2021 Peugeot 508 Fastback PHEV Review

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Peugeot 508 Fastback PHEV 1

The 508 plug-in hybrid delivers swish looks and useful electric range with a practical boot in fastback guise.

Peugeot launched its 508 with premium aspirations, but to compete on that level in the 2020s means you need a plug-in version, which is why the brand has added this 508 PHEV to the line-up and it is arriving in Australia early next year.

Priced from $76,990 before on-road costs there will be just the single Peugeot 508 GT Fastback PHEV (plug-in hybrid) variant available. Based on the conventional 508 GT equipment is similar, except for the electrified drivetrain underneath. Ahead of its arrival, we’ve driven the model in the UK to see how it performs.

Peugeot 508 Fastback PHEV 6

It features a 133kW 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 81kW electric motor on the front axle for a total system output of 165kW. It’s part of Peugeot’s plan to offer electrified variants of every model by 2025, and the 3008 PHEV will also launch in Australia early next year.

Peugeot claims official economy between 1.2-1.7L/100km, and while these figures are meant to be realistic, as with any PHEV, take them with a pinch of salt. If your daily trip is less than the maximum EV range of a claim 55km and you plug in every night, then you might not have to fill up for months. If you cover more kays and exhaust the battery’s supply of energy, then fuel economy will take a hit. However, even with an empty battery, we still saw around 5L/100km on the trip during our time with the car. The 11.8kWh battery takes an hour and 45 minutes to charge using a 7kW home wallbox, and much longer if recieving a 3.7kW feed.

Peugeot 508 Fastback PHEV 7

The battery supplies a 81kW electric motor, and combined output with the 1.6 turbo petrol engine is 165kW. Performance is swift enough, with 0-100km/h taking 8.3 seconds, but it’s under short bursts of acceleration at lower speeds where the hybrid set-up is at its best. That’s because the electric motor gives instant performance in a smooth wave, filling in for any holes in the combustion engine’s power delivery. However, it’s doubly impressive here because it also mitigates some of the problems with the eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The EAT8 unit’s shifts aren’t the smoothest, but the electric motor’s extra torque helps carry the car along between changes, so the pauses between shifts are less obvious.

Peugeot 508 Fastback PHEV 4

However, at times it still feels like the two power sources could be better integrated. We did find that when the battery was exhausted and the petrol engine kicked in, the 508 tended to surge forward, accelerating a little even on a constant throttle.

A soft ride means the 508 PHEV is one of the better models we’ve tried on PSA’s EMP2 platform. Only occasionally does it bounce about, and while there’s some roll, it’s mostly composed, relatively grippy, given it’s carrying an extra 300kg over a similar pure petrol model, and compliant.

Peugeot 508 Fastback PHEV 2

One strong point of the PHEV is that its 487-litre boot is unchanged over the regular car. Head and legroom aren’t that generous, but quality is good enough, while the low seating position and high dash and centre console mean the 508 has the most convincing execution of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit set-up yet, even if it won’t suit every driver.

You get lots of features, but the age-old problems of the 10-inch touchscreen stand; it should be more responsive. The piano-key shortcut buttons underneath it do make moving from menu to menu easier, though.

Peugeot 508 Fastback PHEV 3

There’s an energy button that shows usage and flow, while you can also select driving modes – there are settings to charge the battery using the engine when EV range reaches a certain point. It’s good if you want to build up reserves for use in town, but it does work the engine harder.

14 peugeot 508 hybrid 2020 fd instruments detail

The Peugeot 508 plug-in is pricey, but low running costs should help offset this – over the long run. Its dynamics are fine, if not fun, however, while there’s lots of tech, some of it could be better thought out and executed. There are just a few issues at this price that don’t quite match Peugeot’s premium aspirations, but it’s still a sound PHEV package on the whole.

Sean Carson

Final Verdict:
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