3.5 out of 5 3.5
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

Interesting combination of diesel hybrid power and limited off-road ability

Peugeot 508 RXH (12-17) - rated 3.5 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £33,400 - £38,450
Used price £4,630 - £14,510
Used monthly cost From £116 per month
Fuel economy
Not tested to latest standards
View pre-2017 economy specs
Road tax cost £10 - £155
Insurance group 32 - 37 How much is it to insure?

PROS

  • Fuel-efficient engine
  • Low CO2 emissions
  • Can run on pure electric for up to 2.5 miles and speeds of up to 40mph

CONS

  • EGC automatic gearbox is jerky and becomes tiresome
  • Wallowy handling

Peugeot 508 RXH rivals

Written by Simon McBride on

Is the Peugeot 508 RXH any good?

Off-road capabilities, an electric motor that reduces CO2 emissions and a spacious interior make the Peugeot 508 RXH hybrid estate a real contender in a sector currently dominated by 4x4 and estate crossovers such as the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and the Audi A4 Allroad.

Given this sort of competition, the Peugeot 508 RXH has certainly got its work cut out to make the grade.

Diesel-electric hybrid power

This is a unique beast. It’s powered by two sources: a 2.0-litre diesel engine and an electric motor producing 37bhp. There’s also the added bonus of having four-wheel-drive.

Higher and wider than the regular Peugeot 508 SW estate, the RXH can be distinguished by its LED daytime running lights, making the car look menacing at the front. The only giveaway that this car is a diesel-electric hybrid is the RXH badge on the rear of the vehicle. That’s one of the upsides of the 508 RXH, because it looks and behaves like a normal car.

The RXH is not to be confused with the Lexus RXh 4x4, but like the Lexus it has the ability to run on electric power alone. The Lexus, though, can only run on electric power at speeds of up to 25mph and only for two miles, but the Peugeot can do up to 40mph on electric power for 2.5 miles, which is great for fuel economy around town.

To look at, the Peugeot cuts a fairly fine dash while rivals including the Volvo XC70, the Audi A4 Allroad and the VW Passat all suffer from less adventurous lines on the design front.

The 508 RXH is only slightly longer than the saloon (2mm longer) and this means the car feels quite nimble, particularly for an estate.

Potential savings for business drivers

This car could be a great form of transport for business drivers who need a 4x4 with a usable load space as well as low CO2 emissions to keep costs down.

The emphasis on green technology will appeal to business drivers and private motorists but this is a car promising a lot and it needs to deliver to turn the heads of those insistent that a VW or Audi badge is the only way to go.

Off-road capability is fairly good and it is never going to rival outright mud-pluggers like a Land Rover, but can it cope with wet fields and mucky tracks? The ultimate test will be if the 508 RXH is good enough on- and off-road and still return high average fuel economy. If this is the case then the VW Passat Alltrack and Audi Allroad will certainly be in its sights.

Practicality

The Peugeot 508 RXH is one of the most practical cars in the sector. With four driving modes including electric power and 4WD, the Peugeot has a lot going for it. It has also got plenty of cubbyholes for storage.

If you choose a 508 RXH then you need a certain level of flexibility from your car. So, is there enough space to suit your lifestyle or are rivals better at load lugging? Load space with the seats in place is 400 litres but when folded this increases to 1,423 litres.

Take a glance at some of its rivals' stats and you’ll notice that the 508 RXH falls short of the competition in this sector. The VW Passat Alltrack has 603/1,641, the Audi A4 Allroad has 490/1,430 and the 2013 Skoda Octavia Estate 4x4 has a load space of 610/1,740.

Safety

Equipment for the Peugeot 508 RXH safety is generous. Standard kit includes ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), emergency braking Assistance (EBA), Electronic Stability Program and Traction Control (ESP & ASR), Dynamic Stability Control (CBC), curtain airbags for front and rear windows, driver and front passenger front and side airbags, ultrasonic alarm, remote central locking with deadlocks and Peugeot Connect SOS and Assistance.

The 508 RXH has not been tested specifically by Euro NCAP but the regular 508 saloon was tested in 2011 and achieved five stars.

Interior

The 508 RXH may only be 2cm longer than the saloon but the engineers have created a car that uses its interior space very well. Even with six-footers up front passengers in the rear have plenty of leg- and headroom.

Choose the RXH and you get a panoramic roof as standard. This adds to the airy feel and is always a bonus if you need to carry small children.

The soft plastics in the cabin of the RXH are of a high standard and the all-round build quality looks to be enhanced when compared to the 407. The dash is clean but simple, making life easy for the driver.

Peugeot 508 RXH comfort would be first class if it wasn’t for that pesky EGC gearbox. It feels so jerky at times that it’s almost like being on a ferry crossing in choppy waters. If you can get past this you will find that the 508 RXH is very good at cruising and very comfortable, although the ride may feel a bit firm for some. That makes the 508 RXH ideal for A-roads journeys and chugging up and down motorways, however.

Long journeys should be a breeze as the seats are well bolstered and offer good back support for both driver and front-seat passenger. Peugeot interiors have improved vastly and the 508 RXH is no different. The cabin is driver-focused and the surroundings are quite plush. Road, tyre and wind noise has been largely cancelled out thanks to the standard sound-deadening windscreen and dampers on the front axle that reduce engine vibration.

Another reassuring feature is the head-up display which means you can check your speed without taking your eyes off the road. Very useful.

MPG and ownership costs

Claimed economy for an average run is 68.9mpg so everyday Peugeot 508 RXH running costs should be affordable. Still, we would expect that to drop to around 60mpg if you are driving normally. Peugeot dealers are competitive, so servicing costs will not be as expensive as VW or Audi.

Peugeot 508 RXH emissions come out at 107g/km. This is largely down to its fuel-efficient engine, start/stop technology and, of course, the ZEV electric mode. Select this mode and you can run on pure electric for up to 2.5 miles and up to speeds of 40mph.

Peugeot 508 RXH reliability is unlikely to be an issue because the French car maker is improving with every model it produces. There have been few problems with the brand's most recent cars that include the RCZ and the 3008.

The 508 RXH has a solid feel to it and the plastics and interior trims look durable. The diesel engine is proven and should perform well.

Engines

Peugeot 508 RXH performance is fairly admirable. It's powered by two motors: one is a 163bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine and the other is an electric motor producing around 37bhp. The diesel engine powers the front wheels while the electric motor powers the rear wheels and this is the same system as that in the 3008 Hybrid4.

This car is aimed at those who want a fuel-efficient vehicle so it is never going to set your heart racing. It can get from zero to 62mph in 9.5 seconds and has a top speed of 132mph, and although it's no supercar it is 1.4 seconds quicker than a 138bhp 2.0-litre VW Passat Alltrack.

Unfortunately there are negatives. The most infuriating is the semi-automatic EGC gearbox. It is incredibly jerky even when you are manually flicking the paddles to change gear. It ruins your enjoyment of the 508 RXH and quickly becomes tiresome.

The only way to rectify this is to switch your driving style to anticipate gear changes. Easier said than done and more times than not you will still find your body lurching back and forth as the EGC system finds another gear.

There are four driving modes but moving off from junctions in anything other than the Sport mode is not advised. The four driving modes can be selected on the centre console via a round dial and, as well as Sport, there's auto, 4WD and ZEV (electric mode only). The battery needs to be charged to at least 50% for this mode to work but when the battery level becomes insufficient for use on this mode the car will kick back to automatic mode.

Handling

The 4WD mode improves traction on slippery surfaces with the diesel engine driving the front wheels and the electric motor driving the rear wheels. The Sport mode allows faster gear changes and better throttle response and in this setting the RXH can complete the benchmark sprint in 8.8 seconds. That’s 0.7s quicker than when the car is in auto.

If your life is commuting up and down Britain’s motorways then the EGC ‘box should not be too difficult to live with but if you are driving in and out of cities on a regular basis then it may become a frustrating element of this car.

The Peugeot 508 RXH is a tad disappointing when compared to the standard 508 estate. When cornering it wallows about, unlike the 508 SW which feels agile, nimble and lively.

The raised ride-height takes away from what is quite a well-balanced chassis and rivals including the VW Passat Alltrack and the Audi Allroad are better to drive than the Peugeot 508 RXH.

The steering rack is quick but unfortunately there is little feedback coming from the front wheels so you never feel at one with the car. The 508 RXH is blessed with good front-end grip but the steering is so numb you can't feel what those front wheels are doing.

Peugeot 508 RXH rivals

Other Peugeot 508 (2011 - 2018) models: