REVIEW AND ROAD TEST REPORT: PEUGEOT 3008 HYbrid4
One of the first to drive a world first, wheelworldreviews editor DAVID HOOPER puts Peugeot’s 3008 Hybrid4 to the test at a Midlands safari park – but will this new car be a roaring success?
IT’S not every day I get the chance to be one of the first to drive a world first, but that’s what happened this week on the launch of Peugeot’s new hybrid car.
You’re right, hybrids have been around for ages, but not with diesel engines they haven’t. That’s the big news, instead of using a petrol engine, Peugeot his overcome the technical challenges and fitted a 163bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine under the bonnet of its hugely popular 3008 – just as sales of diesel-powered new cars overtook those of petrol engine cars for the first time ever in the UK, despite diesel costing more at the pumps.
At the back of the 3008 Hybrid, driving the rear axle, there is a 27kW Bosch electric motor and a Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery. The two power sources are linked by a Power Train Management Unit and can work independently, or in unison.
With the 3008 HYbrid4, a rotary control which allows the driver to select one of four modes, Auto which as you might guess, automatically controls the hybrid system, ZEV, or Zero Emission Vehicle locks the car into electric mode for as long as possible, Four-wheel-drive mode which makes both power trains work together, giving the car similar off-road abilities to those of an SUV, and finally Sport mode, which remaps the engine management system to unleash the car’s full 200bhp potential, holding onto gears a bit longer before changing, giving a sportier driving experience.
There are three versions of the 3008 HYbrid4 all sharing the same powertrains, 99g, 104g and a Limited Edition version which comes with two-tone leather. The difference between the 99g and the 104g is mainly the tyre and wheel choice, with the 99g model using Energy Saver 16in tyres, while the 104g car uses 17in alloys.
So that’s the theory, but what’s it like to drive? Is the diesel-electric Peugeot as good as its petrol-electric hybrid rivals? The short answer is yes, it is! The transition from electric car to diesel engine is smooth and only slightly more noticeable than in a petrol-engined hybrid.
On the dash, instead of a rev counter there is an ECO meter which helps the driver optimise the economy by keeping the needle in the ECO zone, but in reality, this is quite difficult to do in normal driving conditions – and we did try.
We drove from the centre of Birmingham, out into the countryside – a fairly typical journey, my driving partner and I thought. At times the car was running as an electric vehicle in traffic, but soon needed the help of its diesel engine, especially if there was a slight incline.
It was interesting to watch the graphics on the dash which shows which motors are working, and how much battery power is left as we drove.
It’s generously equipped, and comes with the large panoramic glass roof and is a comfortable car in which to travel, and the boot is a sensible size.
The car accelerates quickly when asked to and is capable of getting from rest to 62mph in a respectable 8.5 seconds. The suspension felt a bit firmer than we are used to from Peugeot, and it did tend to chatter over some of the rougher road surfaces.
The battery recharges itself by recovering kinetic energy, so when you lift off the throttle, or brake, the electric motor becomes a generator. It creates a noticeable drag on the car, to the extent that I found myself actually having to apply the throttle on a downhill run, where a normal car would have rolled quite happily to the bottom. Clearly, it will also reduce brake wear as the 3008 HYbrid4 slows itself down on the approach to traffic lights, or a queue, but this means there are no brake lights showing.
The half-way point of our trip saw us taking a tour of the West Midlands Safari Park where we were treated to a short off-road section, which the car coped with very well, before seeing some rare big cats, including, appropriately enough on a Peugeot launch, rare lions.
So will this car be a roaring success? Regular readers will know my views on hybrid vehicles, their claimed mpg figures, and the real world results I’ve achieved. Peugeot claims a combined figure of 70.6mpg for the 3008 HYbrid4, but by the time we reached the safari park, we had only averaged around 42mpg overall, largely because, when driving normally, you are dragging around all the extra weight of the hybrid system, which has an effect on the car’s fuel consumption. By the end of our drive, the mpg figure had climbed to around 44mpg which is fine, but still a long way off 70mpg.
The good news, however, is that the car is very tax efficient, and Peugeot readily admits that this HYbrid4 is targeted squarely at business drivers who will only pay BIK at 10%. This is after HMRC clarified that the 3008 HYbrid4 will not incur the 3% diesel surcharge, because it is not powered solely by a diesel engine. So company car drivers will benefit from lower fuel costs, low emissions, low BIK and the driver’s company will pay lower Employer National Insurance contributions alongside an allowance for the company to offset 100% of the car’s list price in the first year, against its taxable profits. The car is also exempt from the London Congestion Charge and road tax.
For business drivers then, the 3008 Hybrid4 makes an awful lot of sense – and there is more to come from Peugeot this year.
In April, the excellent new 508SW will go on sale with the same Hybrid technology, giving it all-route ability and chunky styling (think Audi All-road) quickly followed by the 508 saloon.
A refreshed 107 is also on its way, but the other big news for Peugeot is the imminent arrival of its new 208 supermini later this year.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4
BODY STYLES: 5-door hatchback.
ENGINES: 2.0 litre HDi FAP 163 combined with 37bhp (27kW) electric motor.
PRICES: From £26,995 to £29,950.
IN THE SHOWROOM: March
All data correct at time of publishing.