The 3008 2.0-litre HDi 150 is smooth, quiet, punchy, crisp-edged in its sound, and has little of the clatter that was once an integral part of diesel driving. The 2.0-litre, 16-valve engine’s peak power arrives at just 3750rpm, but the Peugeot offers useful urge right up to 5000rpm.

A long-legged sixth gear – over 30mph per 1000rpm – gives very relaxed cruising, helped by low levels of wind noise and surprisingly little road roar. But make the best use of the torque, which peaks from as low as 2000rpm, and the 3008 proves a keen overtaker. From a standstill to 60mph takes 9.4sec, and the way the 3008 storms up significant hills in high gears is very impressive.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The diesel engines are relaxed cruisers

Despite its more powerful combustion engine and electric assist, it’s disappointing to note that Peugeot’s 3008 Hybrid4 is little faster than the 2.0 HDi 150 when accelerating through the gears. Although the diesel hybrid’s in-gear acceleration is strong (50- to 70mph in 6th gear in 8.6sec versus 9.5 for the HDi 150, for example), it’s still only four tenths faster than the conventional car to 60mph according to Autocar’s timing gear (9.0sec versus 9.4). Blame the hybrid’s automated manual gearbox, which is slow-witted and clunky when charged with anything more than about 50 per cent throttle.

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The hybrid will appeal to fleet users via its low CO2 statistics, but those minded for real-world, high-mileage economy would be better off with the cheaper 110bhp 1.6 HDi engine, which is torquey enough to haul the 3008 along authoritatively, and can easily match the Hybrid4’s mid-40mpg economy on a long distance run.

None but the 3008’s baseline petrol engine will demand frequent gearchanging. The car’s gearshift proves easy enough to use but is hardly a joy-giving interface with its slightly vague, rubbery action. Also disconnecting the driver from the driving process is the electric handbrake, which works well enough (if noisily) and has an automatic release. But despite having a hill hold function, it’s no substitute for a proper handbrake when manoeuvring in a tight space.

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