2010 Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4

#Peugeot

Most of Peugeot's recent showcars have illustrated an interesting idea: place a diesel engine up front, install an electric motor in the back, et voila: an all-wheel-drive diesel-electric hybrid! The idea seems to have won the French automaker over, as it's installed such a driveline in the new 3008 HYbrid4 crossover.

As has been the case with many of Peugeot's recent concepts, the hybrid all-wheel-drive system assigns each power source to a specific pair of wheels. The 163-horsepower, 2.0-liter I-4 turbo-diesel drives the front wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox, while a 37-horsepower electric motor is connected to the rear wheels. Peugeot's engineers also managed to squeeze a large nickel metal hydride battery pack underneath the rear load floor.

In normal operation, the 3008 HYbrid4 runs off the electric motor at low speeds, gradually switching to the diesel four-cylinder as velocity increases. For repeated stretches of low-speed driving, a selectable ZEV mode shuts off the diesel engine and switches to the electric motor -- perfect, Peugeot says, for using the 3008 as a city runabout.

Should drivers encounter slick or challenging road conditions, a 4WD setting mode forces both the diesel engine and the EV motor to be operate simultaneously, rendering the 3008 an all-wheel-drive vehicle. A sport setting operates in a similar fashion, but is primarily designed to improve off-the-line acceleration, and ultimately reduces the electric motor's assist as speeds increase.

Although diesel hybrid vehicles are expensive to manufacture, we think Peugeot's on to something -- at least for the CO2-conscious, diesel-loving European market. The automaker claims the 3008 HYbrid4 returns 74.4 mpg on the European combined test cycle, while carbon dioxide emissions are cut thirty percent to 99 grams per kilometer.

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