Peugeot 508 RXH vs Audi A4 allroad

Peugeot 508 RXH vs Audi A4 allroad
Credits: Pete Gibson
9 Jul, 2012 12:00pm

High-riding premium 4WD estates have long been Audi’s forte, so can the new hybrid Peugeot upset the established order?

Hot on the heels of its first-ever diesel hybrid, Peugeot has now released a second model powered by its innovative new HYbrid4 drivetrain.

The 3008 HYbrid4 failed to make an impact on its debut back in Issue 1,203, so can the 508 RXH restore company honour? It’s the new flagship of the 508 range, so it comes with a suitably premium price tag.

Yet with a combined power output of 200bhp, the rugged ability of its four-wheel-drive powertrain, plenty of luxury kit and remarkably low CO2 emissions of 107g/km, it has what it takes to mix it with upmarket rivals such as the Audi A4 allroad.

The facelifted Audi boasts top-notch quality, rugged looks and a desirable badge. So which of our contenders will take top honours in this rough and tumble, high-riding estate encounter?

Verdict

These rugged estate cars are a rare breed. But with their understated images and light off-road abilities. they’re tempting alternatives to the increasing number of brash compact SUVs on the roads.

Our rivals look similar on the outside, and although mechanical differences underneath make them different to drive, the result was still close.

The Peugeot 508 RXH deserves recognition for bringing something different to a very conservative market, and it comes extremely close to causing an upset in this test. However, it doesn’t do quite enough to topple the Audi A4 allroad here.

Superior driving dynamics and unquestionable build quality make up for the Audi’s meagre standard kit, while the premium image means it’s still the more desirable choice even after the mildest facelift. Strong residuals and a lower price ensure the Audi is better value, too, but company buyers should look at their tax returns before dismissing the Peugeot.

The 508 RXH is one of the company’s most intriguing recent models, but it is not without its flaws. The hybrid powertrain works well in the city, but the semi-auto box and two-tonne weight hamper progress on the open road. We also have our reservations about the Peugeot’s build quality. Crippling depreciation doesn’t help, either.

Winner: Audi A4 allroad ★★★

The refreshed Audi doesn’t take risks with styling or interior design, and this lack of innovation almost sees it knocked it off top spot. Yet its reassuring build quality and excellent dynamics prove to be enough – and it retains its crown. The allroad has a softer ride and better refinement on the motorway than the Peugeot. It’s sharper to drive, too, but like the RXH, it’s hard to justify over the standard model.

2nd: Peugeot 508 RXH ★★★

The 508 RXH is the most convincing HYbrid4 model we’ve tested yet, and if it came with a more modern automatic gearbox, it could have won this test. Sadly, the on-board batteries demand a lot of compromises without delivering the promised fuel economy. They also rarely get used where the RXH is at its best – on long motorway journeys. That means the standard 508 SW is still the better choice for most buyers.

Disqus - noscript

Just thought readers of these posts might be interested to know that another publication gives the Peugeot first place. Having driven neither of them I cannot say which one is better but cynics might have predicted AE's likely preference!

What did you expect aeolus?

To be totally honest? I wouldn't buy a peugheot vs an audi that costs less though. Not enough badge weight for the pug...

Oh damn just noticed how f-ugly the audi is! Makes my stomach upset. Damn! I wouldn't buy it even for a grandpa! Looks disgusting.

Also to add to my previous comment I wouldn't buy any audi vs a BMW or merc for the same reason. Not enough badge weight. Audi is like opel for the luxury segment. Good enough cars, value etc but that is about it...

"Badge Weight". What on earth is that? Possible definition is received opinion multiplied by manufacturer's spin.

My english do take a day or two off sometimes. Can't describe it exactly?! It is how socially and globally a manufacturer is considered to be superior and more desirable vs another something that will also affect resale value etc.

So yeah audi vs peughot is unfair from the beginning.

And I wouldn't dare put audi on the same level with BMW or mercedes on most of the models and ranges.No matter what german bred mags try to feed the whole europe and such.

There have been periods when Mercedes have produced some rather poor vehicles. All manufacturers have good and bad times, except for those who are consistently mediocre! We ought to stop looking at vehicles in terms of "badge" and start judging their reality.

Audi has softer drive. Right. Peugeot hasn't and of course when Peugeo's use to have soft ride and Audi's were not then the Audi was off course better...

Of course the Allroad is an ugly pig, but what the here reviewers do not understand was that the choice of the EGC was deliberate and the best Technical choice for the RXH. Just think about it Dual Clutch would have made it much bulkier and heavier, and most importantly, thirstier thus negating the efforts to keep consumption low while presenting installation challenges. Automatic- not a smart choice where fuel consumption is concerned. Therefore EGC wins on weight, space, fuel consumption and is automated as well therefore catering for both manual and auto preferences simultaneously. Peugeot should consider the Zeroshift gearbox as an alternative or as a basis for the EGC to get the benefits of speed between shifts.

Addendum. Have we all forgotten the Peugeot 504/505 SW 4*4 Dangels or is this a case of selective amnesia?

AEX 1337
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