At £29,950, the HYbrid4 is far from cheap. However, the diesel-electric powertrain is extremely impressive and complements the 3008’s practical, upmarket take on the family car. We were certainly impressed by the fuel economy figures and the strong performance – but the core appeal is just how easy this car is to drive both around town and on the motorway.
The race to build the world’s most fuel-efficient hybrid is hotting up – and Peugeot has joined the grid with its innovative 3008 HYbrid4.
It’s the first contender to team diesel, rather than petrol, with electric power. This means it claims out-of-town economy of up to 74.4mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 99g/km. What’s more, ZEV (zero emission vehicle) mode means you can drive the car for three miles on battery power alone, at speeds of up to 30mph.
Auto Express was among the first behind the wheel of the new model – we drove a prototype version of the £29,950 Limited Edition variant. This model puts out 104g/km, and although it’s expensive, it’s well equipped and feels luxurious. More impressive, though, was the smoothness with which the hybrid system operated, and how easy it was to use.
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These fuss-free road manners, coupled with the 3008’s strong practicality, are the key reasons why the HYbrid4 is such an exciting entry into this sector.
Press the key into the ignition lock and twist it to ‘start’ the engine. The diesel engine drives the front wheels, with the electric motor powering the rears. To boost traction in slippery conditions, all four wheels are driven at once.
However, with anything more than a half-full battery, the diesel remains silent and allows the electric motor to do all the work. In fact, the engine won’t fire unless you press the throttle hard, or run the battery virtually empty.
The powerpack adds around 100kg to the car’s weight, and in corners, this 3008 feels more ponderous than the regular model. But as the battery is small, luggage space is barely affected – the HYbrid4’s maximum load capacity is a useful 1,501 litres.
Gearshifts are controlled by an electrically operated six-speed sequential box. We haven’t found this unit that smooth in other Peugeots, but here the electric motor manages to compensate for the loss of engine power.
When cruising on motorways, the car is very quiet, as it shuffles seamlessly between electric and diesel power. In a nod to the performance on offer, the driver can also select four-wheel-drive and sport modes using a dial in the centre console – which should prove useful on slippery roads.