Open gallery Close by Vicky Parrott 27 March 2015 Follow @@VickyParrott Share
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The new Peugeot 508 RXH is a bit misleading – that’s what it is.
Where previously the chunky bodykit and raised ride height was unique to the four-wheel drive, electric-diesel ‘Hybrid4’ powertrain, this is in fact a straightforward front-wheel drive 508 estate, wearing the hybrid’s mud-faring regalia.
The 508 RXH feels solidly put together, and with the sheer level of equipment makes it feel cossetingVicky ParrottDeputy reviews editor
Still, with 178bhp from the 2.0-litre diesel, and a six-speed automatic as standard – a powertrain that’s only available with the range-topping GT 508 SW – this diesel RXH offers good mid-range performance and a massive saving of £4350 over the hybrid model which is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel and an electric motor.
On top of that, the entry-level car’s emissions are a very respectable 119g/km, which could make it actually a lot more sense than the ‘proper’ hybrid RXH.
Peugeot intends for the 508 to compete with more upmarket rivals from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and you can see what they’ve done to support that claim in the RXH’s interior.
It feels solidly put together, and with a standard panoramic glass roof brightening everything up and heated, electrically-adjustable seats, the sheer level of equipment makes it feel cosseting.
However, the perceived quality of the switchgear, a few of the plastics, and a slightly unintuitive dash layout doesn’t quite live up to the standards of the minimalist interiors that generally sets the German offerings apart.
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There’s plenty of room in the back and the boot is a good shape, though, even if rear legroom and boot capacity falls short of what you’d get in plenty of rivals, including the Skoda Superb estate and Subaru Outback.
Related Peugeot 508 RXH 2012-2017 reviews
Peugeot 508 RXH
On the equipment front, Peugeot has kept it simple with only one trim level to choose from – RXH, which equips the car with 18in alloy wheels, a panoramic glass roof, satin roof rails and a rugged bodykit, alongside technology such as parking sensors, heated door mirrors, electric windows, adaptive LED headlights, and keyless start and entry. Inside there is cruise control, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, head-up display and Peugeot’s 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system complete with DAB radio, reversing camera, sat nav, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
The way the diesel RXH drives is more of a letdown. It’s absolutely fine in normal use, but it’s no more than fine. Its auto ‘box is pretty sluggish, and even under moderate acceleration or on an incline, it sometimes decides to change down when you don’t expect it to.
The engine stop-start system is similarly unintuitive, as it’s quite slow to fire up the engine and can make quick getaways jerky and unpredictable. Throw in some damp roads and you can add a liberal dose of wheelspin for a really scrappy start, too.
Still, once you’re underway, the gearbox is smooth enough most of the time and keeps the engine in its torquey comfort zone.
The steering feels quite artificial and doesn’t offer much joy if you want to tackle your favourite country road, but it’s well-weighted and predictable, so adds to the easy-going character and makes it easy to pilot the 508 precisely.
You’re probably not going to be too bothered about that country road anyway since the 508 RXH is not the keenest through corners. Body roll is actually quite progressive and not too intrusive, so you don’t get the exaggerated wallow and pitch of some soft, jacked-up estates.
There’s little communication through the controls, however, and the understeer-oriented chassis ensures that any potentially spirited drives will be quite underwhelming.