We are in the midst of a massive shift in the company car market. previously, diesel was the fuel of choice for saloon cars estates and SUVs. but recently there’s been a raft of new plug-in hybrid models from various manufacturers. with rock bottom benefit and kind cost user choosers are spoiled for choice. there are plenty of cars to choose from of course from premium manufacturers. but what if you want something a little bit different?
This is the Peugeot 508. Peugeot calls the 508 a fastback and there’s no denying that it turns heads. with an aggressive front-end treatment, a sleek coupe-like roofline, and distinctive tail lights all marking it out.
It’s been on sale in petrol and diesel forms since 2018. but this plug-in hybrid version is new for 2020. its main rivals the likes of the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat. but will also be hoping that some BMW, Mercedes, and Audi drivers can be tempted in its direction. but is that a realistic prospect?
Now the idea of a mainstream manufacturer trying to take on the premium players is something we’ve heard plenty of times before, and it’s not something that always works out. but on style alone, Peugeot might be onto something with this new 508. it’s another great example of Peugeot’s rejuvenated design language that we first saw on cars like the 208 and 3008. just look at it. from that aggressive front end to those fang-like daytime running lights. through to this sweeping roofline and pillarless doors around to the back where you’ve got those dark-tinted light clusters.
Eco-friendliness and efficiency
It should stack up financially as well with CO2 emissions of around 30 grams per kilometer. and a decent all-electric driving range that guarantees that low company car tax cost. now private buyers might be a little bit put off by the high price compared with the petrol and diesel models. but for the target market, this car is aimed at the numbers that are likely to stack up. now Peugeot claims around 166 miles per gallon but in real-world motoring with the batteries depleted you’re looking at more like 40 miles a gallon. charge up regularly and you’ll see somewhere between the two.
That decent electric range can be as much as 39 miles according to the official figures, although it’s likely to settle at around 30 miles in everyday driving. in other words, still enough to get a lot of local commuting school running and shopping in without using a drop of fuel.
To enable you to do that, of course, you need to charge the Peugeot 508 hybrid batteries regularly. like nearly all plug-in hybrids it doesn’t have the rapid charging capability of pure electric cars. but because it has a smaller battery than they do charging can be completed in just a couple of hours even using a regular domestic three-pin socket. if you go the whole hog and get a home wall box installed you can have the car fully charged in less than two hours using a type 2 charging cable.
But you need to specify the optional 7.4-kilowatt on-board charger to do this at a cost of around 300 pounds. if you’re happy just to charge the car at home overnight this isn’t necessary.
But if Peugeot company wants to take the fight to the Germans, this new 508 will have to be decent to drive. and the news on that front is pretty good indeed .once you get used to the small steering wheel and the slightly unusual driving position, the 508 is a satisfying car to drive.
It’s certainly not short on power. it puts out 222 brake horsepower in total combined with the electric motor and the engine and 0-62 mph takes 8.3 seconds. though in reality, it feels far faster than that in the real world thanks to the instant shove from the electric motor. with regards to handling the 508 isn’t as agile or fun to drive as a BMW 3 series, but there’s enough grip on offer and inspires confidence pretty quickly allowing you to trust the car before too long.
The downside is that the 8-speed automatic gearbox isn’t the smoothest transmission we’ve experienced. running around on electric power the 508 is very quiet and very comfortable. especially on our car’s 17-inch wheels, we spend a lot of time in town you may find yourself eking out every last electric mile possible.
But it can make more sense to let the car make up its mind it starts in hybrid as a default when you switch it on and in this setting, it utilizes the petrol engine and the electric motor to maximize fuel economy. like in most hybrid and electric cars, there are other modes to play with including a battery save mode, which holds the charge of the battery, and a charging mode that will use the petrol engine to charge the battery. now we’d use this sparingly because it can make a massive dent in your average fuel economy.
The Peugeot 508 hybrid skips the entry-level active trim. but is available in allure gt line and gt specification. allure is probably going to be enough for most people. you get a 10-inch virtual cockpit screen, power-folding mirrors, and 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels. the GT line looks a little sportier and has some extra gadgets like wireless phone charging while the range-topping GT gets full leather trim 18-inch alloys and a premium audio system.
Whatever trim you go for, you get broadly the same dashboard design which means you get this neat little gear lever on the center console this large central touch screen, and these piano keys at the top here. now the quality inside is pretty good actually. especially on the center console the dash and the doors, and to be honest I don’t think you would have much trouble rivaling even the premier manufacturers in this class. so the touchscreen looks great it’s a decent size but it’s not the most responsive we’ve used.
So thankfully these piano key shortcuts work well. and you can skip to all the functions as and when you need them. the dials also look great. but unfortunately, the steering wheel position for some people will obscure those. because here you look over rather than through.
There’s also no less than 32 liters of storage dotted across the cabin from these cup holders to this big tray here and there’s a small storage area under here for things like coins wallets and things like that and you’ve got some big door bins but most importantly and quite I find quite handy is this slot under here which is useful for your mobile phone especially because there’s a USB at the back.
The Peugeot 508 hybrid sleek fastback shape is a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to practicality. it gives the car a major advantage over four-door saloon rivals with a big hatchback boot opening making it easy to load bulky luggage. frustratingly there’s only room under the floor for one of the two charging cables. but overall the 508 will take a total of 487 liters of luggage with the rear seats in place, a bit down on the 625 liters you get in a Skoda superb hybrid. but still useful nonetheless.
Like the superb, there’s an even larger estate version if you need more space. in the back that swoopy roofline means the 508 rear seats aren’t quite as spacious as the superb either. but it’s not a complete disaster. only the tallest adults will find their heads brushing the roof. there’s plenty of practical touches too. such as the armrest for built-in cup holders and a ski hatch for through-loading longer items.
So there we have it a comfortable practical and stylish plug-in hybrid that should make perfect sense to company car buyers. there’s very little to not like about this car although some people may still turn their noses up at that mainstream badge. it may be a little bit too expensive and not hold its value. quite well enough to make sense for private buyers. but if it’s on your company car list, the Peugeot 508 hybrid is well worth a look.
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