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Plug-in hybrid delivers swish looks, low tax and useful electric range, but rivals are bigger and better to drive

Our Verdict

Peugeot 508 2018 road test review - hero front

Is Peugeot’s rakish new Mondeo rival as good to drive as it is to look at - and has it done enough to best competitor saloons?

Doug Revolta Autocar
17 January 2020
Peugeot 508 Hybrid 225 GT 2020

What is it?

This is the plug-in hybrid version of the Peugeot 508. You’re right, we’ve seen it before – driven a prototype, no less. But final touches have been made since then, in time to reach UK driveways, near enough coinciding with new company car tax bands that will benefit PHEV and EV drivers.

But first the car. It features a 178bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 108bhp electric motor on the front axle for a total system output of 222bhp. It’s part of Peugeot's plan to offer electrified variants of every model by 2025, and you can get the same hybrid treatment in the SW estate version, too.

Let’s talk fuel economy. The claimed figures are still ridiculous-sounding even on the 'more realistic' WLTP test cycle, as with all plug-in hybrids. Officially, the 508 Hybrid is said to achieve between 166.2mpg and 235.4mpg. But you’ve more chance of the Peugeot badge sprouting wings, liberating itself from the bonnet and slapping you around the face. On our test route, it got closer to 40mpg.

It will be lower still once the battery is depleted, and to recharge it takes two hours from a 7kW charger – but you’ll have to pay extra on any trim level to be able to charge at that rate. Stingy, right? Otherwise, it takes seven hours from a three-pin plug or four hours from a Type 2 charger with a Mode 3 cable. Rapid charging isn’t available.

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Perhaps the more salient figure is the electric-only range, of 33-39 miles. Again, a little optimistic, but even if it’s closer to the 30-mile mark, as we expect, that’s still long enough to electrify plenty of commutes.

And then, of course, there’s the official CO2 emissions. Puffing out 29g/km will certainly appease the company car tax gods. The new benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bands kicking in on 6 April mean running a 508 Hybrid as a company car can cost you half as much as a 1.5-litre petrol (150g/km) Ford Mondeo.

Sounds good – unless you’re the sales rep who’s just ordered that Mondeo. Sorry. But is there more to like about the 508 than just its CO2 emissions?

What's it like?

Start it up and, so long as there’s enough charge, it will buzz off in electric-only mode. From that point on, you get the pleasant quietness and zippy acceleration you’d expect, until the battery runs out or you enthusiastically squeeze the throttle, at which point the engine kicks in. The transition between power sources isn’t jarring or irritating, even if it isn’t totally seamless.

It’s the gearbox that frustrates more when you’re asking for urgency. In relaxed circumstances, it shifts without fuss. But in kickdown, it can hunt around for a gear with all the certainty and precision of a drunk darts player.

When it does decide on a gear and shoot you off down the road, the car builds pace smoothly and swiftly. It’s the joint-quickest in the 508 line-up, alongside the 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel, although its pace is progressive rather than dramatic.

Sweep through some bends and you notice the hybrid's added weight; it’s almost 300kg heavier than the lightest 508. But that doesn’t detract too drastically from the 508’s athleticism; it's still pretty agile and happy to change direction quickly, with smooth and precise steering.

The weight doesn't have a ruinous impact on the ride, either. There’s still some noticeable fidget, but it flattens out nicely on the motorway, making the 508 a pleasant place to eat up the miles.

Compromises inside compared to non-hybrids? None, apart from the fact you can’t have a spare wheel. The interior is nicely finished, with decent materials, and there's even a helpful place to store a charging cable under the boot floor.

Should I buy one?

Goodness is the list price punchy. The top-spec GT model weighs in at £40,000. Consider the outstanding BMW 330e M Sport costs the same, while the more spacious Skoda Superb iV and the more comfortable Volkswagen Passat GTE are also available, and the case for the 508 recedes.

The 508 Hybrid is a compelling company car choice compared with a petrol or diesel rival, then, but not so impressive against its immediate plug-in hybrid rivals.

Peugeot 508 Hybrid 225 GT specification

Where Barcelona, Spain Price £40,630 On sale Now Engine 4cyls, 1598cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor Power 222bhp (combined) Torque 184lb ft engine, 249lb ft electric motor Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 1720kg Top speed 155mph (84mph in electric-only mode) 0-62mph 8.3sec Fuel economy 235.4mpg CO2 29g/km Rivals BMW 330e, Skoda Superb iV, Volkswagen Passat GTE

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Comments
12

17 January 2020

well done peugeot sounds like a perfect family car.

looks amazing too with the tri-bar taillights and claw headlights.

17 January 2020

That sums it up,massive depreciation risk when new

17 January 2020

bmw 320d m sport, gbp28000+ when new, easy to find 4yr old on autotrader for gbp12500. Which makes your guess for the Peugoet actually not bad?

18 January 2020

Looks even better than the Passat. Nothing is superfluous. Well done indeed.

18 January 2020

- It's beautiful, whereas the BMW is ugly

- It's beautiful, where as the VW & the Skoda (only the grille to tell them apart really) have all the style of a dishwasher

18 January 2020

Since having a PHEV GTE for 2 years previously where I achieved  an average of 120mpg I find these reviews where they say they get 40 mpg with the battery infuriating and biased, they must be driving like loons.... I remember CAR magazine saying they got around 37mpg with the Golf PHEV GTE. 

This kind of journalism is very poor and not representative of proper driving and will put people off PHEVs.

 

I have now gone full EV with the new Ioniq which has a quoted 194 WLTP figure, currently I,m achieving 186 and this is increasing. Most magazines will quote much less than this which adds to the stigma. It's simple really, if you drive sensibly you can achieve the WTLP if you drive like Carlos Fandango you will get what the magazines quote.

19 January 2020
The Dr wrote:

This kind of journalism is very poor and not representative of proper driving and will put people off PHEVs.

 

I'm thinking of a PHEV for my next car, having driven hybrids for the last 8 years. I used to play 'hybrid road test bingo':

CVT drone
Elastic band
Real world economy
Better off with a diesel

It's therefore good to hear from someone who has actually driven a PHEV, having bought it for the reason I would buy a PHEV - good economy and low emissions. Road testers should consider having at least a section of the test where they try to get the best possible economy consistent with considerate driving.

19 January 2020
It definitely looks more interesting than VAG group offerings. Everytime I see a 508 on the road I think it looks so much better than most in it's class. It might not be the best to drive, but the Passat is hardly setting the world alight. I'd rather this than the Passat any time if the day

20 January 2020

This is an amazing blog on Peugeot 508 Hybrid 225 GT 2020. It gives clear idea about the product. The review is fabulous! You can talk to our experts via live chat! 

20 January 2020

This is an amazing blog on Peugeot 508 Hybrid 225 GT 2020. It gives clear idea about the product. The review is fabulous! You can talk to our experts via live chat! 

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