Peugeot 508 SW PSE
Its a handy hybrid, but experiencing it at its dynamic best isn’t easy
I’VE NOW PUT ALMOST 3000 MILES ON the 508 and in many respects it fits my life very neatly. It’s plenty roomy enough running a couple of 6ft-plus schoolboys around, sometimes with a couple of black Labs in the back, and it swallows my mountain bike with ease. Many of the runs I do can be accomplished on electric, or very nearly, even though the range on a full charge has settled at 23 miles against a brochure claim of 26. It’s refined and comfortable on longer journeys too, and also returns good mpg. In fact, it was a surprise to find that the tank of this big car only takes 43 litres.
What of the dynamics? It’s not a car that gives up its abilities freely. I find the ride a little tough, and when pottering around in Hybrid mode select Comfort to take the edge off. That said, the body and wheel control over big events is seriously good; there’s a devilish bit of road I travel along frequently that rolls and kicks because of subsidence and the
Peugeot is among the best cars I’ve driven over it.
Carry speed into a corner, however, and the steering gets heavy quickly, drawing attention to the mass of the car. Unquestionably, the best mode if you want to be engaged is Sport. This deploys both ICE and electric power, which gives the 508 the pace to match its looks, but crucially sharpens and beefs up the throttle response so it really does feel like there’s over 350bhp available. The whole car feels energised and up for it, in sharp contrast to its general demeanour, yet the steering weight in corners doesn’t seem consistent.
The other issue is that you get this liveliness only when there’s enough electric energy available. Chasing Aston Parrott across some fantastic, empty Somerset roads heading for a meeting at Ariel recently, the 508 had long depleted its battery and so was a big, quite heavy, 200bhp car pursuing our friskier and smaller Ford Puma ST.
Increased home energy costs have had an impact on the effective mpg. Charging its 11.5kwh battery has shot up from about £2 to £3, though by my reckoning that’s still about half what it would cost in petrol for the short (up to 30 miles), cold-start, round trips I’ve been doing. In the last two weeks I’ve charged and depleted the battery 16 times and used a quarter of a tank of petrol to cover 430 miles, which works out at about 49mpg. That contributes to an average of around 46mpg, which is decent for a big car with this much potential performance.
On the infotainment side, phone pairing is very much miss more than hit, and one of the first things I do is turn off Lane Keep Assist because it irritates me how it gently messes with steering feel. Unexpectedly, though, Night Vision has shown its worth already, a couple of times spotting deer and a dog walker on the verge and triggering an alert in the instrument pack well before they became visible in the headlamps.
Date acquired March 2022 Total mileage 3292 Mileage this month 1739 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 46.1