now
Review rating: 3.0