Peugeot 3008 Hybrid review
|Car type||Electric range||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions|
|Plug-in hybrid||36 miles||217mpg||29g/km|
The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid is one of a raft of medium-sized plug-in hybrid family SUVs arriving in 2020, alongside its sister models the Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid, Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid and DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE. There's also the Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid, plus BMW's X1 and X2 hybrids to contend with in what's quickly becoming a very crowded field.
On paper, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid's numbers are impressive, as we've come to expect from plug-in models. CO2 emissions of just 29g/km allied to a pure-electric range of 36 miles mean a Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax rate of just 10% during the 2020/21 financial year, rising only to 11% and then 12% in the two following years. And potential fuel economy – if you regularly plug it in – is as high as 217mpg.
This 3008 is driven by the same 296bhp petrol-electric drivetrain used by the Vauxhall and DS models mentioned above. It consists of two electric motors paired with a 197bhp, 1.6-litre turbocharged engine to deliver that hefty maximum output, and means the 3008 Hybrid is fast as well as potentially very frugal. This setup is known as Hybrid4, but there's also a less expensive 222bhp Hybrid version with a single electric motor (and therefore no four-wheel drive), but we've yet to drive it.
There are a number of driving modes to select, and in 'Sport' the full power of the car is unleashed, allowing for a 5.9-second 0-62mph time. The eight-speed automatic gearbox isn't the smoothest-shifting transmission we've encountered, but this 3008 can still take off like a hot hatchback when you put your foot down. There's a good deal of vibration and noise when you do so, but fortunately the engine is much quieter when driven more sedately.
You're likely to spend much more of your time in 'Electric' or 'Hybrid' mode. In the former, Peugeot says you should be able to keep going for 36 miles on power from the car's 13.2kWh battery alone without waking the engine. Doing this, the 3008 is extremely smooth, quiet and relaxing to drive – a sensation enhanced by good ride quality, even on large 19-inch alloy wheels.
In 'Hybrid' mode, the 3008 behaves more like a Toyota or Honda 'full hybrid', deciding itself whether to use electric or petrol power, or mix the two, in order to make progress as efficiently as possible. You can also hold on to battery charge until you want or need to use it – when you enter an urban area, for example. And the fact that there are two electric motors means you get proper four-wheel drive, too – although it doesn't quite turn the clearly road-biased 3008 into a Land Rover Defender rival.
In order to even get close to that headline fuel-economy figure, you need to charge up the 3008 regularly – most likely from a home wallbox that can be installed when you buy the car. Doing so takes less than two hours, which makes it easy to fit in and around a busy lifestyle. A smartphone app allows you to set charging times to take advantage of cheaper overnight electricity, while the heating or air-conditioning can be pre-set to have the car at a certain temperature for you when you leave.
From early 2020, Peugeot is offering buyers of its electrified cars six months' free subscription to the Polar Plus network. With a Polar Plus subscription, the majority of public points on the Polar network are free to use, with other charging on a per kWh basis starting at 12p per kWh.
Peugeot has made some compromises made in order to carry the battery: the fuel tank is 10 litres smaller than a regular 3008's, and boot space comes down from 520 to 395 litres. You do at least get a dedicated 25-litre area for storing the cables while on the move. And while the battery takes away space, it adds weight: 340kg, to be exact, making the hybrid 3008 feel a lot less agile through corners than its purely petrol or diesel-engined counterparts.
In practice, that means there's little inclination to use the prodigious performance we mentioned earlier, and therefore seemingly little reason to shell out the at least £43,000 demanded for the two-motor 'Hybrid4' version. In reality, it's only really going to make sense for company-car drivers.
For private buyers, the standard Hybrid is priced around £5,000 less than a Hybrid4 in the same trim level, but it's also available in a cheaper 'Allure' specification, so you can actually get behind the wheel of one for a little over £36,500, escaping the higher annual rate of VED (road tax) for £40,000+ cars in the process.
Whichever of the two you choose, you'll get the generous standard equipment, head-turning exterior styling, high-tech dashboard and comfortable interior the 3008 has become known for since its launch. You just have to be sure you can live with the practicality sacrifices, and remember that those scintillating on-paper performance figures don't necessarily translate to a thrilling driving experience.