Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4
Model/Engine size: 3008 HYbrid4
Fuel: Diesel-electric hybrid
Fuel economy combined: 70.5 mpg
We’ve already driven the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 , the world’s first diesel-electric hybrid, at its launch in France, and we liked the concept; do we still have the same view after living with the car in the UK?
We had two main aims during our UK test of the car. Firstly, what is the 4×4 capability of the 3008 HYbrid4 really like? And secondly, could we come close to achieving the official 70.5 mpg?
Before we talk about our findings, let’s remind ourselves about the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 . It’s billed as offering four-wheel drive capability in a vehicle that emits just 99 g/km CO 2
and returns 74 mpg – or 104 g/km and 70.5 mpg in the case of our test car.
So far, there have been 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 should be more economical over long distances, when running mainly on its diesel engine. However the 3008 HYbrid4 also promises 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 theoretically 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 reckons that out of the car’s total range of 558 miles, 174 of these miles could be completed in ZE mode.
The company also 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.
The resulting official emissions can be as low as 99 g/km CO 2
. 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.
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 – if 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.
So, how did the 3008 HYbrid4 perform in the UK?
Well, the first thing to note is that our test car wasn’t actually the 99 g/km version, but the 104 g/km model. The difference is mainly down to the wheels, which are 17-inch on the 104 g/km version compared to 16-inch on the 99 g/km model – yes, wheels that are just one-inch larger make that much difference in terms of emissions. This variation in emissions will make a critical difference if you’re trying to escape payment of the London Congestion Charge, as the 99 g/km model is exempt, but the 104 g model isn’t.
We drove the 3008 HYbrid4 in France and we were suitably impressed. One thing we particularly wanted to check in the UK was its four-wheel drive ability. We drove it through sand on a beach in France and we made it through alive. During our time with the car in the UK we wanted to give its four-wheel drive system more of a thorough test, so we headed for the hills. The outcome was that we proved the car really does have four-wheel drive capability, and it’s more effective than you might imagine an ‘electric’ four-wheel drive system might be. The 3008 had no problem getting traction up muddy hills, even with standard tyres, and we would be confident that it would display the same capability in snow – although fitting winter tyres would significantly improve the car’s ability in snow .
So the 3008 HYbrid4 passed the four-wheel drive system test. However, we did have slight one problem – we broke the car. We’ve had press cars for six years and we’ve never broken one before, although we came close when we drove a Range Rover Evoque up a mountain. We’re well aware that the 3008 HYbrid4 isn’t an off-roader, so we demonstrated our best off-road driving skills while testing the four-wheel drive system and we made it safely back down from the hills with no problems.
With the tarmac road just twenty feet away we evidently switched off our concentration levels, and on a flat, gravel track on which we’ve driven numerous 4x4s, we somehow managed to get the front wheels in a very shallow drainage ditch running across the road, at the same time that an inconveniently-positioned stone appeared in front of the car. Because the 3008 has a very long and low front overhang, the result was a small but very obvious dent in the chrome strip running along the bottom of the front bumper. So although the car may have 4×4 traction to help in snow and wet fields, this exercise was a useful reminder that the 3008 HYbrid4 is not an off-roader.
So, with the four-wheel drive system test completed (mostly) successfully, how did the car perform in the area of fuel economy? Our test car emitted 104 g/km CO2 rather than 99 g/km, and this equates to an official combined cycle figure of 70.5 mpg. Did we achieve 70.5 mpg? No. Did we achieve a figure close to 70.5 mpg? No. Over the course of almost 1000 miles of very mixed driving, but with lots of motorways and some time off-road, our overall fuel economy result was 43.4 mpg. This is a long way short of 70.5 mpg.
This was a disappointing result, but it’s not all bad news. When we did make a conscious effort to implement eco-driving over a distance of 40 miles, we achieved 60 mpg. So this is further evidence of our experience with hybrids; they can return good fuel economy if you drive them very carefully. However if you drive them like most people are likely to in real life, then the real-life fuel economy figures are guaranteed to disappoint.
“The reason for this is that all cars today are optimised to perform well in the NEDC fuel economy tests – and hybrids even more so. So they may be economical under the unrealistic driving conditions of the test, and the more you deviate from the test cycle, the more uneconomical they get. The harder you drive them, they’re out of their comfort zone and they perform worse. Under such conditions there’s also the added weight of the hybrid system to carry around – the kerb weight of the 3008 HYbrid4 is a fairly substantial 1808 kg. The 3008 also has a large frontal area so it’s not the most efficient car to cut through the air.
During our week with the car we found that it didn’t operate on electric-only power anywhere near as much as it should have done. In most cases it stays in electric mode for a few second after starting off, and then it’s operating on the diesel engine most of the time. So the car is carrying around the extra weight of the hybrid system without it being used very often.
The car also goes into brake regeneration mode even on motorways when you lift off the accelerator, and we’re not convinced that is an efficient system – on a motorway it would be better to coast than lose speed through brake energy regeneration and then have to re-accelerate, using more energy, to regain speed.
So what else did we discover? Well, our week with the car reaffirmed our view that we’re not fans of Peugeot’s electronically-controlled 6-speed manual (EGC) ‘automated manual’ gearbox. If left in auto mode, then it can be slow to change gear – although it’s much better when mated to the hybrid system than it is in non-hybrid models as the electric motor helps to fill the pauses between gear changes. At least if you opt to use the paddle shifters to change gear manually, you’re in charge of the gear changes. Combining the manual-shifting with Sport mode gives you the most responsive set-up for the car. Without manual shifting the revs climb quite high in Sport mode and so it’s not as relaxing as leaving the car in Auto.
The 3008 HYbrid4 is generally comfortable, spacious, and it has a high quality interior environment. Although its ride is acceptable on the French roads of the launch event, and on most motorways, UK roads do highlight a weakness with the car’s ride, as it can be very ‘crashy’ over bumps and other poor surfaces.
Another issue was that the SatNav screen kept switching itself off at critical navigation points, and didn’t save the destination, so all information had to be re-entered, after first having to choose the correct country – so it’s not the best SatNav system. And a few items weren’t in the most intuitive of places – such as the USB socket; after lots of searching we eventually found it hidden under the cover of the storage compartment between the front seats, where it would be more easily seen in left-hand drive cars than right-hand drive models.
The 99 g/km CO 2
3008 HYbrid4 costs £26,995; the 104 g/km 3008 HYbrid4 costs £28,495. Our test car had options of metallic paint (£440), leather trim (£1050), glass roof (£370), and from parking aid (£210) – taking the total to £30,565. In comparison, you can buy a conventional diesel 3008 1.6 HDi for as low as £18,995.
The 3008 HYbrid4 remains a concept that promises the best of all worlds – a large car with four-wheel drive capability together with low emissions and high miles per gallon. After a real-world test in the UK , typical driving seems likely to result in 40-50 mpg, with 60 mpg possible if you make a conscious effort to implement eco-driving.
However, regardless of actual real-world miles per gallon, company car buyers will still benefit from low company car tax liability of just 10%. And the 99 g/km version makes sense for London drivers as it could save well over £2000 per year thanks to its exemption from the Congestion Charge – and remember that the main difference between the two cars is just the one-inch smaller wheels on the 99 g/km model.
So it’s a mixed review after a real-life test of the 3008 HYbrid4. However – there is better news. The same hybrid technology from the 3008 is now available in the 508 RXH, and we think that car is much better to drive – and look at – than the 3008 HYbrid4; see our Peugeot 508 RXH review coming very soon.
Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4
Fuel economy extra urban: 72.3 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 68.8 mpg
emissions: 104 g/km
Green rating: VED band B – first year £0
Weight: 1808 Kg
Company car tax liability (2011/12): 10%
Insurance group: 26E
Power: 163 bhp (diesel) / 37 bhp (electric)
Max speed: 118 mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds