"With its powerful diesel-electric engine, the 3008 Hybrid4 is both fun to drive and very fuel efficient."
The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is a family sized people carrier offering five seats and an advanced diesel-electric engine. Power is delivered to all-four-wheels, and to make driving simple, there's a six-speed automatic gearbox. The Hybrid 4 can run on a mix of diesel electric power, and at high speeds, diesel power alone. It even offers a fully electric mode, meaning that short journeys can be made without even switching the engine on. Though the model looks identical to the standard 3008, the two cars are very different under the skin. As well as being faster, the diesel-electric engined Hybrid4 is more fuel efficient, more comfortable and more expensive. To make space for the batteries this car has to carry, the car also has a slightly smaller boot, it also features unique suspension that's ever so slightly firmer to help manage the hybrid engine's extra weight.
The 3008 Hybrid4 is at its most impressive coasting through town with the engine switched off, and the battery doing all the work. Driven like this, it's not just ultra fuel efficient but extremely relaxing too. In normal operation, the diesel engine drives the front wheels, while an electric engine powers those at the rear. In slippery conditions all four wheels drive at once to improve traction. Steering is light, yet accurate, and under full throttle the car accelerates extremely quickly. Brakes are powerful, but on winding roads, there's no doubt that the 3008's hybrid design and heavy battery pack makes itself felt. The car's responses are slightly slower than that of the standard model.
The 3008 is a strict five seater, but it's spacious inside, and adults can ride comfortably together in the front and rear seats. But it's the quietness of the 3008's cabin that impresses most. The hybrid system switches readily to electric only mode - and when it does the near silent progress is in sharp contrast to the soft rattle of this car's diesel engine. Gearchanges too are very smooth. Though this car's automatic gearbox is not held in high regard by testers, in the Hybrid4, its performance is greatly enhanced by the hybrid system... As you change gear, its electric motors boost power to keep the car accelerating smoothly, rather than see-sawing forward.
Peugeot says that the batteries that power its new hybrid engine will last at least 15 years, while the engine will not wear like one fitted to a conventional car - as it will run less. Rival brand Toyota, for example, has never had a breakdown related to the hybrid system with its Prius. However, as the Peugeot system is brand new, its reliability is unproven.
There's lots to admire in terms of the 3008 Hybrid4s practicality. The cabin is spacious, while the split tailgate is useful if you are loading heavy or bulky items into the boot. There are plenty of stowage bins in the cabin, and the glove box, though a little small is easy to access. Best of all, rear seats fold flat, ensuring the car can quickly be converted from family transport to spacious van. The maximum load capacity is a giant 1501 litres.
Value for money
Hybrid engines are complex and therefore expensive. Adding to that is the cost of the batteries. First examples of the car are likely to cost almost £30,000. Peugeot, however is trying to ensure that the car is at least value for money. These cars will offer satellite navigation, part leather seats and climate control as standard.
It may be an expensive purchase, but the 3008's Hybrid4's running costs are set to be among the lowest in the class. If you plump for the entry level 99g/km economy model, you'll qualify for free road tax and dodge London's congestion charge. What's more with combined fuel economy of around 55mpg, and low company car tax liabilities, this car will be comparatively cheap to run.