In-depth reviews

Peugeot 508 Hybrid review

Peugeot's 508 plug-in hybrid executive saloon is a good effort; it hits all the right notes, but it does seem a little too expensive

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Stunning looks
  • Pretty well equipped
  • Very low CO2 emissions

Cons

  • BMW 330e better to drive
  • Expensive for private buyers
  • Style trumps practicality somewhat
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid33-39 miles166-235mpg29-33g/km

It looks like 2020 will be the year of the plug-in hybrid. With strict EU regulations on the average CO2 emissions of the cars manufacturers sell coming into force, petrol-electric (and diesel-electric) drivetrains are becoming common, particularly in larger cars such as SUVs and saloons. Both are popular on company-car fleets, and cheaper tax will only strengthen their position over the next few years.

The Peugeot 508 is a perfect example of this. On sale in the UK since 2018 with conventional petrol or diesel power, the Volkswagen Passat, Vauxhall Insignia and Skoda Superb rival was designed from the outset to run with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and 2020 sees this electrified version added to the range.

So it gets the numbers right to make financial sense for its target customers. But what's it like in the metal? The short answer is very stylish and attractive. Nearly all modern Peugeots, from the 208 hatchback to the 3008 SUV, cut a dash on the road, but the 508 is particularly svelte and shapely and guaranteed to turn heads.

The interior looks as good as the exterior, with all manner of high-tech displays and classy 'piano-key' buttons to keep you informed as to what the hybrid drivetrain is doing and operate its various driving modes. Like almost every other plug-in hybrid, these include a pure-electric mode, a 'full power' mode that gives you everything the engine and electric motor can muster and a charge preservation mode that allows you to hold on to battery charge to be deployed later on in your journey – such as when you arrive in an urban area after a long motorway run.

It's good to drive, offering the same combination of comfort and poise as the standard car, but the 508 still can't match its BMW 330e rival for outright polish and driver engagement. Still, as an alternative to the executive saloon mainstream, the Peugeot is a viable option.

And while the 508 Hybrid carries a considerable premium over its internal-combustion-powered rangemates, the pay off is low running costs, including impressive fuel economy if you can keep its battery topped up. The added benefit of ultra-low company-car tax rates and an unlimited-mileage warranty are further strings to its bow.

However, as good as the 508 is in objective terms, its suitability for private buyers is easily brought into question. It'll suit a very specific type of user, but the high asking price and relatively low residuals will only count against it when compared to rivals from the more established premium brands.

If you use your car mainly on frequent shorter journeys and occasionally undertake longer ones, however, the 508 Hybrid is a worthy alternative to other plug-in saloons – and in 508 SW estate guise, a welcome and stylish alternative to an SUV.

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