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Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4

It's not the first hybrid in the automotive world, but enthusiastic fans hope that the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 has worked out its earlier noise issues. To date, there isn't a lot of proof that a diesel/electric hybrid will be more economical than a gas/electric hybrid, but perhaps the 3008 is just a bit ahead of its time.

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The engine that moves this European hybrid is a 2.0 liter 161bhp turbo-diesel with a manual, robotized six-speed front-wheel drive transmission. The powerful generator works to recharge the hydride nickel-metal battery. The battery and 36bhp electric motor are located in the back, and power the rear wheels.

This combination gives you effective four-wheel drive without the use of propeller shafts, transfer boxes and mechanical system differentials. You won't be doing much serious off-roading with the 3008, but the low emissions should attract quite a few drivers. The all-weather capabilities make it even more attractive.

The price tag on the diesel/hybrid 3008 will not attract a lot of potential buyers, since the gas model 3008 is nearly £10,000 cheaper. The diesel 3008 runs £26,995. In addition, the Hybrid4 does provide extra power, but it also carries 440 more pounds, and that's the same as having an option to carry two passengers in the rear seat.

The Auto operating mode of the 3008 uses electric and diesel power. Sport mode uses motor and engine modes for greater performance. 4X4 mode allows the motor and engine to operate similar to the way they do in Sport mode, but the stop/start is not enabled. In addition, the build-up of torque comes from the rear only, to prevent slippage of the wheels.

ZEV mode allows the car to run on electric power for as long as it can, and then it changes to Auto mode. You can auto-shift between modes while moving, but there is a one to two-second delay while the car sets up.

The 3008 is more refined than earlier prototypes, and you can smoothly restart the diesel engine. The transition between internal combustion and electric drive is also smoothly performed. You'll find that the 3008 gearbox is smoother than many robotized rivals.

When you drive in Sport mode, it will be obvious that this is indeed a performance vehicle, and it's easy to overtake slower vehicles when it comes time to pass. The handling is nimble, even though you'll notice the extra weight in the rear.

You will also be surprised, and pleasantly so, at the fun you'll have driving the 3008, whether you are on or off-road. The steering is exceptional, and makes up for the fact that you can feel the vehicle systems reining in the back wheels.

The interior of the 3008 is spacious and light, and you can load items through to the front with no problem. The instrumentation will tell you that you're in an advanced hybrid, but the seats are quite comfortable and the finishes are elegant in design. Reviewers overall have been fairly unanimous in their determination that the 3008 is a fun drive, but too expensive to allow it to appeal to common drivers, without more incentives from the government.