Plug-in hybrid delivers swish looks, low tax and useful electric range, but rivals are bigger and better to drive
This is the plug-in hybrid version of the Peugeot 508. You’re right, we’ve seen it before – driven a prototype, no less. But final touches have been made since then, in time to reach UK driveways, near enough coinciding with new company car tax bands that will benefit PHEV and EV drivers.But first the car. It features a 178bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 108bhp electric motor on the front axle for a total system output of 222bhp. It’s part of Peugeot’s plan to offer electrified variants of every model by 2025, and you can get the same hybrid treatment in the SW estate version, too.Let’s talk fuel economy. The claimed figures are still ridiculous-sounding even on the ‘more realistic’ WLTP test cycle, as with all plug-in hybrids. Officially, the 508 Hybrid is said to achieve between 166.2mpg and 235.4mpg. But you’ve more chance of the Peugeot badge sprouting wings, liberating itself from the bonnet and slapping you around the face. On our test route, it got closer to 40mpg.It will be lower still once the battery is depleted, and to recharge it takes two hours from a 7kW charger – but you’ll have to pay extra on any trim level to be able to charge at that rate. Stingy, right? Otherwise, it takes seven hours from a three-pin plug or four hours from a Type 2 charger with a Mode 3 cable. Rapid charging isn’t available.Perhaps the more salient figure is the electric-only range, of 33-39 miles. Again, a little optimistic, but even if it’s closer to the 30-mile mark, as we expect, that’s still long enough to electrify plenty of commutes.And then, of course, there’s the official CO2 emissions. Puffing out 29g/km will certainly appease the company car tax gods. The new benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bands kicking in on 6 April mean running a 508 Hybrid as a company car can cost you half as much as a 1.5-litre petrol (150g/km) Ford Mondeo.Sounds good – unless you’re the sales rep who’s just ordered that Mondeo. Sorry. But is there more to like about the 508 than just its CO2 emissions?