Space and comfort -

the final frontier

Peugeot 508 RXH, front
Peugeot 508 RXH, head on
Peugeot 508 RXH, side
Peugeot 508 RXH, rear
Peugeot 508 RXH, overhead
Peugeot 508 RXH, interior

ONEof my sad fascinations are the wanderings of Voyager 1 and 2 space craft as they boldly go where no 1970s domestic appliance has gone before.

Voyager 1 is the probe which captures the imagination. It has a rendezvous with a star in 40,000 Earth years which may well coincide with the completion of work on the M6 and M5.

It will drift within 9.3 trillion miles of the Camelopardalis constellation or in real terms about as close as you get to a decent sandwich at the services.

Currently it is over 18 light hours from home, somethingbest expressed as the time it takes to clear M6 junctions 18-20.

What this means is that when its driver, Ken, puts on the bedroom light we don't see its dim glow for 18 hours by which time, of course, he has got up again.

Watching the digit counters clock up the kilometerage of both craft is sobering. The speed is hard to comprehend yet it took 34 years for the furthest Voyager to clear the solar system having, like a rural bus service, made a few stops in places where nobody lives.

Two thoughts occur. One is that you would need plenty to occupy the mind, there can only be so many times you can play that gold recording of 70s classics welded to the outside and the other is the exceptional range its engine must have.

Clearly to reach for the stars takes the patience of a man fishing in a puddle and the sort of diesel propulsion Peugeot fits to the rather enjoyable 508 RXH Blue HDi.

First let us get something clear. This RXH is not, like the original hybrid version, a 4x4. What leads to some confusion is that this front-wheel drive estate is given the same mud-sugestive style items as the AWD version.

So why do you want one? Well plenty of reasons, really. For a start it has two-litres and 178bhp with a six-speed automatic gearbox unavailable on the standard SW estate. This mean good mid-range performance and far from sluggish acceleration with 62mph arriving in 8.9 seconds.

To that add the appeal of claimed combined consumption of 60mpg and just £30 a year tax and you are looking at a high-capacity estate car which is economical to run and over £4,000 cheaper at £30,895 than the hybrid.

Peugeot intends upmarket Audis, Mercs and BMWs to be challenged by the RXH and the interior quality makes that clear; electric seats, a panoramic roof, plenty of leg and luggage room and all well put together.

Out on the motorway, that is without ambitious new 50mph limits while the traffic is doing zilch, all is peace and refinement. There is little noise from below and none to speak of from wind. More taxing roads are not its home turf, not unsurprising for one so big.

There are over 31 million cars on Britain's roads and on a recent drive from South Devon to Lancashire I was behind them all. Eight hours to travel 300 miles is indicative of our inadequate motorway system. And don't talk trains. There are none with seats available after this toytown ‘service' passes Trumpton.

Which left me with ample time to examine the standard equipment.

On a practical level there are parking warnings and cameras and all the expected idiot-proof driver aids and a motorised tailgate. Inside sat nav is standard and housed in the seven-inch touch screen along with phone, connectivity and entertainment. Directions are repeated on a colour head up display.

On the downside the stop-start system is sluggish and means no quick getaway at the lights and on some damp surfaces there was a fair bit of wheelspin.

As for the Voyager's final frontier it is either a long way away or very small. Frankly, given the time it will take to get there, it may as well be on the M5.

LATEST Peugeot NEWS

HOT on the heels of its success in the booming crossover market, Peugeot is...

Read more View article

AN all-new version of Peugeot's 508 estate car will be available from January...

Read more View article

THERE is a lot of Groundhog Day around the cars game at the moment.You got to...

Read more View article

LATEST NEWS

Google+