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Peugeot 508 2022 review: GT Fastback PHEV

The 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid is Peugeot's first electric car to come to Australia. (Image: Richard Berry)
  • DrivetrainPlug-in Hybrid
  • Battery Capacity11.5kWh
  • Battery typeLi-ion
  • Electric range (WLTP)55km
  • Plug TypeType 2
  • AC charge rate3.7kW
  • Electric motor output81kW/320Nm (fr)
  • Combustion engine output133kW/300Nm
  • Combined output165kW/360Nm
  • Petrol efficiency1.6L/100km
Complete Guide to Peugeot 508

Is it really the right time to get an electric car? Peugeot thinks so because it’s just launched its first electric vehicles in Australia – the the 3008 GT Sport Plug-in Hybrid SUV, and 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid I’m reviewing here.

When we say electric, we’re talking hybrids – the type you need to plug into a charging point to fill the battery.

I have another question for you, though. Is it the right time to buy a plug-in hybrid like this? You’ll know the answer to that one after you read this review.

 

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The Peugeot 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid lists for $76,990. That makes it the most expensive in the line-up with Peugeot asking about $17,000 more for this hybrid than the petrol-only version of the 508 GT Fastback.

It’s a lot of money to ask when you consider you’re getting pretty much exactly the same standard features.

Coming standard is a 10-inch media display, a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio, sat nav, a 10-speaker Focal stereo, dual-zone climate control, power adjustable and heated front seats, and leather upholstery.

The Peugeot 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t have many direct rivals in Australia. (Image: Richard Berry) The Peugeot 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t have many direct rivals in Australia. (Image: Richard Berry)

There’s also 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and running lights, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, auto parking, a proximity key, and tinted rear windows.

The Peugeot 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t have many direct rivals in Australia. Kia’s Stinger is only available with a petrol engine but costs about the same amount of money.

Peugeot 508 has 18-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Richard Berry) Peugeot 508 has 18-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Richard Berry)

There’s BMW’s 330e PHEV which lists for about $87K and Mercedes-Benz’s C300e ($84K), which are about 50mm shorter in length but closest in price for each brand.

The Lexus ES Hybrid isn’t the plug-in type, but it could be a good alternative, and the top-of-the-range version is less than $79K.

Also, have you thought about a fully electric car? A Polestar 2 or a Tesla Model 3 costs about the same amount as the Peugeot 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

Peugeot couldn’t make something boring and ordinary if it tried. The cars from this brand have a premium feel and nearly always avant garde styling that owners love and expect.

The 508 is Peugeot’s flagship and has a powerful and wide stance, with fastback styling that gives it a sporty, slippery look.

That low-slung appearance is accentuated more by its chrome-studded narrow grille and scoop-like bumper design.

The only features that give away that this is the plug-in hybrid are the two 'fuel' flaps – one for petrol and the other for electricity, and 'Hybrid' lettering on each C-pillar.

Peugeot has been generous with storage and the flip-top panel next to the shifter is a good example of that. (Image: Richard Berry) Peugeot has been generous with storage and the flip-top panel next to the shifter is a good example of that. (Image: Richard Berry)

The cabin is like a showcase of everything Peugeot thinks should be done differently. There’s the tiny and angular steering wheel, the gear shifter which you might mistake for a handbrake and the high-placed digital instrument cluster.

I like the integrated centre screen, too. It looks high quality and so do the silvery buttons that run under it to access climate control, navigation, media and phone connection.

It looks high quality and so do the silvery buttons that run under it to access climate control, navigation, media and phone connection. It looks high quality and so do the silvery buttons that run under it to access climate control, navigation, media and phone connection.

The functionality of the screen is a different story, and I’ll get to that below, but topping off this beautiful cabin are the sumptuous leather seats.

How practical is the space inside?

If you’re in need of a roomy cabin, then the Peugeot 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid might not be the right car for you.

It’s not just that the swooping roofline means the ceiling is low (I hit my head nearly every time I swung myself in and out) but the design of the interior is styled to be snug, as if each occupant is in their own pod.

While the cabin is snug, Peugeot has been generous with storage and the flip-top panel next to the shifter is a good example of that.

There are also two cupholders up front and two in the rear in the fold-down armrest. There are big door pockets and a large centre console box, too.

You can fold the seats down flat and open up the entire cabin for cargo, and in this case its capacity is a handy 1537 litres. (Image: Richard Berry) You can fold the seats down flat and open up the entire cabin for cargo, and in this case its capacity is a handy 1537 litres. (Image: Richard Berry)

The boot has a 487-litre cargo capacity, which is relatively large, and the fastback hatch makes the opening wide, but you’ll have to be inventive with carrying taller items.

The great thing about hatches and fastbacks is that with no fixed parcel shelf you can fold the seats down flat and open up the entire cabin for cargo, and in this case its capacity is a handy 1537 litres.

For charging there are four USB ports and a two 12V power outlets. 

There is a functionality problem with the screen in that nearly everything has to be accessed through it from climate control to car settings. Thankfully there’s a regular volume knob for the stereo.

What are the key stats for the powertrain?

The 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid has an 81kW/320Nm electric motor at the front axle and a 147kW/300Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine driving the front wheels. The total combined output is 165kW/360Nm.

The acceleration isn’t terrible with 0-100km/h coming in just 8.2 seconds, but it could be a lot better by adding a second electric motor to the rear axle as per the Peugeot 3008 GT Sport Plug-In Hybrid SUV.

This 3008 GT Sport Plug-In Hybrid with its two motors and the same 1.6-litre petrol engine has a whopping 222kW/520Nm, with 0-100km/h coming in 5.9 seconds. (Image: Richard Berry) This 3008 GT Sport Plug-In Hybrid with its two motors and the same 1.6-litre petrol engine has a whopping 222kW/520Nm, with 0-100km/h coming in 5.9 seconds. (Image: Richard Berry)

This 3008 GT Sport Plug-In Hybrid with its two motors and the same 1.6-litre petrol engine has a whopping 222kW/520Nm, with 0-100km/h coming in 5.9 seconds.

Why is it that the family-orientated practical SUV can leave the sporty looking fastback in its dust? Fastback? More like Slowback.

An eight-speed automatic transmission shifts gears almost seamlessly.

How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge/refuel?

We’re going to go into some juicy electric detail in a moment, but the summary is: the 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid needs charging regularly. If you're not driving it you should be charging it, because it’s not only slow to charge but the electric range is small.

Now for the details.

The reason why this plug-in hybrid takes so long to charge is due to the size of its on-board charger – it has a 3.7kW inverter. So even using a fast charger can take more than four hours to charge fully.

The battery has a capacity of 11.8kWh and that gives the car a range of up to 55km, according to Peugeot.

The battery has a capacity of 11.8kWh and that gives the car a range of up to 55km, according to Peugeot. The battery has a capacity of 11.8kWh and that gives the car a range of up to 55km, according to Peugeot.

The hilly area I live in used the range faster than expected and I noted that after less than 50km my test car’s range was almost down to zero.

After a combination of open and urban roads Peugeot says the 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid should use 1.8L/100km.

This, of course, is if the battery is fully charged. And I found that when charged up my mileage was 2.1L/100km which is outstanding.

If that battery runs out completely the fuel economy skyrockets to close to 10L/100km. If that battery runs out completely the fuel economy skyrockets to close to 10L/100km.

But, if that battery runs out completely I found the fuel economy skyrockets to close to 10L/100km.

It’s for these reasons that I've given the 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid a low score for energy consumption.

In Australia where distances are vast and people don’t blink an eye at travelling 300-500km a day, your battery may be empty before you even make it out of your suburb.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

While the 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid has not yet been given an ANCAP safety rating it was awarded the maximum five-star score from the equivalent European NCAP organisation in 2020.

Coming standard is auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping technology, blind-spot monitoring, camera system, and front and rear parking sensors.

Coming standard is auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping technology, blind-spot monitoring, camera system, and front and rear parking sensors. (Image: Richard Berry) Coming standard is auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping technology, blind-spot monitoring, camera system, and front and rear parking sensors. (Image: Richard Berry)

It’s disappointing that the safety systems don’t also include rear cross-traffic alert and reverse AEB.

For child seats there are three top tether anchor points across the second row along with two ISOFIX mounts.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid is covered by Peugeot’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

The battery is also covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty.

Servicing is recommended annually or every 20,000km. Service prices are capped, and you can expect to pay $2638 over the course of five years, for an annual average of $528.

What's it like to drive?

The 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid is a superb car to drive thanks to great steering, plus a comfortable, composed ride and good handling.

What’s missing is swift acceleration that would suit the look and feel of this fastback so well.

The 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid is a superb car to drive thanks to great steering, plus a comfortable, composed ride and good handling. (Image: Richard Berry) The 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid is a superb car to drive thanks to great steering, plus a comfortable, composed ride and good handling. (Image: Richard Berry)

The transition from engine to motor is incredibly smooth, but with the electric range running out so quickly all I often heard was the petrol engine struggling to tow a heavy car full of batteries and a motor around.

As for downsides? Visibility is compromised by thick, short A-pillars and a narrow windscreen and rear window, while the steering wheel’s odd shape and tiny size feels strange to use, but you will get used to it.

  • DrivetrainPlug-in Hybrid
  • Battery Capacity11.5kWh
  • Battery typeLi-ion
  • Electric range (WLTP)55km
  • Plug TypeType 2
  • AC charge rate3.7kW
  • Electric motor output81kW/320Nm (fr)
  • Combustion engine output133kW/300Nm
  • Combined output165kW/360Nm
  • Petrol efficiency1.6L/100km
Complete Guide to Peugeot 508

The 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid will suit you if you live in the city, travel a handful of kilometres a day, and have access to a charging point that will allow you to top up the battery whenever you’re not driving it.

Those are some pretty tight restrictions. But if you don’t adhere to them you’ll turn your amazing fuel-saving car into a heavy petrol user.

Really, the 508 GT Fastback should be fully electric with a range of 400km. Something like this would be more realistically usable.

It’s a shame because the 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid is a great car to drive and looks stunning.

$76,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

3.5/5
Price Guide

$76,990

Based on new car retail price

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