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Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4
Green Car Guide's Road Test of the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4
Model/Engine size: 3008 HYbrid4
Fuel: Diesel-electric hybrid
Fuel economy combined: 74.3 mpg
Green Car Guide rating: 10/10
The Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 is the world's first diesel-electric hybrid, and it offers four-wheel drive capability in a vehicle that emits just 99 g/km CO2 and returns 74 mpg.
So far, we've had lots of petrol-electric hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius. The idea behind the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 is that, as a diesel engine is 30% more economical than a petrol unit, a diesel-electric hybrid will be more economical than a petrol-electric hybrid.
In particular, a diesel-electric hybrid will be more economical over long distances, when running mainly on its diesel engine. However the 3008 HYbrid4 also offers good economy in urban areas, when it can operate in zero-emissions mode – ie. when the car runs solely on its Nickel Metal Hydride batteries and electric motor, and doesn’t need its diesel engine at all. The car can sustain such zero-emission running for over two miles before the diesel engine has to kick in. Once that happens, the hybrid battery can be recharged and it can once again operate in zero-emission mode.
Peugeot claims that the 3008 HYbrid4 will operate in zero emissions mode for around two-thirds of city driving, and perhaps more interestingly, that it will still operate in zero emission mode for one-third of the time when driving out of the city. This could equate to 174 miles out of the car’s total range of 558 miles being completed in ZE mode.
The resulting official emissions are 99 g/km CO2. This is a highly impressive figure for a relatively large crossover, and one that also has four-wheel drive capability. The 3008’s diesel engine powers the front wheels, and the electric motor powers the rear wheels. The diesel engine and the electric motor both work together to provide four-wheel drive, when up to 40% of the torque can be sent to the rear axle.
This situation occurs when the hybrid battery has sufficient charge; but even if the battery runs out of charge, despite there being no mechanical connection between the front and rear axles, the rear wheels can instead be powered from the diesel engine’s alternator. So theoretically the 3008 HYbrid4 should be able to drive all day in four-wheel drive mode – although there is less torque sent to the rear axle when running from the 8 kW alternator, so the four-wheel drive capability is reduced. Although there’s no time limit to the use of the 4WD system, it can only be used up to 75 mph.
In total, the car has four drive modes: Auto, Sport, ZEV and 4WD. Auto is recommended for the best economy in most situations, with the car deciding for itself when it should be in diesel, electric, or diesel-electric mode.
Sport allows the car to change gear more quickly and to hold on to each gear longer. If extra power is required, the diesel engine and the electric motor can work together – providing four-wheel drive.
ZEV keeps the car in electric-only mode – while the battery charge can sustain this. If you need extra response, then the diesel engine can cut in and 4WD ensures both the front and rear wheels power the car, so providing extra traction in conditions such as sand, mud or snow.
Most current petrol-electric hybrids have Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This means that if you accelerate enthusiastically, the engine revs rise, but you don’t make any directly-related forward progress, and this sensation is not to everyone’s tastes.
In the interests of efficiency, the 3008 HYbrid4 is fitted with Peugeot’s electronically-controlled 6-speed manual (EGC), or ‘automated manual’, gearbox. This is similar to automatic transmission in the sense that you can keep it in Drive and the car changes gear without the driver needing to use a clutch. But it’s like a manual in the way that the gearbox still changes gear with a pause between gears. Like a CVT, this is also not to everyone’s tastes, as it can feel slow to change gear, with a noticeable pause in between gears. You can override the automatic change by using the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, which can help things, but that somewhat defeats the object of having an automatic function.
Anyway, the good news is that in the 3008 HYbrid4, when the diesel engine loses its drive during the gear change, the electric motor ‘fills the gap’ and provides power, and this does improve the operation of the automated manual ‘box.
So how does the 3008 HYbrid4 drive?
Well, there is more good news - it drives very much like a normal diesel 3008. This should reassure people who are concerned that the 3008 HYbrid4 may be some form of new-fangled technology that they should be wary of (apart from a few extra badges, there’s also very little to differentiate the exterior of the car as being different to the standard 3008).
Of course, when you start the car, it’s likely that it won’t make any noise, as it’s probably running on electric power only. You can then pull away and drive between two and three miles at city speeds purely on electric power. This means that the car remains silent, yet it has impressive levels of torque and acceleration. We’ve driven pretty much every hybrid and electric car that exists, but it still feels strange – yet refreshing – driving an electric 3008. In order to optimise the car’s range, the effectiveness of the air conditioning is reduced when running in in electric mode.
Once the range of the hybrid’s battery has expired, the car switches seamlessly to diesel power. You'd imagine that you would notice the switchover more with a diesel engine than with a petrol engine, as diesels are generally noisier, but under most driving conditions you’re not aware of the changeover. Under hard acceleration you can hear and feel the diesel kicking in, and this is also when you’ll catch out the gearbox. Generally, it seems that Peugeot’s engineers have genuinely fixed the pause during gear changes by using the electric motors to fill the gap, and the driving experience is definitely smoother than the non-hybrid version of the 3008 as a result. However if you drive progressively in Sport mode, you’ll find that the gearbox isn’t as smooth, the revs can rise, and the engine sounds noisy.
The 3008 HYbrid4 has a 2-litre diesel engine, which develops 163 bhp. The electric motor develops peak power of 37 bhp. This gives a total of 200 bhp. In terms of torque, there’s 300 Nm from the diesel engine and a peak of 200 Nm from the electric motor. This gives good rather than blistering performance on the road, but these are decent power and torque figures, especially when looked at in combination with 99 g/km CO2 emissions and 74 mpg.
As you decelerate and brake, the car recovers the energy that would otherwise be lost, and uses it to recharge the battery. When you come to a standstill, thanks to the Stop & Start system, the diesel engine cuts out, and this certainly helps with the car’s low emission figure. It also makes it much kinder in terms of local air quality, however diesels do emit higher levels of particulate and NOx emissions than petrol. Peugeot has its FAP Diesel Particulate Filter technology which is designed to cut down such emissions. However diesels can have problems with the DPF becoming clogged up if used exclusively on short start-stop city journeys, so this car is better for longer journeys combined with occasional city use.
We tested the four-wheel drive capability of the car on the beaches of Northern France, and in front-wheel drive only, the car got bogged down in deep sand. We then switched to four-wheel drive and the car climbed out of the sand and we were on our way again. And this was in a car with just standard road tyres.
When back on the open road, the 3008 HYbrid4 drives like a regular 3008. This means that it’s a comfortable place to be, and perfectly acceptable for everyday family use. However if we did have one criticism with the standard 3008 and the Hybrid4 version, it’s that it has a large body. Apart from making it slightly uneasy in terms of its appearance from certain angles, it means that there’s a lot of bodywork with a high centre of gravity to carry through corners. If you want precision steering and race car-like suspension, then this isn’t the car for you. But overall it does a pretty good job of balancing the competing requirements of acceptable handling, the need for a comfortable ride, the requirement for a body large enough to give lots of space for a family, and the high-riding driving position of a crossover.
There is lots of room inside the 3008, and there’s minimal loss of space due to the hybrid system. This system is cleverly engineered to form part of the rear axle, and is completely stand-alone from the front engine, ie. there is no mechanical link. This means that, theoretically, Peugeot can bolt this hybrid system on to pretty much any of its existing diesel-engined vehicles. It also means that in the case of the 3008 Hybrid4, although you lose some boot space under the false boot floor, you still end up with a large flat-floored boot, accessed by a split tailgate, and the ability to fold the rear seats down. The extra components – mainly the battery - makes the 3008 HYbrid4 140 kg heavier than a standard 2-litre diesel 3008.
Up front, the dashboard is very similar to the regular 3008, so it’s visually appealing, although rather busy with lots of small buttons. In the 3008 HYbrid4 you get a rotary dial to select the driving mode, and a visual display to show what’s going on with the hybrid system. It comes with equipment such as a head-up display, which shows the car’s speed without the driver having to take their eyes off the road ahead. The top of the dashboard has a multitude of surfaces, resulting in lots of reflections on the windscreen.
One thing to be aware of is that only the base 3008 HYbrid4 model comes with 99 g/km emissions. The other option is a car with 104 g/km CO2, which could make a big difference if you want the 3008 to be exempt from the London Congestion Charge, as the 99 g/km version is exempt, but the 104 g/km version isn’t. The key reason that the higher spec model has higher emissions is down to the wheels and tyres. The base model has 16-inch wheels and low rolling resistance tyres. The higher spec model comes with 17 or 18-inch wheels and it’s the combination of the resulting poorer aerodynamics and worse rolling resistance that pushes it over the 100 g/km threshold. Our test car, as seen in the photographs, was the 99 g/km model with the 16-inch wheels. You would be quite rightly concerned that the car may have ‘big-body, small-wheels’ syndrome, but actually it looks fine. And thanks to the higher tyre wall of the 16-inch wheel, this car has a more comfortable ride than the car with the larger wheels.
The 99 g/km model also doesn’t come with sat nav as standard, but this can be specified; be aware that it’s not the most intuitive of systems.
The 99 g/km CO2 3008 HYbrid4 costs £26,995; the 104 g/km 3008 HYbrid4 costs £28,495. This may sound like a lot, but you’re getting class-leading economy and emissions from a car with four-wheel drive capability. If you go for the 99 g/km model, as well as saving on fuel costs, you’ll save on the Congestion Charge if you drive in central London, and of course there’s no range anxiety compared to electric cars that may have similar or higher prices. And although you’re paying more to buy the car than you would for a regular 3008, you will be able to sell it for more too.
You can order a 3008 HYbrid4 now, UK deliveries will be here by March 2012.
Petrol-electric hybrids were initially dismissed by many manufacturers, yet most manufacturers are now developing their own models. These cars make sense for use primarily in urban areas, but an efficient diesel is likely to be more economical on a long run. Enter the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4. It offers the potential of zero, or at least reduced, emissions in urban areas due to its hybrid capability. However it also offers the potential of increased efficiency compared to a petrol-electric hybrid on long journeys – so making it worthy of consideration for business users. It also has an attractive company car tax liability of just 13%.
In addition it offers good space for a family, and the added security of four-wheel drive. Currently, there is no other car that can offer all of this along with emissions of just 99 g/km CO2 and economy of 74 mpg - although we would need to conduct a longer-term test to see how close the car can come to delivering these figures in everyday driving.
The standard 3008 has areas of weakness including the pauses between gear changes on the model with EGC, and it’s not outstanding in terms of efficiency. The 3008 HYbrid4 overcomes these two issues and there really are few serious drawbacks to the car, therefore it joins the exclusive ranks, currently of only two other cars, that achieve a Green-Car-Guide rating of 10 out of 10. Peugeot should be congratulated for showing leadership in giving us the world’s first diesel hybrid.
Car details and fuel economy data
Fuel economy extra urban: 76.3 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 72.4 mpg
CO2 emissions: 99 g/km
Green rating: VED band A - first year £0
Weight: 1808 Kg
Company car tax liability (2011/12): 13%
Insurance group: TBC
Power: 163 bhp (diesel) / 37 bhp (electric)
Max speed: 118 mph
0-62mph: 9.1 seconds
Read our reviews of other low emission crossovers/SUVs
- Paul Clarke