I decided to put my foot down hard on the Peugeot 508 GT’s accelerator
Car Reviewed: Peugeot 508 SW GT PLUG-IN HYBRID 225 e-EAT8
Usually, on first driving one of our test cars, I like to take it easy, get the feel, and get informed about the controls. But, no, this time I was in a hurry, late for an appointment.
So…let’s go! And I was rewarded with the smoothest throttle response you could wish for. Maybe it was because I’d just spent a week stuck in the family hack, a 22-year-old well-worn vehicle. The contrast was, well, compare a crusty old cheddar with a deliciously creamy Camembert! (OK, not everybody likes Camembert.)
But, not only that, it felt much quicker than the official 0-62 mph in 8.3 seconds.
This Peugeot, being a plug-in hybrid, has its turbocharged, 4-cylinder petrol engine assisted by an electric motor that adds 41 bhp to give a combined 266bhp.
In pure EV mode, you might get as much as 39 miles of range, says Peugeot, and a wall-box charge might get you that range from zero in less than two hours; on an ordinary domestic socket, more than seven hours.
As to the overall fuel consumption, official WLTP figures for PHEV cars are a rough guide that allows comparison with other such cars. In real life, as ever, it depends entirely on how much the car is automatically in electric mode. My best indicated return on any of my varied drives was 44.3 mpg; shorter outings of five or six miles typically produced around 35 mpg, which I was surprised at, expecting the electric motor to be of particular influence here.
The Peugeot was a pleasure to drive, steering, handling and braking as we are entitled to expect. The transmission was a smooth eight-gear automatic.
I found the car to be very quiet and comfortable, too, with the suspension dealing very well with our usual challenging road surfaces; occasionally, the worst of those traffic-calming humps would cause a a slight judder at the back, but nothing really to worry about.
The test car was the estate version and could accommodate four adults and quite a lot of luggage.
There was so much in the way of safety equipment, with warnings and automatic mitigation that I almost felt I needed to take no heed of my surroundings and fellow road-users. I say this only half in jest, because, yes, these features (and they are found in all cars at almost any price range) can be literally vital, but because there are concerns amongst professionals involved in the propagation of safe driving that drivers really could become complacent — it’s noticeable that car handbooks frequently, in bold letters, remind owners of their responsibilities in this regard.
Ages ago, car dashboards and consoles were of polished wood; then came a more austere period when metal or plastic was the preferred material. More recently, everyone went to super-shiny piano-black. This Peugeot retains that and the piano idea is emphasized by the keyboard-like switches (one short of an octave, in fact) for some of the controls. I rather liked them. At times, when the sun was in a particular direction, the reflection off the shiny surface was almost blinding…I had to keep a hat handy to cover it up!
It goes without saying that the all-important connectivity technology is available.
Once again, the question of whether to buy a car like this, which is a very good car with a certain amount of class, needs to be investigated carefully. This means understanding the details of warranties, servicing and the like compared to rivals, and of course any possibility of special financial offers, equipment upgrades and suchlike.
Suffice it to say that this Peugeot, £49,450 being its price, does offer a severe challenge to others in this sector.
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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