The hybrid powertrain is the most interesting aspect of the RXH.
Base price: $74,990.
Powertrain and performance: 2.0-litre turbo diesel four with electric motor and battery pack, total system output 147kW/500Nm, 6-speed automated, on-demand four-wheel drive, Combined economy 4.1 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 9.5 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4813mm long, 1525mm high, luggage capacity 423 litres, 18-inch alloy wheels.
We like: High style, quality cabin, an early adopters’ delight.
We don’t like: Price, HYbrid4 technology requires commitment from driver.
How it rates: 7/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The Peugeot 508 RXH is completely unique – and yet at the same time strangely familiar.
You’ll certainly recognise it as a member of the 508 family, because it’s a version of the station wagon model. However, the RXH is unique because it’s the flagship model of the range (indeed, of the entire Peugeot lineup), it’s a crossover with raised ride and unique styling, and also because it’s a diesel-electric hybrid. All of these things set it apart from the rest of the 508 family.
The hybrid powertrain is the most interesting aspect of the RXH, although we’ve talked about it plenty before: the so-called Hybrid4 system is also used in the smaller 3008 HY4, which was launched just before its bigger brother.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Really rather good. The 508 is a very nice vehicle to begin with, and while the RXH is a slightly different in dynamic character, it’s just as impressive in its own way. The extra ride height gives it more compliance on bumpy road, but the downside of that is less controlled handling in fast corners.
All in all, it’s opportunity cost. The standard 508 is to be admired for its sporting character, but the softer chassis setup of the RXH suits its all-road aspirations and luxury status.
The HYbrid4 powertrain has been covered at length here before. Suffice to say the RXH has exactly the same setup as the 3008 (a turbo-diesel engine driving the front wheels, the electric motor and battery pack on the rear axle) and holds exactly the same fascination and foibles.
It’s not a powertrain you will fall in love with after a drive around the block, but it does offer a lot of ability and character once you learn how to use it. Probably not one for the driver who likes to set-and-forget, though.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH?
Idiosyncrasies of HYbrid4 aside, the RXH really works as a luxury wagon. It looks suitably different to the standard 508, with a unique front section and extra body cladding, and it’s loaded with luxury equipment.
Some of the RXH’s success lies in the quality of the base 508 cabin. It’s stocked with soft materials and classy looking instruments even in entry-level form, so the interior certainly doesn’t look wrong in a $75k model.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
The RXH is very expensive compared with the rest of the 508 range and the powertrain requires some time to master. Don’t mean to put you off, because it’s an incredibly classy car and carries a lot of road presence, while HYbrid4 brings rewards of its own when you put the effort in.
But those considering RXH simply because it’s the flagship Peugeot for New Zealand may not go the distance. This is on for drivers who are prepared to engage with the technology and see the value in being an early adopter.
Air conditioning: Dual climate
Audio: CD, iPod compatible
Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
Blind spot warning: No
Cruise control: Yes
Driver footrest: Yes
Gas discharge headlights: Bi-xenon
Head-up display: Yes
Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/No
Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
Lane guidance: No
Leather upholstery: Yes
Parking radar: Yes with camera
Power boot or tailgate: No
Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes
Rear ventilation outlets: Yes
Remote audio controls: Yes
Satellite navigation: Yes
Seat height adjustment: Yes
Self-parking technology: No
Split/folding rear seats: 60/40
Steering reach adjustment: Yes
Trip computer: Yes
Find a Peugeot 508 RXH HERE