Driving the Peugeot 508 e-HDi 112By Chris Walsh
March 29, 2012
Rather deliberately, Peugeot are quick to mention that the majority of their 508 sales will come from business and corporate fleet customers. Peugeot then go on to say that “These customers are drawn increasingly to spacious, timeless and efficient cars: efficient in terms of responsiveness, but also and not least in terms of greater efficiency”.
Of course they are. Trouble is, if you were to break down this nonsensical bout of buzz-word bingo, most people would agree that the 508 e-HDi is a very efficient car but saying that it is “...efficient in terms of responsiveness...” to my mind, is another way of saying “...that it might be a bit boring..."
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And if I’m being ultra-critical of the 508 e-HDi, I would have to say that it is. But, I must also be realistic. Any car that returns 67.2mpg (combined) and chucks out a mere 109 g/km of CO2 is never going to set the M25 on fire. So with the performance element aside, what else can you expect of the car.
Well, as mentioned the 508 e-HDi is incredibly kind to the environment. So much so, that even once your beloved 508 expires, it has been designed to be as environmentally conscious as possible by using loads of recyclable materials across the board.
Just to make this clear, the dash isn’t made out of toilet rolls and coke cans. The 508 is actually a very comfortable, relaxing and pleasant place to be that bathes you in just the right ambiance from what is, these days, regarded as a good-quality French car.
It’s quiet too. Motorway journeys are joy to behold as all the usual sound-related niggles are magnificently kept at bay. All except the stereo’s. The RD5 radio/CD player with USB box that comes with the ‘Active’ spec is not the best. I genuinely fiddled around with all the treble/bass/loudness dials possible and I still failed to find any satisfactory combination at all. It turns out that I am just as fussy with my ear’s as I am with my eyes.
If you would allow me one more gripe then it would be squarely aimed at the automatic gearbox – confusingly known as the ‘electronically controlled manual gearbox’. It’s got way too much engine braking built in, which I’m sure the technicians at Peugeot could logically explain why this would be. But unless you plan to drive around at 2,000rpm all day (and I don’t) your going to find it pretty jolty, indecisive and displaying a little too much Gallic flare, so get the manual.
From here, my problems end with the 508 e-HDi and I’m left championing the many remaining good bits. In reality, if you are looking for a safe alternative to the usual Germanic carbon-busting alternatives, then the 508 e-HDi really is worth more than a look.
Model: Peugeot 508 e-HDi 112 Active
Price From: £21,050 (otr)
Power: 112 bhp
0-62: 11.9 seconds
MPG: 67.2 (combined)
CO2 emission: 109 g/km
2011/2012 VED: £10pa (1st Year £0)