French evolution

By Guilherme Marques

The Peugeot 508 RXH is the most expensive Peugeot money can buy. But is it the best?

The Peugeot 508 RXH was mine for four days but I am still not quite sure about it. I had already driven a regular 2.0 litre diesel 508 Station Wagon with 140hp and had thought it to be rather good, with a relaxed driving experience and high levels of comfort inside, so I was expecting the top of the line 508 RXH – the most expensive Peugeot on sale with prices starting at €43,240 – to be outstanding.

The 508 RXH is a Hybrid4, in Peugeot speak, because it uses a hybrid drive train affecting all four wheels. The 2.0 litre HDI engine sends its 163hp to the front wheels, while the 37hp electric motor propels the rear axle. They can work independently or together, depending on what driving mode is selected.

I guess the guilty party here was the automated six-speed gearbox, a really poor device in a car that, otherwise, is filled with modern technology.

The solution for this problem is to set the car to ‘Sport’ mode, which locks the electric motor and the diesel together – but this is not what this car was made for, this is a hybrid.

I also noticed that in a 120km trip, the car switched between diesel-electric and electric-only more than 50 times, which seems to me like something that can cause mechanical problems in the long run.

Still, I was the only one troubled by this, because the rest of the passengers were enjoying the excellent interior, the comfortable seats and the large panoramic roof. The ride is great and the overall feeling of quality is up there, very close to the Germans.

The 508 RXH averaged a simply fantastic 6.1 litres/100km and Peugeot says it emits a city-car rivalling 107g/km of CO2. So I guess that passing judgement on this car is harder for me than usual.

On a personal level, I would take the normal 508 with a manual gearbox – for me that is the best Peugeot you can buy and it would be a great choice. But I think the looks and the extra technology are strong and valid selling points that may be worth the cost. So my advice is this: if you like the 508, try both versions. The 508 is fundamentally a good car, so one of them will be right for you.