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PEUGEOT 508 GT FASTBACK PLUG-IN HYBRID

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PEUGEOT 508 GT FASTBACK PLUG-IN HYBRID
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PEUGEOT 508 GT FASTBACK PLUG-IN HYBRID

By ALISTAIR KENNEDY

Peugeot 508 PHEV is the French company’s first electrified passenger car.

Originally offered as a four-door sedan or five-door station wagon, the Peugeot 508 has been on sale in Australia since July 2011. It fitted into the space between the smaller 407 and larger 607, effectively replacing both cars.

The second generation 508 was launched in 2019 but didn’t arrive here until August 2021 and featured Peugeot’s first-ever plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain.

While there is a large choice of engines and equipment levels available overseas for the 508, only three models are available here, all with the top-grade GT variant and with the choice of Fastback or Sportswagon bodies and 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines.

The 508 GT PHEV only comes as a Fastback, the engine-only 508 GT is offered in both body styles.

STYLING

PEUGEOT 508 GT FASTBACK PLUG-IN HYBRID

2022 Peugeot 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid.

The relatively small chequered radiator grille has chrome edge trim with the iconic Peugeot Lion symbol in the centre and 508 lettering above it at the front of the bonnet. There are twin headlights on either side above long curved turn indicators. ‘GT’ badges on the C pillar complete the car’s ID.

The PHEV has the fuel filler on the right rear panel and the battery charge point on the left.

The rear is even more attractive, with triple tail and brake lights each containing three vertical bars that rolls across when activated.

INTERIOR

PEUGEOT 508 GT FASTBACK PLUG-IN HYBRID

2022 Peugeot 508 GT Fastback Plug-In Hybrid.

Although the latest 508 is lighter, lower and shorter than its predecessor it actually provides greater interior space. Not to the extent of similarly sized SUVs but enough for reasonable occupant comfort.

The 508 comes with the latest version of the Peugeot i-Cockpit which combines the small sport steering wheel with a large head-up instrument panel and central infotainment touch screen, blended together and ergonomically positioned.

The seats are quilted Nappa leather throughout with both front seats powered, heated and with a multi-point massage function.

Rear seat space is borderline with just enough legroom but restricted headroom for taller passengers.

Boot space in the GT and GT PHEV Fastback is 487 litres with all seatbacks in place, expanding to 1537 litres with them folded. The Sportwagon increases these capacities to 530 and 1780 litres respectively. Powered tailgate is standard.

POWERTRAINS
The 508 PHEV combines a 133 kW 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine with an 11.8 kWh Lithium-ion battery and 81 kW electric motor mounted on the front axle for a combined power output of 165 kW.

The two non-hybrid 508 models are powered by a high-output version of Peugeot’s 1.6-litre, turbo-petrol, four-cylinder engine developing 165 kilowatts of power and 300 Newton metres of torque.

All variants are mated to an all-new Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission.

SAFETY
Standard across the 508 range are six airbags; enhanced ABS brakes; dynamic stability control; camera and radar activated emergency braking; blind spot detection; adaptive cruise control with stop and go function; lane departure warning; lane keeping assistance with road edge detection; driver attention alert; automatic high beam; IsoFix child seat mounts in the outer rear seats; speed sign recognition and speed limit warning; forward collision warning; electronic anti-skid system; and 180-degree rear-view camera.

INFOTAINMENT

All variants come with a 10-inch high-definition touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver.

Embedded 3D satellite navigation is standard including voice recognition. There’s also smartphone mirroring for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both wired as well as two USB sockets in the front centre console and two more in the rear console plus 12V sockets, including one in the boot.

Sound is through a FOCAL 10-speaker premium system with dedicated amplifier and subwoofer. DAB digital radio is available for those who live in a capital city.

DRIVING
Low-slung styling can make it a bit awkward for taller occupants but it’s a sporty-ish car so that’s to be expected. Once seated though the seats are comfortable and supportive

Although the small squared-top sports steering wheel isn’t to everyone’s taste we loved it not only for its feel but also because it provides an unobstructed view of the digital instrument panel.

One of our least-favourite features in most new releases is lane correction which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s steering, often quite vigorously, to keep it in the centre of the lane. While we normally turn the feature off before we start our test, we found the correction in the 508 quite subtle and were more than happy to let it do its job.

We love driving electric cars with their sharp, smooth and silent acceleration and the 508 PHEV provides plenty of that when it’s in EV mode.

Out on the open road the 508 is in its element with the ride and handling that has always made Peugeots so popular with keen drivers. The GT tag is used far too often in current cars and in most cases is meaningless. No so in the 508 GT because it is far closer to being a Grand Tourer capable of cruising long distances through interesting drive routes.

With our JetCharge Wallbox we were able to fully charge the small battery in the PHEV in just over three hours. Peugeot lists a battery-only range of 55 kilometres. The best we could manage, in fairly moderate driving conditions, was 40 km.

Like all the other plug-in hybrids on the market that offer pure EV driving, Peugeot lists a totally unrealistic fuel consumption figure of 1.8 litres per 100 kilometres. With the battery fully-charged we covered 100 km using 3.4 L/100km. Although that’s nearly double the listed figure it’s still very good. However, with the battery flat, and running in normal hybrid mode including battery regeneration, we averaged a less-impressive 6.4 L/100km.

SUMMING UP
If you’ve had enough of the functionality and sensibleness of your SUV and crave a bit of driving enjoyment then the Peugeot 508 could be just what you’re looking for.

It’s a superbly-crafted and stylish car that drew admiring looks wherever we went.

However, unless you can conveniently maintain a charge in the battery and limit the distances travelled, then we feel the extra $17,000 that you need to pay for the PHEV over the petrol-only equivalent GT just can’t be justified.

All Peugeot passenger vehicles come with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty extended to eight years, but limited to 160,000 km, on the battery.

Stop Press: As of the 1st of July 2022, Peugeot increased the prices on its passenger vehicles by 6.0 percent. This equates to between $3591 and $4620 on the 508. We suggest you get in quick and do some serious haggling at your local dealership.

RATINGS:
Looks: 9/10
Performance: 9/10
Safety 8/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE (prices as at 1 July 2022)
508 1.6 GT Fastback: $63,431
508 1.6 GT PHEV Fastback: $81,610
508 1.6 GT Sportswagon: $65,657
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Peugeot dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Peugeot 508 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.598 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 133 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 300 Nm @ 3000 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 1.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 40 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4750 mm
Wheelbase: 2800 mm
Width: 1860 mm
Height: 1410 mm
Turning Circle: 10.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1720 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 43 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Nissan is set to maintain a versatile approach for its Qashqai SUV, continuing to offer petrol, hybrid, and electric powertrains to cater to varying market demands. While the next-generation all-electric Qashqai is on the horizon, Australia is likely to continue with petrol and e-Power options for the time being.

Continued Production of All Powertrains

Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK will keep producing the Qashqai for global markets, complemented by production in Dalian, China, for the local market with partner Dongfeng. The Sunderland facility supplies Qashqais to over 100 countries, including Australia. Speaking to Australian media, Nissan’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Planning Officer for the AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) region, Francois Bailly, confirmed that the electric Qashqai will not replace existing models but will be produced concurrently to meet diverse market needs.

Electrification Strategy and Market Adaptation

Bailly emphasized the variability in market readiness for electrification. “The markets around the world are so diverse, there’s a speed of electrification that we could imagine different technologies at the same time in different markets,” he said. However, he did not confirm the all-electric Qashqai for Australia specifically, noting the growing but still relatively low EV market share in the region.

Current and Future Qashqai Offerings in Australia

In Australia, the Qashqai is available with two powertrain options:

  • A 110kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine.
  • A 140kW/330Nm e-Power range-extender hybrid, which pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor driving the front wheels.

For emissions-restricted markets like Europe, the Sunderland factory also builds a mild-hybrid version.

The facelifted Qashqai, expected to arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of the year, will likely retain the current powertrain options. It will feature updated exterior styling, improved cabin materials, and a new Google-powered infotainment system, although the latter is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

Investment and Production Plans

To prepare for the new all-electric Qashqai, Nissan has invested an additional £30 million ($AU57.7 million) in the Sunderland plant to accommodate the installation of heavy battery packs and high-voltage components. The Qashqai EV will share the production line with the internal combustion engine and e-Power hybrid versions, as well as the Juke small SUV and the upcoming new-generation Leaf crossover. This strategy allows for a seamless transition from the current Qashqai to the new models, ensuring continuous production of the popular SUV.

In conclusion, Nissan’s multipronged approach with the Qashqai ensures that the SUV remains adaptable to market trends and consumer needs, offering a blend of petrol, hybrid, and electric options. This flexibility positions the Qashqai to effectively meet the demands of diverse global markets, including Australia.

 

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Cadillac, the luxury arm of General Motors (GM), has reaffirmed its commitment to sedans, hinting at a future where these models could be electric. This revelation was made by Mike Simcoe, GM’s Vice President of Global Design, during a recent media roundtable. Simcoe, an Australian and former design boss of Holden, emphasized that while SUVs dominate the market, sedans remain a vital part of Cadillac’s future, potentially powered by batteries.

A New Generation of Sedans

Despite the industry’s heavy lean towards SUVs, Cadillac is preparing to introduce a new generation of sedans. These models will be a key part of Cadillac’s lineup in the coming years, according to Simcoe. “We will certainly have a sedan in the portfolio at some point in the future,” he confirmed. This statement underscores Cadillac’s intention to diversify its offerings beyond the ubiquitous SUV trend.

The Celestiq: Cadillac’s Luxury Electric Sedan

Cadillac already offers the Celestiq, an electric vehicle that it refers to as a sedan. However, the Celestiq, priced at $US340,000 ($AU520,000), is designed to compete with ultra-luxury brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This places it out of reach for most consumers, signaling Cadillac’s ambition to produce more affordable electric sedans that can cater to a broader market segment.

The Need for Affordable Electric Sedans

Simcoe indicated that while the luxury market appreciates high-end electric sedans like the Celestiq, there is a significant opportunity for more affordable electric sedans within Cadillac’s lineup. He remarked on the dominance of SUVs, calling them a “necessary evil” due to their market prevalence and practicality. However, Simcoe pointed out that many consumers, particularly those with higher disposable incomes, still desire a second vehicle that isn’t an SUV. This opens the door for sedans, especially those that are electrically powered.

Current Sedan Offerings and Performance Models

At present, Cadillac’s sedan lineup in North America includes the CT4 and CT5. These models, particularly their performance variants, are powered by twin-turbo V6 and supercharged V8 engines, aiming to rival BMW’s M3 and M5. These sedans showcase Cadillac’s commitment to performance and luxury, a tradition it aims to continue even as it shifts towards electric powertrains.

Cadillac’s Return to Australia and Electric Future

In a significant move, Cadillac announced its return to the Australian market in late 2024. This return is marked by an exclusive offering of electric vehicles, aligning with the global shift towards sustainable transportation. While Cadillac previously committed to transitioning to an all-electric lineup by 2030, recent updates indicate that petrol-powered models will continue to be manufactured into the new decade. This dual approach allows Cadillac to cater to diverse market needs while progressing towards a greener future.

Conclusion

Cadillac’s reaffirmation of its commitment to sedans, coupled with its strategic pivot towards electric vehicles, highlights the brand’s adaptive and forward-thinking approach. By continuing to innovate in the sedan segment and introducing more accessible electric models, Cadillac aims to maintain its legacy of luxury and performance. As the automotive industry evolves, Cadillac’s blend of tradition and innovation positions it well to meet the demands of modern consumers and sustain its competitive edge in the luxury market.

 

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

 

By Jeff Gibbs

In a significant achievement, BYD has set its third Australian sales record in four months, with close to 2000 electric vehicles sold last month. The momentum is set to increase further with the introduction of a new range of hybrid cars.

Record-Breaking Sales Record Performance

BYD’s sales in Australia continue to soar, driven by the growing demand for Chinese-branded cars. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported that 1914 BYD electric vehicles were sold in May 2024, marking a 32% increase compared to May of the previous year. This remarkable performance underscores BYD’s rapid expansion and acceptance in the Australian market.

Upcoming Hybrid Models

The boost in BYD sales is expected to be further amplified by the upcoming launch of a new range of plug-in hybrid vehicles. This range includes a family SUV, the Sealion 6, and a utility vehicle (ute), both of which were announced last month. Although deliveries of the Sealion 6 plug-in hybrid SUV have not yet started, anticipation is high, and its introduction is expected to drive sales even higher.

Top Sellers and Market Dynamics

In May 2024, the majority of BYD’s reported sales were electric vehicles, with the Seal sedan leading the pack at 1002 units sold. This was followed by the Atto 3 with 737 units, despite a year-on-year decline of 49%, and the Dolphin with 175 units. BYD’s previous best monthly sales were recorded in March 2024 with 1622 deliveries, and in February 2024 with 1549 vehicles.

Despite BYD’s impressive performance, Tesla remains a formidable competitor, delivering nearly twice as many cars as BYD in May 2024, totaling 3567 vehicles. However, BYD’s sales trajectory is notable, with a 67% increase over the first five months of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year. This growth positions BYD to potentially surpass 20,000 deliveries by the end of the year, though this falls short of their goal to double sales year-on-year.

Rapid Market Penetration

BYD’s rapid market penetration is unprecedented for a new automotive brand in Australia. It took BYD just one year and seven months to report more than 1900 new vehicles sold in a month. In contrast, other emerging brands such as MG, LDV, and GWM took significantly longer to achieve the same milestone, highlighting BYD’s exceptional growth rate.

Industry-Wide Trends

The rise in electric vehicle deliveries in Australia is part of a broader trend. Year-to-date, electric car sales have increased by 26.8%, totalling 40,636 vehicles. This follows a temporary dip in April 2024, the first since the pandemic. Electric vehicles accounted for 8% of new vehicle sales in May 2024, reflecting their growing popularity.

Similarly, plug-in hybrid sales have surged by 118% year-to-date, reaching 6099 deliveries. Although starting from a lower base, this growth indicates a strong interest in hybrid technology among Australian consumers.

China’s Position in the Market

China remains the third-largest source of new motor vehicles sold in Australia, trailing only Japan and Thailand. This places China ahead of other major automotive exporters like South Korea, Germany, and the United States. Sales of Chinese-made vehicles have risen by 7.9% year-to-date compared to the same period last year, further solidifying China’s role in the Australian automotive market.

Conclusion

BYD’s continued success and rapid growth in the Australian market illustrate a significant shift in consumer preferences towards electric and hybrid vehicles. With new models on the horizon and a strong sales trajectory, BYD is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally friendly transportation options. This momentum not only sets a new benchmark for emerging automotive brands but also contributes to the broader adoption of sustainable technologies in Australia.

 

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