Hybrid estate a clean set of wheels | PEUGEOT 107 News & FAQs

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Added: 29 Apr 2012
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PEUGEOT is about to play a trump card in the quest for low emissions by fitting its diesel electric hybrid powertrain into its executive models.

First to feature the so-called Hybrid4 technology will be the 508 estate which will be known as the RXH - and with a CO2 rating of 107g/km will be one of the cleanest estates on the market.

Priced from £33,695, Peugeot is claiming it can average 68.9mpg and with its low CO2 figure will have plenty of appeal for business users.

Not only does it attract only 12 per cent tax for company car drivers it also qualifies for 100 per cent write down allowance in its first year making it a money saver in more ways than one.

The diesel hybrid system is a world first for Peugeot and made its debut only a few months ago in the 3008 crossover SUV.

As well as the obvious appeal for fleet operators Peugeot is also hoping expanding the technology to the 508 range will also interest technophiles as well as those who want a clever multi-role vehicle and as technology goes the hybrid set up is highly sophisticated.

It uses a 163bhp two-litre diesel engine under the bonnet mated to an electric motor housed over the rear wheels.

The engine drives the front wheels while the electricity powers the rear, enabling the car to operate as an all-wheel-drive or as zero emission electric vehicle as well as a front-wheel-drive diesel.

With the motor on song a further 37bhp is available bringing the combined power output up to 200bhp – enough to give the 508 RXH a sporty feel.

Top speed is a claimed 132mph, 0 to 60 takes less than 9.5 seconds and with the extra weight from the battery pack slung towards the back of the car it’s well balanced even though the ride height is slightly raised compared to the normal 508 estate.

The car is fitted with a six-speed auto box which is smooth when left to its own devices and quick to change when used manually via paddle shifters.

At the heart of the system is a multi-mode drive selector – a rotary control on the centre console behind the rather small but neat gear lever – which enables the RXH to be switched into a variety of configurations.

There are four settings, automatic, ZEV, sport and four-wheel-drive. Leave it in auto and the car works out the optimum power blend for itself using the electric motor as required either to increase output or run purely on battery power.

The ZEV mode enables the RXH to operate only on electricity and as such has a range of about two miles without drinking any fuel at speeds of up to around 30mph before the engine cuts back in to regenerate the battery.

Sport mode increases throttle response and gear change points and the difference is very noticeable giving the car a definite kick while all-wheel-drive diverts power to every axle driving the back wheels from the motor.

As such there is extra grip for road use while off-road it is able to tackle tricky terrain as well as most soft-roaders, aided by its ground clearance of almost eight inches.

Each mode can be selected on the move – although EV will not engage if the speed is too high or the if there is insufficient battery capacity.

The RXH is fitted with stop/start and moves away under electric power in all circumstances for maximum economy yet in general use a realistic average is closer to 45mpg.

Enthusiastic driving, especially in sport mode, increases fuel consumption significantly and to get the best from the RXH it is best left in the auto setting.

A high tech display shows how the car is performing in a variety of ways and the information can be repeated in the instrument panel where there is no rev counter but a power gauge segmented to show the optimum eco-driving zone.

The RXH is well appointed with sat nav, Bluetooth and a colour head up display among standard features and on the road it rides exceptionally quietly and smoothly.

Cargo space ranges from 423 to 1,439 litres, slightly smaller than the conventional model because of the electrical components below.

Peugeot is well aware that the RXH will be a relative niche model in the 508 line up and as such it is up against the likes of Audi’s allroad estates, Subaru’s Legacy and the Volvo XC70 – all of which offer all-wheel-drive but without the benefits of the hybrid’s low emissions.

Compared to a diesel powered Audi A4 allroad with a CO2 rating of 159g/km, the difference in tax mounts up to a saving of some £1,700 a year for higher rate earners.

That is the real hook for this diesel/electric system and when the Hybrid4 508 saloon arrives in the summer its CO2 figure will be lower at 95g/km saving exec-mobile drivers even more.

Words: Chris Russon

Keywords: peugeot, 508, rxh, hybrid, estate, hybrid4, Motoring News, First Drive, latest, 508 RXH, Manufacturers, Peugeot, £30-50,000, 107