What is it? The world's first production diesel-hybrid. Peugeot has beaten everyone to the punch with the world's first diesel-electric hybrid powertrain, and the award-winning 3008 is the first car to showcase it.
It features a 2.0-litre 161bhp turbodiesel engine up front and a 36bhp electric motor located on the rear axle. There are four driving modes – ZEV, Four-Wheel-Drive, Sport and Auto – that you switch between by turning a dash-mounted rotary dial.
Select ZEV and, provided the batteries have sufficient charge, the electric motor powers the car on its own, delivering near-silent running and zero tailpipe emissions.
Four-Wheel-Drive instructs both power sources to work in tandem to boost traction, while Sport sharpens throttle responses and speeds up shifts from the robotised manual gearbox to maximise performance.
Alternatively, you can just leave the car in Auto, which lets the car's electronic brain decide how best to optimise fuel economy and performance.
Regardless of how you choose to drive, it's a wholly impressive experience. Whenever it is called upon, the diesel engine is strong, smooth and refined, while the linear surge from the electric motor means there's little loss of momentum between gearchanges.
As a result, the robotised gearbox, which is so roundly criticised in other Peugeot models for its jerky shifts, operates more like a smooth-changing dual-clutch semi-automatic.
In order to accommodate the electric motor in the middle of the rear axle, Peugeot has been forced to swap the basic rear suspension that's fitted to other 3008s for a more sophisticated independent multilink set-up.
Unfortunately, the ride is still rather firm at low speeds, and there's a fair bit of body lean through bends. The Hybrid4 performs best on the motorway, feeling settled and stable.
Like all 3008s, the Hybrid4 features a high-quality interior with plenty of cabin space and a decent-sized boot.
Without question, the 3008 is the best hybrid we've driven to date. It's smooth, powerful and refined, and the relatively high list price is offset to a certain degree by a comprehensive standard equipment list and low running costs.
A CO2 output of 99g/km means it's exempt from road tax and London congestion charging, too, so it's an ideal motor for socially conscious families. An average economy figure of 74.0mpg means it'll appeal to the cost-conscious, too.
On the down side, because its primary fuel source is diesel, the Hybrid4 is still subject to a 3% company car tax loading, which means fleet users will be taxed on 13% of its rather steep list price.
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