Displaying items by tag: Hybrid

Faithful at-home charging can keep the plug-in-hybrid Grand Cherokee away from the gas pumps, but bringing one home won't be cheap.

Hearing the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe described as the "most fuel-efficient Jeep ever" gives us the warm fuzzies. It feels like a win for the world and makes us want to parade through an aisle at Whole Foods, high-fiving every farm-to-fork enthusiast until our palms turn red. But while the 4xe's EPA-estimated 56 MPGe and 26 miles of electric-only range are good for a Grand Cherokee, the plug-in-hybrid option is an expensive one.

That's not to downplay the effort by Jeep to reduce its wonderfully luxurious SUV's usage of gasoline. The Grand Cherokee, which was redesigned last year, is an absolute honey on the road. With a firm brake pedal, linear steering, and a smooth ride, the Grand Cherokee moves with confidence. Its lavish interior and robust four-wheel-drive system make it akin to a Kia Telluride that's graduated from off-road boot camp. Unlike its Wrangler 4xe plug-in-hybrid sibling, the Grand Cherokee 4xe is subdued and quiet at speed. At idle, however, a grumpy 46 decibels from the inline-four echo throughout the cabin.

A 270-hp turbo 2.0-liter and two electric motors bring the total output to 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, a combination potent enough to make passengers ask, "This is a four-cylinder?" (which, really, is the best compliment a four-cylinder can hope for). We noticed some hesitation when accelerating hard from low speed as the gas engine and electric motor bickered over whose turn it was.

In the Wrangler, we noted this powertrain's rocky transitions between gas and electric propulsion, although they were somewhat lost amid the Wrangler's general cacophony. In the vastly more polished Grand Cherokee, the powertrain's hesitation and its abrupt transitions stand out.

Eventually, the powertrain suffered a more serious fault, and the hybrid system went silent. As a result, we were unable to record an as-tested fuel economy, nor can we provide you with the 4xe's 75-mph highway fuel-economy results.

We were able to perform instrumented testing before the hybrid-system failure and found that the 4xe is the quickest version of the new Grand Cherokee. It springs to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and hits 100 mph in 13.9 seconds, right as it reaches a quarter-mile. That's 0.3 second quicker to 60 mph and 1.3 seconds sooner to 100 than the discontinued V-8 version. When it comes to lugging, the 4xe's 6000-pound maximum towing capacity is 200 pounds short of the V-6 and 1200 less than the dead V-8 model.

The Grand Cherokee 4xe starts at $61,660, which is $16,830 more than the base four-wheel-drive V-6 Laredo. The 4xe, though, skips the Laredo trim and is available only in Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve grades. Comparing like trims, the 4xe's upcharge over the V-6 variants with four-wheel drive ranges from $8685 to $10,010—although that can be at least partially offset by the PHEV's $7500 federal tax credit.

Our Overland test rig rumbled in with a $77,525 price tag. The two largest contributions to its bill were optional packages. A Luxury Tech Group IV ($2155) included nappa leather seats with a massaging front row, wireless device charging, and window shades for the back seats. An Advanced Protech Group III ($2235) added head-up display, night vision, and additional driver-assistance features.

This higher-trim model also had the available 10.3-inch front passenger interactive display screen. Taking the opportunity to nerd out, we connected Valve's Steam Deck handheld gaming PC via an HDMI cable while waiting for a takeout order. Although playing the video game SnowRunner in a snowy parking lot sounds ironic and fun, we found the screen to be incredibly dim, even at night with the brightness fully cranked.

Owners with short commutes may be able to avoid gas stations for months, bouncing between the workplace and home, where a typical 240-volt charging connection to the 4xe's 7.2-kW onboard charger can juice up the roughly 14.0-kWh battery in about 2.5 hours. For folks plugging into a standard wall socket, the charge could take eight to 15 hours, depending on the home’s outlet. However, footing the bill for the pricey Grand Cherokee 4xe just to avoid gas stations seems like an overpriced convenience.


2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-motor, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

Base/As Tested: $61,660/$77,525
Options: Overland trim (air springs, front tow hooks, hands-free liftgate, LED headlights, backlit door handles, heated and power folding exterior mirrors, 20-inch wheels, automatic wipers, ambient interior lighting, auto dimming rearview mirror power tilt/telescoping steering column, power-folding second row rear seats, McIntosh stereo, front-parking assist), $8015; Advanced Protech Group III (head-up display, night vision, surround-view camera, off-road camera), $2235; Luxury Tech Group IV (nappa leather seats, digital rearview mirror display, wireless device charging, massaging front seats, four-zone climate control), $2155; front passenger interactive display, $1095; Off-Road Group, (Goodyear All-Terrain tires, electronically controlled limited slip rear differential, underbody skid plates), $1095; black-painted roof, $775; Velvet Red Pearlcoat paint, $495

turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 270 hp, 295 lb-ft + 2 AC motors, 44 and 134 hp, 39 and 195 lb-ft (combined output: 375 hp, 470 lb-ft; 14.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack (C/D est); 7.2-kW onboard charger)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.9-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler All Terrain Adventure
265/60R-18 110T M+S

Wheelbase: 116.7 in
Length: 193.5 in
Width: 77.5 in
Height: 70.9 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 56/51 ft3
Cargo Volume, F/R: 71/38 ft3
Curb Weight: 5664 lb

60 mph: 5.3 sec
1/4-Mile: 13.9 sec @ 100 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.1 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.3 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 117 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 189 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.79 g

Combined/City/Highway: 23/23/24 mpg
Combined Gasoline + Electricity: 56 MPGe
EV Range: 26 mi


Source: caranddriver.com

Published in Jeep

Citroen has enriched the range of drive systems for the C5 Aircross and improved the autonomy of the existing plug-in hybrid versions of the C5 X and C5 Aircross models by 15 percent.

For starters, the C5 Aircross gets an all-new plug-in hybrid powertrain option called the 180 e-EAT8. This version comes as a replacement for the PureTech 180 model with a gasoline engine and combines a 1.6-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor.

Together they produce 182 hp (134 kW) and 360 Nm of torque.

The electric motor can independently produce up to 110 hp (81 kW). This means that it is capable of propelling the car to a speed of 135 km/h or, in other words, fast enough to drive on electricity and on the highway without any problems.

Not too far, though, given that thanks to the 12.4 kWh battery, the C5 Aircross 180 e-EAT8 can travel a maximum of 58 km on electric power alone. It should be kept in mind that with the speeds achieved on the highway, this autonomy is significantly more modest, so this model has its real ecological value when driving around the city.

With a battery that can be charged in just 1 hour 45 minutes on a 7.4kW charger, Citroen suggests that if owners can charge at home and in their office, they can complete an average daily journey by driving on just electricity.

The C5 Aircross 180 e-EAT8 is offered at a starting price of 43,650 euros.

As already mentioned, in addition to the new version, the existing 225 e-EAT8 plug-in hybrid drive has been improved in the meantime, both for the C5 Aircross SUV and the C5 X.

Both vehicles will now have additional autonomy thanks to a new battery generation with a capacity improved from 13.2 kWh to 14.2 kWh, despite having the same number of cells.

The result is a 15 percent increase in driving autonomy for both models. This means that the C5 X 225 e-EAT8 can now travel 63 km in pure electric mode, instead of the previous 55 km, and the C5 Aircross 225 e-EAT8 offers 64 km of all-electric range, compared to the previous 55 km.

Drive power remains unchanged. This powertrain also combines a 1.6-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor, and will still develop 228 hp (168 kW) in both vehicles.

Published in Citroen

As a traditional-style hybrid, this compact luxury SUV is less expensive than a plug-in but also less desirable.

Although hybrids are proliferating in the compact luxury SUV space, the 2022 Lexus NX350h is in a class of its own. Whereas those other compact luxury SUVs, including the range-topping Lexus NX450h+, are plug-ins (or PHEVs), the NX350h is a traditional-style hybrid.

Compared to a PHEV, the NX350h's much smaller, lithium-ion battery pack has only enough energy to power the SUV short distances on electricity alone, whereas its plug-in peers are all capable of traveling more than 20 miles on battery power. The old-school NX350h still delivers impressive fuel economy, though, and its more basic powertrain also keeps costs down, allowing the $42,700 gasoline-electric Lexus to take the title of most affordable hybrid in its segment.

The Price You Pay

That said, going heavy on the options can quickly cut into the cost-effectiveness of the NX350h, with our Nori Green Pearl test vehicle wearing $13,630 in options. The priciest was the $7450 Luxury package, which added heated and ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering column, ambient interior lighting, a 10.0-inch head-up display, and a massive 14.0-inch infotainment screen with in-dash navigation in place of the standard 9.8-inch display.

HIGHS: Least-expensive hybrid in its segment, comfortable ride, quality interior.

While both infotainment options feature physical knobs for adjusting the temperature of the dual-zone automatic climate-control system and the audio volume, neither includes a physical control for audio tuning or a dedicated homepage, the lack of which makes navigating through the system's menus an unnerving experience. As Steve Krug writes in his book Don't Make Me Think, a homepage is like "a North Star," providing a comparatively "fixed place" to return to in a digital environment that otherwise requires users to remember where they are in the setup's "conceptual hierarchy [to] retrace [their] steps."

Though it vastly improves upon the maddening touchpad interface of the outgoing model, the latest NX's touchscreen system is not without its flaws. This sentiment also applies to the NX350h's powertrain.

Driving Dynamics

The all-wheel-drive NX350h packs an additional 45 horses compared to its predecessor, extracting a total of 239 horsepower from its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and trio of electric motors. (There are two up front—one of which connects to a planetary gearset to mete out the combustion engine's power in a manner that mimics a belt-driven continuously variable automatic transmission—and one mounted at the rear axle.) Factor in a curb weight of 4062 pounds, 151 fewer pounds than the last NX300h we tested, and it's little surprise the 2022 NX hybrid is also a good deal quicker.

Accelerating to 60 mph is a 7.6-second affair, while the run from 50 to 70 mph happens in 5.0 seconds, figures that cut 0.5 and 0.6 second from those of the aforementioned NX300h. Granted, it can't keep up with the 275-hp NX350 or the 302-hp NX450h+. (The turbo four-cylinder NX350 hits the mile-a-minute mark in 6.6 seconds and accelerates from 50 to 70 mph in 4.5; for the NX450h+ F Sport, those times are 5.6 and 3.8 seconds, respectively.) Still, the NX hybrid is less of the slowpoke it once was and now packs acceptable punch for merging onto freeways and passing at highway speeds.

Use all of that performance, however, and the NX350h lets more of the four-cylinder engine's grating grumble enter the cabin. The 75 decibels we recorded under flat-foot acceleration exceeded both that of the NX300h and the Toyota Corolla Hybrid by 1 decibel.

Avoid pinning the accelerator, though, and the interior of the NX350h is appropriately tranquil. Soft springs make for a cushy ride that further contributes to the sense of repose. That softness comes at the expense of body control, as the NX350h wallows through turns and nosedives under braking. Although innocuous enough in day-to-day driving, these motions underscore the fact the NX350h favors a comfortable ride over engaging responses. The nose-heavy Lexus understeers at the limit, and the optional 20-inch Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02 run-flat tires squealed shrilly as the NX350h circled our skidpad at 0.79 g—0.02 g less than its two NX siblings and its NX300h forebear.

Stomp on the left pedal at 70 mph, and the SUV comes to a halt in a class-competitive 180 feet. In non-emergency braking, though, it was difficult to smoothly bring the NX350h to a stop. Blame the pedal's unpredictable action as it switches from regenerative to mechanical braking—particularly in low-speed stops, such as at neighborhood stop signs. Instead of a seamless handoff between its two braking systems, the NX350h suddenly slows at a far greater rate once the mechanical binders take over stopping duties from the electric motors' regenerative function. That awkward modulation is a surprising misstep given that Toyota has been developing and producing hybrids for nearly a quarter of a century.

Dollars and Cents

What the NX350h lacks in grace, it makes up for by way of its low cost of entry. Only devoted plugger-inners whose daily commute is less than the plug-in's range will find a cost savings. Otherwise it will be decades before the additional $14,600 outlay for the 450+ is recouped. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, the NX350h returned 34 mpg, missing the EPA's estimate by 3 mpg.

LOWS: Four-cylinder engine gets shouty at higher revs, not a sporting bone in its unibody, clumsy handoff from regenerative to mechanical braking.
Even the segment's most affordable PHEV, the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, is more expensive by $10,305. This does not mean consumers have no reason to choose vehicles such as the Corsair Grand Touring and NX450h+, the latter of which includes a number of dynamic enhancements over the NX350h.

However, it does mean the NX350h, as the least expensive hybrid in its segment, better meets the needs of buyers looking to purchase a hybrid compact luxury SUV as a matter of financial prudence. It may be unexciting and—in some areas—unpolished, but the 2022 Lexus NX350h is arguably a more sensible hybrid option than better-performing PHEVs.

Source: caranddriver.com

Published in Lexus
Tagged under
Sunday, 14 August 2022 04:21

2023 Kia EV6 GT Is the Quickest Kia Yet

This double engine EV hybrid even has a float mode.

The new Kia EV6 GT is set to end up in some exceptionally recognized organization. The turned-up rendition of Kia's moderate size electric hybrid is a zero-outflow muscle vehicle with pull yield that beats a few a lot pricier contributions. This family hauler puts out 577 drive across its two engines, which ought to convey a 60-mph time in the low threes. And keeping in mind that most electric vehicles have speed limiters set low because of reasons of both reach and reasonableness, the EV6 GT is equipped for 161 mph. Likewise, it has a float mode.

Riding on Hyundai-Kia's profoundly cutting-edge E-GMP stage, the GT vows to be stunningly smooth by the stout norms of its fragment, weighing in at a guaranteed 4780 pounds. Besides, this stage can convey ultraquick DC quick energizing paces of to 240 kW — adequate to recharge the moderately little 77.4-kWh battery pack from 10 to 80 percent in a short time at a 350-kW DC quick charge station, as per Kia.

Close to the all-wheel-drive EV6 GT-Line that sits just underneath the EV6 GT in the order, visual qualification is restricted; the GT most certainly doesn't yell about its additional presentation. The front and back guards have been unobtrusively changed, 21-inch wheels are standard (important to fit around bigger brake circles), and a liftgate spoiler is fitted. Inside, the GT gets semi-pail sports seats managed in microfiber, some new presentation touchscreen shows, and, on the directing wheel, a GT button that gets to the new Dynamic mode, which joins the ordinary Eco, Normal, and Sport settings.

Mechanical changes are more huge. The GT is fueled by fundamentally brawnier engines than the ongoing all-wheel-drive EV6, with the one at the front currently having a most extreme result of 215 strength and the back unit making up to 362 pull. The back hub likewise includes a force biasing differential that changes how much push shipped off each wheel, and the back engine adds one more piece of driving edge EV tech, a two-stage inverter that utilizes silicon-carbide semiconductors. This further develops proficiency by up to 3 percent while likewise decreasing intensity created when the engine is working harder. As in other superior execution EVs, yield is confined in lesser drive modes: Eco limits the framework top to 288 pull, while Normal and Sport lift that to 460. Just GT mode releases the full 577 horses.

The outcome is a genuinely speedy vehicle. As in the current EV6, the GT has a moderately delicate gas pedal reaction at the highest point of the pedal's movement. (This is particularly clear in the logical little-utilized Eco mode, which appears to add an inch of deadness to the highest point of the gas pedal.) But pushing the pedal harder rapidly brings strong push, and a standing send off in GT mode makes g-powers that migrate interior organs as the back tires fight to track down foothold.

This was on the dry black-top of a Swedish test track and regardless of Kia's fitment of execution Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires as opposed to low-rolling-opposition elastic. In Europe, Kia claims a 0-to-62-mph season of 3.5 seconds, however we suspect that the outcome for our benchmark 60 mph will be far superior. (Our 60-mph time for the 320-hp all-wheel-drive variant was 4.5 seconds.)

Squeezing the GT button on the guiding wheel additionally opens the further choice of the float mode. This, you will be completely unsurprised to hear, is colossal tomfoolery — regardless of whether it's difficult to envision such a large number of EV6 purchasers utilizing it. Kia allowed us the opportunity to encounter the framework on a skidpad, where it permitted the GT to be effortlessly convinced into noteworthy points of force oversteer, with undetectable intercession from the shrewd back differential and help from the front engine assisting with keeping up with them as speed rises. In the case of nothing else, the capacity to smoke tires means that the strength of the most impressive vehicle Kia has at any point delivered.

However, it is at speeds more proper for this present reality that the dynamic diff intrigued more. The capacity to send more force to the external back tire assists the vehicle with turning in, yet additionally gives a feeling of back drove taking care of when GT mode is chosen. That causes the GT to feel energizing great shy of any deficiency of hold. As in lesser EV6s, the guiding is exact and coordinate, albeit minimal low-level criticism moves beyond the significant help.

Ride quality was exceptionally amazing. The GT gets versatile dampers as standard, and, surprisingly, in their firmer mode, they handle knocks and plunges with guaranteed consistence. Albeit the GT has stiffer springs, there's as yet perceptible roll under cornering. It is fantastic to Cruise refinement. We didn't affirm the guaranteed 161-mph maximum velocity on Sweden's very much policed parkways (it's a country where voyaging 5 km/h over as far as possible feels trying), yet at roadway speeds, the GT's lodge was cozy and all around protected.

The EV6 GT's delicate quality really suits it well and is a consequence of the purposely particular person given to the firmly related Kia and Hyundai models. It appears to be sure that the impending Hyundai Ionic 5 N, which will utilize the equivalent powertrain, will be firmer and more forceful.

Driving to the side, the GT is basically vague from the current EV6. The lodge is roomy and decidedly built, albeit the dull, strong materials separate the GT from the more rich choices its exhibition places it into dispute with. Likewise, the 12-inch focal touchscreen's UI is more successful than great, with the route framework feeling cumbersome and somewhat dated. Luckily, drivers can utilize Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all things considered.

Range is another region where the EV6 GT is off the speed of correspondingly strong other options — with the stipulation that we don't have official EPA numbers yet. The European WLTP figure of 263 miles addresses a 65-mile decrease over the rangiest back tire drive 77.4-kWh variant and infers an EPA figure of about 225 miles.

Valuing is likewise to be affirmed, in spite of the fact that if U.S.- bound EV6 GTs follow the case of Europe, where the vehicle is as of now on special, it will be an electric-execution deal. For viewpoint, on the opposite side of the Atlantic, the Kia is both faster than the Porsche Taycan 4S and essentially 50% less expensive. Assuming Kia gets the GT for under $70,000, it will deal with a similar stunt here.

With a flood of other electric models set to continue very soon, the EV6 GT shows that Kia is pushing its direction to the sharp finish of the EV upheaval.

Published in KIA
Tagged under

The front-wheel-drive hybrid version of Kia's redesigned Sorento mid-size three-row crossover packs a solid 227 horsepower and a 37-mpg EPA combined estimate.

The new 2021 Kia Sorento hybrid doesn't make a big deal of itself, despite being the first electrically assisted version of Kia's mid-size crossover. It's got a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and it drives like you'd expect—except that the little four feels like it has about 25 percent more displacement than it actually does. In fact, the Sorento hybrid's combined output—227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque—nearly matches that of the 2020 Volkswagen GTI. Like a GTI, the front-wheel-drive Sorento torments its front tires with torque. Unlike the compact GTI, though, it has three rows of seats and an EPA combined estimate of 37 mpg. Thus concludes our references to the Volkswagen GTI, but we hope the comparisons helped you subliminally internalize the idea that the Sorento hybrid is actually kind of fun.

2021 kia sorento ex hybrid
HIGHS: More power than the nonhybrid base version, 11-mpg fuel-economy gain, modest price premium.

To get the Sorento hybrid's 227 horses out of a 1.6-liter turbo four, you'd generally have to boost the bejesus out of it. Kia didn't do that. But it did pair the engine with a sizable electric motor and a 1.5-kWh lithium battery that enables some neat tricks. Such as producing an abundance of torque off the line and sailing along at highway speeds with the engine off. And, yes, achieving solid fuel-economy ratings of 39 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway. Our 75-mph highway fuel economy test returned 42 mpg, 13 percent better than the EPA’s estimate, and unleashes the potential for a whopping 740 miles of range from its 17.7-gallon fuel tank.

2021 kia sorento ex hybrid

Kia's highly specific spec sheet lists the 1.6-liter as making 177.2 horsepower and 195.4 pound-feet of torque from 1500 to 4500 rpm. The electric motor generates a claimed 60.1 horses and 194.7 pound-feet from zero up to 1600 revs. Notice that those two torque figures are almost the same and happen at low revs, which helps explain why the hybrid's low-end grunt feels diesel-like in strength. It's simply a smooth, prodigious shove that's out of proportion to the gas engine's displacement. The duo combines to send the Sorento to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds at 92 mph. The powertrain's responsiveness is reflected in the Sorento's 5-to-60-mph time of 7.9 seconds—the power is there, real-world ready when you need it.

The 1.6 does sometimes lug at low rpm, particularly when climbing grades, as the transmission holds a tall gear and leans on the electric motor for help. But that's a common hybrid trait. As dealership sales reps like to say: They all do that. And as we often say: At least it's not a CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission). Should you desire a lower gear from the Sorento hybrid's conventional automatic, there are paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel. We doubt too many Sorento hybrid drivers will be grabbing downshifts on their way into a max-attack run at their favorite off-ramp, but in that unlikely scenario, the Sorento hybrid can generate a respectable 0.81 g of lateral acceleration.

2021 kia sorento ex hybrid

LOWS: Front-wheel drive only, some torque steer, reduced towing capacity.

The Sorento hybrid offers no dedicated electric-only mode, but nonetheless it relies on electric power surprisingly often and at high speeds. Light on the throttle, downhill, you'll see the green EV indicator light come on at 80 mph. While its relatively tiny battery means you won't ever go far on electricity alone, this Sorento is good at seamlessly juggling its propulsion options without calling attention to the machinations happening beyond the firewall.

2021 kia sorento ex hybrid
Priced at $34,765 to start for the base S trim, the hybrid costs $1700 more than a nonhybrid Sorento S, which employs a 191-hp naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder and an eight-speed automatic. That model is only rated at 26 mpg combined, and the EPA figures that over five years, the hybrid will save you $2500 in fuel compared to the average new vehicle. Your mileage may vary, of course, but you'll notice that those estimated savings neatly erase the hybrid's price premium. It looks as if a half-decade is your financial break-even point, if that's a motivating factor. But the hybrid also is the significantly more powerful option, and that's a worthy upgrade on its own. It won't outpace a Sorento with the optional 281-hp 2.5-liter turbo four that we've already tested, but giving up 0.9 second to 60 mph seems like a pretty fair trade to earn an additional 11 mpg on the EPA combined cycle. The hybrid S also costs $1400 less than the least expensive 2.5-liter turbo model, the front-wheel-drive EX.

For 2022. the Sorento hybrid will also be offered with all-wheel drive starting at $36,965. Or consider the $46,165 Sorento plug-in hybrid's EPA-rated 32-mile range of electric driving with a combined 261 horses. The hybrid shouldn't be your pick if you expect to tow much with it, as its 2000-pound tow rating lags behind the nonhybrid models' 3500-pound max. But if hauling a load isn't an issue, you may as well spring for the hybrid over the standard Sorento. Think of it as a five-year investment in free horsepower.


Published in KIA

All-new Astra gets plug-in hybrid and is bristling with tech



  • Powered by excellent Peugeot engines
  • Interior quality looks very impressive
  • Plug-in versions available from launch


  • Electric version won't be here until 2023
  • Just one diesel power unit available
  • Not the roomiest car in its class



Is the new Vauxhall Astra any good?

It's too early to say for sure, but as it's closely related to the new Peugeot 308 and we rate that, the signs are looking good. For many a year the Vauxhall Astra was perfectly described as worthy, but dull. However, with the brand now part of the massive Stellantis group of carmakers, that’s all set to change with the latest version of the popular hatchback.

The brand’s ‘vizor’ arrangement – a black panel spanning the front of the car – is present in order to bring it into line with other recent Vauxhalls like the latest Mokka, as is the pronounced ridge running down the bonnet. The sides are simpler and the rear is sharper, too, with barely a curve in sight.

There's a wide range of petrols and hybrids powering the range, and an electric version to follow in 2023 – but now, it's shaping up to be an exciting challenger to the Ford Focus, Kia Ceed, Hyundai i30, SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf.

Vauxhall Astra review (2021) front view

What's it like inside?

Inside, a clean cockpit layout steals your attention. There’s a new steering wheel design – one that’ll presumably make its way onto other new Vauxhalls in the coming years – and a progression of the ‘Pure Panel’ screen layout that first started with the latest Mokka, with two 10.0-inch screens merged together in one solitary design element.

AGR-certified (‘Aktion Gesunder Rücken’ or ‘Campaign for Healthier Backs’) seats – a favourite of Opel/Vauxhall in recent years – are 12mm lower and offer ‘comfort’ and ‘sport’ contouring via electric adjustment here. Vauxhall says Nappa leather and alcantara upholstery are on the options list.

Even on the pre-production car we spent a couple of hours with, quality impressed. There’s plenty of soft touch plastics on the dashboard and front doors, the leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great in your hands and its buttons work with precision. With the Volkswagen Golf taking a real tumble in interior quality recently, the Astra suddenly finds itself near the pointy end of the class.

You’ll also find just enough buttons elsewhere to make navigating the touchscreen and operating the stereo and heater far easier than a Golf or Skoda Octavia, for instance, and there are loads of useful cubbies, pockets and trays to empty your pockets into. In other words it’s as inviting as it is practical.

The boot space is rated at 442 litres with the rear seats up, making it roomier for your luggage than a Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Kia Ceed, but smaller than a Honda Civic. If you need more room, an estate badged Astra Sport Tourer will be launched late in 2022.

Vauxhall Astra review (2021) interior view

What tech do you get?

The new Vauxhall Astra will debut a new infotainment system to take full advantage of the new Pure Panel screen layout, ditching the laggy, low-res and clunky OS used by almost every former-PSA-now-Stellantis model from Citroen, Peugeot, DS etc. The car we sampled was too early to have a fully working example of this, so we’ll reserve judgment until later.

Elsewhere, Vauxhall’s IntelliLux matrix LED lights are an option, and semi-autonomous driving technologies can be specified, too – something Vauxhall calls IntelliDrive. This combines adaptive cruise control with active lane centring and semi-autonomous lane changing, too. It’s not Tesla levels of driver assistance, but it should help make long journeys a little less tiring.

What engines are available?

It’s a predictable bunch, given the new Astra’s shared DNA with the new Peugeot 308. There’ll be 110 and 130hp petrol options, with a six-speed manual standard and an eight-speed auto optional on the punchier engine. A single 1.5-litre diesel with 130hp will be available with a choice of manual or auto.

If you want to know about CO2 emissions for the 2022 Vauxhall Astra, the 110hp petrol emits from as little as 123g/km of CO2, with the 130hp from 122g/km with a manual or 125g/km for the auto. The diesel predictably dips lower at 113g/km with a manual and 116g/km with an auto.

A first for the Astra, however, is the addition of a not one but two plug-in hybrid variants. First up is a 180hp version which cracks 0-62mph in a respectable 7.9sec with a punchier 225hp version dropping this to 7.7sec making it the fastest Astra available. Both are expected to cover around 35 miles on official tests, giving CO2 emissions from just 24g/km and economy of up to 256.8mpg. That’s not quite Mercedes A250e good, but still bob on for the class.

There’s even an all-electric Astra-e due in early 2023, although details on this are scarce. Hopefully it’ll improve on the 50kWh battery and 136hp motor currently found in many Stellantis electric cars such as the Peugeot e-208 and e-2008.
Vauxhall says the new Astra is 4mm longer but with a 13mm increase in its wheelbase and is 14% more torsionally rigid than before for better handling.

What models and trims are available?

With the least expensive trim level, Design, buyers get 16-inch alloy wheels, LED lights front and rear, the Pure Panel with smartphone mirroring, rear parking sensors, voice recognition and a range of safety and driver assistance features such as Driver Drowsiness Alert, automated emergency braking with a pedestrian detection function and cruise control with intelligent speed adaption.

GS Line models, providing a sportier, more aggressive look, get a contrasting black roof and black 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as a blacked-out Vizor panel and Vauxhall badge. On top of Design models, some of the key features of the GS Line include Forward Collision Alert, a 360-degree parking camera, a heated steering wheel and heated front seats.

Ultimate spec comes at the top of the Astra tree and includes a whole suite of tech and driver assistance features. Some of the elements differentiating Ultimate versions include 18-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, a head-up display and wireless phone charging. There's an expanded array of driver assistance and semi-autonomous functions such as lane change assistance, a blind spot alert, Lane Positioning Assist, a rear cross traffic alert system and semi-automated lane-changing capability.

Vauxhall Astra review (2021) rear view

What else should I know?

The new Vauxhall Astra has undergone a complete transformation, combining an appealing exterior with a well-built and easy to use interior. Combined with an efficient range of engines, it could be a real contender in the class.

We'll get to drive this generation of Astra later this year, but until then, enjoy the video and images, above. Full price and spec details can be found here, with orders opening in autumn 2021. The first ones will be delivered in the first few months of 2022.

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Published in Opel/Vauxhall
Thursday, 04 November 2021 05:30

New Volkswagen Multivan eHybrid 2022 review

We find out if the new Volkswagen Multivan eHybrid can breathe life into the sparse plug-in hybrid MPV segment

There’s no doubt that the new Volkswagen Multivan is better than the old Caravelle in a number of key areas. There’s more space inside, the styling is up to date and the addition of a plug-in hybrid adds an extra layer of appeal for company car buyers and businesses. High pricing could be its downfall, however, and the launch range isn’t very strong. There’s also the eagerly-anticipated, similarly sized VW ID.Buzz, which might steal some thunder when it’s released next year. 

The new Volkswagen Multivan is under plenty of pressure to succeed, not just because it replaces the popular T6.1 Caravelle MPV (which will be sold alongside the newcomer for a while), but because it also brings in a new plug-in hybrid capability to VW’s van-based people carrier. 

The twist is that the new T7 Multivan isn’t really based on a van. Instead, it runs on the MQB platform which underpins a wide variety of VW Group products like the Cupra Formentor and Volkswagen Golf. In theory this should make the Multivan significantly more engaging to drive, improving upon the van-like driving characteristics of the old Caravelle. From launch, all powertrains have a petrol engine - a 134bhp 1.5-litre TSI kicks off the range, then a 201bhp 2.0-litre TSI and finally a plug-in hybrid with a 1.4-litre TSI paired with a 10kWh electric motor for a total of 215bhp. 

But the T7 Multivan is aimed at those transporting up to seven people, so it’ll need to impress passengers just as much as the driver. That’s where the new car’s party-piece rear seating comes into play. A rail system means the middle and back rows of seats can slide forwards and back or be turned 180 degrees independently of each other. To make the seat removal process easier, the seats are 25% lighter than the old Caravelle’s and on higher spec models the rail system is electrified, allowing for all seven seats to be heated. You can also spec the Multivan with just six seats and of course you can remove the rear and middle seats if you’d like to use the Multivan as a van. 


There’s more good news for passengers as the central table can slide the length of the cabin, giving front, middle or rear passengers cup holders and a handy height adjustable fold-out table. Four USB ports are also available for rear passengers, with two up front. 

On all models, the infotainment system is the same as you’d find on the new VW Golf and while there have been plenty of critics of VW’s menu layout, the 10-inch screen is crisp and the responsiveness of the touchscreen is among the best out there. With this central screen interface coupled with Volkswagen’s 10.25-inch ‘Digital Cockpit’ and head-up display, the Multivan does feel like a quality item from the driver’s seat. It’s also easy to switch between hybrid and EV-only modes with a dedicated button below the central screen. 

Crucially the Multivan offers more cabin space than the outgoing Caravelle, with 469-litres available in the boot with a seven-seat layout and 1,844-litres with the rear seats removed. Upgrade to the long-wheel base model and the total maximum with rows two and three removed rises to 4,005-litres from the 3,672-litres in the short-wheel base model. 


Plenty of storage bins throughout the cabin is always useful in a car designed to take seven, although don’t be surprised to see the creviced rail system quickly fill up with food and muck if there are children, or messy adults, regularly on board. Touch points like the steering wheel and the dash have a premium feel to them but you also don’t have to search for long in the rear cabin area to find some cheap scratchy plastics.

You’d be forgiven in thinking the Multivan has taken a huge leap forward from the old Caravelle in terms of driving dynamics thanks to the MQB platform, in reality the Multivan still feels fundamentally like a van. There’s decent body control in the bends, despite the retention of the Caravelle’s old suspension set-up, but the steering is incredibly light and devoid of feedback. 

The range-topping eHybrid plug-in model comes with a 1.4-litre petrol TSI engine mated to a 10kWh battery. It’s the same unit found in the Golf and Passat GTE, so that means there’s a fairly hefty 215bhp offered through a bespoke six-speed automatic gearbox to the front wheels. 0-62mph takes 11.6 seconds and the Multivan eHybrid never feels as quick as the power figure suggests. The performance is adequate with this powertrain but never feels overly punchy. The power delivery is smooth but when the four-cylinder petrol engine decides to kick in you do get an audible clatter. 

If you want to squeeze out the Multivan’s maximum fuel efficiency, then you’ll have to accept a 204-minute charging time from 0-100% using a 3.6kW charger. The 30-mile electric-only range is hardly groundbreaking for a modern plug-in hybrid either but in EV-only mode the Multivan is quiet, comfortable and the brake regeneration system is nicely weighted. 

Out of the three powertrains available from launch (a 148bhp diesel variant is coming in Spring 2022), the eHybrid is the best suited to the Multivan’s chassis. The slightly heavier plug-in hybrid set-up actually gives the Multivan a more composed feel on rougher roads. In the 134bhp 1.5 TSI, the reduction in power means the seven-speed DSG gearbox found in the both non-hybrid models is more prone to unwanted kickdowns and ultimately holds on to revs just a bit too long.

VW is still yet to release a price for the new Multivan but expect the range to start from £45,000 for the non-hybrid versions, topping out around £60,000. The eHybrid plug-in model will be the most expensive, costing from around £55,000 when it goes on sale in January 2022. Rivals like the Citroen Spacetourer and Mercedes V-Class offer similar practicality, but without the option for a plug-in hybrid. So if you want an electrified people carrier of this size and you don’t choose the Multivan eHybrid, you’ll have to go the fully-electric route. Volkswagen will also have a new entrant into that category next year with the funky electric ID.Buzz that could further dent the new plug-in hybrid Multivan’s prospects.

Price: £55,000 (est)

1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol + 10kwh e-motor plug-in hybrid




Six-speed DSG automatic transmission

0-62mph: 11.6 seconds
Top speed: 118mph
Economy/CO2: N/A
EV Range: 31 miles
On sale: January 2022


Published in Volkswagen
Saturday, 23 October 2021 05:15

Peugeot 308 hatchback review

"The Peugeot 308 is a comfortable, stylish family hatchback with a great interior but it’s not the most practical”

The Peugeot 308 is a family hatchback that’s had a complete makeover; its eye-catching looks are a big selling point but there are plenty of other reasons to consider buying one. The 308 is an alternative to the Ford Focus, SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf, and it shares parts with other similar models, including the Citroen C4 and the latest Vauxhall Astra.

There are petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engine options but there’s no choice of gearbox; the only option is an automatic, which means there’s no low-cost entry-level model to compete with basic versions of the Focus or Golf. It’s all part of a plan to make Peugeot into a more upmarket brand within Stellantis' wide range of brands, which is also the reason for the redesigned badge on the nose of the car.

Best hatchbacks

The petrol version uses a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine with 128bhp, while the diesel is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit with the same amount of power. The two plug-in hybrid options use the same 1.6-litre petrol engine, and have a total of 178bhp in standard guise, or 222bhp with an upgraded electric motor. These models offer low emissions and are cheap for company-car drivers to tax, plus they can travel up to 37 miles on electric power alone.

Most people will charge up the battery at home overnight at a standard rate of 3.8kW, but unlike some plug-in hybrids, the 308 is available with faster charging as an option. Equipped with a 7.4kW charger (for around £300), you can use a home wallbox or public charger to fill the battery in about two hours.

The new 308 is good to drive, striking a nice balance between handling and comfort. The Ford Focus is often considered to be the benchmark in the class for handling and the Skoda Octavia is the same for comfort. The 308 sits somewhere in between the two.

Yet one of the best aspects of the 308 is the interior. It feels well made and the materials are good quality, much like you’d find in a more expensive car like an Audi A3. There are some areas that look a little drab but its design is mostly excellent.

There’s also a 10-inch display with a second touch-sensitive panel below it. This looks very modern and is easier to use than the screens in other Peugeots (such as the 3008 SUV). It’s very responsive too, in a big improvement over the previous model.

The new 308 is available in Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium trim levels. All are well equipped; you get a 10-inch digital dial display, smartphone connectivity, LED headlights, climate control, 16-inch alloys and plenty of safety kit even on entry-level versions. As you move up the range, luxuries such as wireless phone charging, sat-nav, keyless entry, larger alloys and a 360-degree parking camera are added.

The 308 isn’t the most spacious family car around but it’s a great all-rounder that brings together comfort, efficiency, smart looks inside and out, enjoyable handling and plenty of hi-tech equipment. It’s not the best value for money but if you want an automatic or hybrid car, it’s well worth considering. There’s also a 308 SW estate version with more boot space, should you need it.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - MPG, running costs & CO2

Like many modern SUVs, the Peugeot 3008 is almost as cheap to run as a family hatchback


The Peugeot 3008 takes full advantage of the latest manufacturing techniques, using strong yet light steel, aluminium and plastics. This means it can be fitted with relatively small engines that offer excellent economy, catering to the thousands of buyers who covet an SUV but don’t want high running costs. It's a shame, though, that more electrified versions weren't introduced for the facelift, to plug the gap between the petrol and diesel 3008 and the plug-in hybrid.

The smaller 128bhp 1.5-litre diesel officially returns up to 60.8mpg and emits 122-157g/km of CO2. This is also available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox without affecting running costs too severely.

Going for a 2.0-litre diesel used to get you more power, but this has now been discontinued. The top-of-the-range 175bhp engine officially returned up to 47.3mpg and emits 162-178g/km of CO2.

Despite traditional SUV trends, petrol power will be an economically viable option for many buyers, especially if most of your driving is done over short distances or in town, purely because you’ll pay less for an equivalent engine, and little more for its fuel. The entry-level 128bhp 1.2-litre returns up to 48mpg and emits 133-165g/km. The 1.6-litre petrol was discontinued in mid-2021 but officially managed around 43mpg with emissions of 148-177g/km of CO2.

Choosing Peugeot’s six-speed automatic gearbox costs around £1,300 and sees economy drop by just a little bit. CO2 emissions rise fractionally if you go for the automatic.

Officially, the most economical model is the range-topping 3008 Hybrid4, which is a direct rival to the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid, and is said to return up to 235.4mpg. It’s worth pointing out that you’ll struggle to achieve close to this figure unless you religiously charge up the battery and only use the car for short, urban trips. CO2 emissions are remarkably low at 30-41g/km, which will please company-car drivers. The less powerful front-wheel-drive hybrid model is capable of up to 222.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 29-39g/km.

If you have access to a 7kW home charger, the Hybrid4 will fully replenish the battery in around one hour 45 minutes. You’ll need to wait eight hours for the battery to get to full charge if you’re using a standard three-pin socket. A dedicated smartphone app lets you choose when to charge the car (so you can charge overnight on a cheaper tariff, for example) and set the air-conditioning before you get in.

Company car drivers should find the Benefit-In-Kind (BiK) tax rates attractive, especially for the hybrid models. VED (road tax) for private buyers is charged at the standard rate for all petrol and diesel models with the hybrids liable for the discounted rate. Flagship models can cost over £40,000, and these will be subject to a surcharge until the car is six years old.

Insurance groups
The Peugeot 3008 sits in groups 20-38 for insurance. Most models are rated in group 21 and under though, with only the more powerful petrol and Hybrids punching above the group 22 mark.

Peugeot’s three year/60,000-mile warranty used to be about average for the industry, but with Hyundai, Toyota, Kia, Mercedes and BMW also offering better protection, we’d argue it’s time for Peugeot to up its game here.

Peugeot’s fixed-price servicing packages make budgeting for maintenance easy, and policies start from around £14 each month if you take out a three-year deal.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - Engines, drive & performance

The Peugeot 3008 is competent, comfortable and enjoyable to drive


What do you want your SUV to do? If the answer to that question is ‘be easy to drive while providing a high ride height for good visibility and access along with plenty of space for my family’, buy the Peugeot 3008.

If the first thing that sprang into your mind was ‘be great to drive’, you might think you’d be better off looking at the more expensive BMW X3 SUV, or a conventional hatchback like the SEAT Leon.

We've found the 3008 to be impressively composed on an open road, but it doesn't goad you to drive it harder. There’s little body lean to speak of, yet this doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, as the suspension makes a decent fist of softening pitted tarmac and soaking up potholes. The 3008 is also easy to drive around town, while it’s impressively quiet and civilised on the motorway.

The SEAT Ateca may have slightly sharper steering and stiffer suspension, but the trade off is it’s less comfortable than the 3008, which is well rounded in every aspect of its driving characteristics. It has the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar soundly beaten in the enjoyment stakes, coming off well in comparison to the sharp-handling Volkswagen Tiguan, while the Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5 steer slightly more sweetly.

There’s no four-wheel-drive option for the non-hybrid 3008, but Peugeot’s ‘Grip Control’ setup (which is essentially a sophisticated traction-control system) costs between £250 and £500, as it requires 18-inch alloy wheels, which aren’t standard on all trims. It should help you out when the going gets tough, particularly if it’s paired with the optional winter tyres.

With an electric motor on each axle, the 296bhp Hybrid4 model has four-wheel drive and it’ll tackle reasonably challenging off-road terrain without needing to start the petrol engine. Both hybrids are much heavier than the petrol models and, while they offer great straight-line acceleration, the extra weight makes them feel much more cumbersome through corners.

Peugeot 3008 petrol engines
The 128bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine in the 3008 uses turbocharging to help keep performance up and running costs down, and they’re familiar Peugeot fare. Our drive of the more powerful of these revealed it to provide the 3008 with pretty swift performance, taking eight seconds to go from 0-62mph. The standard automatic gearbox that comes with this engine also impressed us, as it changes gear smoothly, quickly and with minimal fuss.

The petrol engine is also a smooth operator. This will probably need to be worked hard to shift the 3008’s heft, but it’s certainly worth taking for a test drive, as it offers the cheapest route to 3008 ownership. With this engine fitted, 0-62mph takes 9.5 seconds, although that time is likely to increase if you load the 3008 with passengers and luggage. It's impressively linear in its power delivery, and feels powerful enough for cruising on the motorway and overtaking slower traffic. In mid-2021, the range-topping 179bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine was discontinued. This unit was previously the quickest regular engine in the 3008 range, getting from 0-62mph in eight seconds.

Diesel engines
Many buyers after an SUV still want a diesel engine, so Peugeot offers one with either a manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. Again, they’re staple Peugeot products, and we’ve driven the 128bhp 1.5-litre version, which is likely to be a big seller. It’s a little raucous when being revved, but once in a high-gear cruise it’s admirably quiet. It takes 10.8 seconds to go from 0-62mph, or 11.5 seconds if you choose the eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The 99bhp diesel is no longer available, and it was the only model to come with a five-speed rather than six-speed manual gearbox, with no automatic option. We'd recommend avoiding this engine if you're looking on the used market.

The more powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine was also discontinued with the arrival of the facelifted 3008. The 175bhp engine was automatic-only and had some extra grunt, which was useful for towing. However, it was only offered in the top trim with a hefty price tag. For that reason, it was a rare choice. This engine manages 0-62mph in 9 seconds.

Hybrid engines
Not every family car is offered with a plug-in hybrid version but Peugeot has offered 3008 buyers two to choose from. Both combine a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 13.2kWh battery and an electric motor, and both use Peugeot’s eight-speed automatic transmission.

The front-wheel-drive ‘Hybrid’ is the less expensive and less powerful of the two, with one electric motor, 222bhp and a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds. Above that is the ‘Hybrid4’ with two electric motors (one on each axle), four-wheel drive and a peak power output of 296bhp. Zero to 62mph takes just 6.1 seconds - quicker than the Peugeot 308 GTi hot hatchback - although the Hybrid4 is expensive.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - Interior & comfort

The Peugeot 3008 has one of the best interiors we’ve come across in recent years

The Peugeot 3008 deserves to be heaped with praise for its interior design and represents the best in class. Peugeot is really spoiling us with the quality of interior materials, which range from excellent soft-touch plastics on top of the dashboard to attractively textured cloth running along the inside edge of the doors.

It’s also pleasing to report that while Peugeot fits the 3008 with a small steering wheel that’s designed to be looked over (rather than through) when viewing the dials, the ergonomics of this now look to have been resolved. Taller and shorter drivers who find the steering wheel obscures the gauges, shouldn’t have the same problem in the 3008.

Thanks to its great interior and ride quality, the 3008 is one of the most comfortable cars in its class.

Peugeot’s decision to fit all 3008s with its i-Cockpit is welcome and generous. This 12.3-inch digital display replaces the speedometer, fuel gauge and other dashboard dials and can be configured to show sat-nav guidance, media playlists or information about fuel economy and journey times. Audi has offered a similar setup for some time, but usually as a pricey option. Peugeot’s decision to make it standard may cause other carmakers to follow suit in an effort to keep up. For the facelift the screen has been upgraded for improved contrast, making it easier to read.

Another nice touch is the row of seven silvered toggle switches below the 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, which has grown for the updated car and now has improved definition. These look almost like piano keys and work in conjunction with the touchscreen, bringing up music, ventilation and other modes. You still have to use the screen itself to adjust the temperature and other settings, though, but the screen is capacitive rather than resistive, so it’s much easier to operate than some setups.

The 3008 range kicks off with Active Premium, and choosing this gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, all-round parking sensors, an eight-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Moving up to Allure trim adds larger 18-inch alloy wheels and adds sat nav to a 10-inch infotainment system. Costing around £700 extra, Allure Premium brings keyless entry, aluminium roof rails, ambient lighting and a front passenger seat that can fold flat.

There's also a top GT trim with LED headlights, a black roof lining, adaptive cruise control and upholstery with a mixture of leather and Alcantara. This can be upgraded once more to GT Premium for the ultimate 3008 spec, bringing 19-inch wheels, a powered tailgate, enhanced stereo, 360-degree powertrain and heated seats.

Just because the 3008 is well equipped, doesn’t mean there isn’t a fairly lengthy options list. Metallic paint is a near-essential for many and costs just over £500. We always recommend specifying a full-size spare wheel if possible, for which Peugeot asks around £100.

A wireless smartphone charging pad is available, along with Nappa leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - Practicality & boot space

The Peugeot 3008 is competitively spacious

The Peugeot 3008 is roomy enough for a family of four. The SEAT Ateca and Nissan Qashqai are ever so slightly bigger inside, but the 3008 has a larger boot than those two cars.

Peugeot 3008 interior space & storage

Front-seat passengers are able to stretch out in the 3008, but it’s not quite as commodious as its exterior dimensions might lead you to believe. Still, there’s an argument that many will like the sense of being cocooned in the 3008, especially given the plushness of its interior – and it’s by no means cramped up front.

Those in the rear do pretty well for space. The back doors open nice and wide, while head and legroom are good in the outer two seats. The front centre console extends a long way into the back, and we reckon middle-seat passengers may feel hard done by, as they’ll have to contort their limbs around a not-insignificant chunk of automotive furniture.

Boot space
At 520 litres, the Peugeot 3008 has the Nissan Qashqai (430 litres) roundly beaten when it comes to luggage space and even manages to edge the spacious SEAT Ateca by 10 litres for total load volume. Drop the rear seats using the levers in the boot and the boot grows to an impressive 1,482 litres. The 60:40 split-folding rear seats lie nice and flat, while the back of the front passenger seat can be folded for lugging longer loads.

Because of the space taken up by the batteries, the 3008 plug-in hybrid models aren’t quite so generous. With the seats up, there are 395 litres to fill, and this increases to 1,357 litres if you fold the rear seats. The Hybrid versions also get a 43-litre fuel tank, while regular petrol and diesel models have a tank that’s 10 litres larger.

If you plan on using the 3008 as a tow car, go for the 1.5-litre diesel, as this can haul up to 1,500kg. The other engines are rated at 1,200kg to 1,400kg, with the Hybrid versions able to tow up to 1,250kg.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - Reliability & safety

Peugeot 3008 is very safe and scored highly in our Driver Power survey

The Peugeot 3008 achieved an impressive ranking in the 2021 Driver Power survey and scored well in Euro NCAP crash testing.

Modern car-building techniques mean a manufacturer or group of manufacturers can get more than one model out of a single platform – the mechanical skeleton that underpins the bodywork. The Peugeot 3008 is no exception to this trend, and it shares many hidden parts with the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso MPV, as well as the Peugeot 308 family hatchback.

After a mightily impressive second place out of 75 cars in our 2020 survey, the 3008 finished in 50th place in our 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. It still scored strongly in every category with a decent rating for reliability indicating how pleased 3008 owners are with the car as an ownership proposition, which is obviously encouraging if you're considering buying one.

Euro NCAP – the independent body that assesses the crashworthiness of new cars – toughened up its test criteria recently, so it’s good to see the Peugeot 3008 scored the full five stars when it was assessed. It scored 86% for the protection it affords adults and 85% for that offered to children. This is impressive, as many cars do an excellent job at safeguarding larger occupants, but post a lower result (often by as much as 10%) when it comes to smaller passengers.

All 3008s get mandatory kit like electronic stability control, ISOFIX child-seat mounts, a tyre-pressure warning system and a seatbelt reminder. Peugeot also throws in a clutch of airbags and a camera that scans for road signs, relaying pertinent information to a screen on the dashboard.

A lane-departure warning system also comes with all 3008s, as does autonomous emergency braking. This latter bit of kit is one of the biggest developments in car safety to have emerged in recent years, with data indicating it helps prevent up to 38% of rear-end crashes.


Published in Peugeot
Saturday, 18 September 2021 04:39

Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV: long-term test review

Second report: West Country holiday lets us put the Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV’s family credentials to the test


The Citroen C5 Aircross was a great holiday car. It felt at home on a motorway cruise, and really delivered on its promise of comfort. It devours miles in a calm and unflustered manner, and left us all feeling refreshed after a coast-to-coast road trip.

  • Mileage: 6,067
  • Economy: 35.5mpg

Family holidays. Stressful in the build-up, and hopefully relaxing when you arrive. That was certainly the case recently, when the Milne clan decamped to north Devon for a week.

The day before we headed off, I noticed that the Citroen’s near-side rear tyre was looking a little low. A quick examination showed a screw had punctured the tread; my worst fears were confirmed when my local fitter said it wasn’t repairable but did, remarkably, have the correct Michelin tyre in stock. At 4.45pm. On a Friday. That’s lucky.

We set off, only to be confronted by an unhappy tyre pressure monitoring system. It turns out that the replacement tyre’s valve had been damaged during fitting, and with a new one installed, all was good.

Otherwise, the trip really couldn’t have gone better, aside from Google Maps sending us on the A303 past Stonehenge, and straight into the inevitable traffic jam.

The C5 Aircross has revealed itself to be at its very best on a long motorway jaunt. Its Advance Comfort seats are cosseting, and the ride, which can be choppy around town, is gloriously smoother at speed. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine is quiet, only becoming harsh when accelerating hard, but there’s precious little wind or road noise. It could well be stunning on the French autoroutes, when restrictions ease and all Brits can cross the Channel to visit and travel freely.

Visibility is very good indeed, and aside from the usual grumbles my kids were happy and comfortable; even more so when we arrived. It was then that they could really enjoy the view out, spotting the myriad grazing animals that scatter that part of the world. I was also glad of that good visibility when carving our way through the narrow roads of the county’s chocolate-box villages.

It’s here that the C5 Aircross really shone. It’s as big a car as you’d really need on these roads; larger SUVs feel just too big for the conditions. And it’s as funky and striking as you’d want, too, more than up to the job of standing bumper to bumper with the brightly coloured VW Transporters which seem to account for every second vehicle in Devon’s coastal towns. In fact, strapping a surfboard to the roof might transform the Aircross into a super-cool surf wagon. 

The holiday was the first time I’d really travelled a long distance in it. And while fuel economy has sat at around 34mpg without regular charging, it travelled 41 miles for every gallon of unleaded on the motorway – not bad considering it was fully loaded – against a mainly round-town economy of 35.3mpg. For the next report, I’ll see what it’s capable of with more frequent charging. 

The long and often severe gradients around Devon let me make the most of the Aircross’ regenerative brakes. On many of the longer 10-15 per cent descents, it was perfectly possible to maintain the speed limit without touching the brake pedal, although the ability to vary the amount of regen would be handy. Nevertheless, it’s very satisfying to see the charge meter climb using nothing but otherwise-wasted energy.

I had expected the boot to struggle with our luggage, which is more of a reflection of us not travelling light than the Citroen’s 460-litre capacity. To maximise luggage space we ditched the charging cable, and used the removable tray it’s stowed in to carry sandy shoes and muddy boots.

Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV: first report

Our plug-in hybrid SUV brings the promise of superb economy

  • Mileage: 3,597
  • Economy: 33.6mpg 

Platform sharing. It’s now commonplace for cars to share the same basic chassis toolkit. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everything becomes the same. Sometimes, it allows brands the freedom to take a few risks.

It’s these quirks that I’ve been enjoying most with the Citroen C5 Aircross over the past few months. I love the off-beat styling, the bold paintwork and the funky interior. In a world of Russian-doll styling and monochrome paint – as demonstrated above – it’s a breath of fresh air.

It’s the complete reverse of the Vauxhall Grandland X I ran back in 2018, a car that, like the C5 Aircross, is underpinned by Stellantis’s EMP2 platform. That car was conservatively styled in the extreme, and the fuel economy didn’t impress – two criticisms that can’t be levelled at the Volcano Red plug-in hybrid you see here.

The £35,000 asking price isn’t too bad either, especially when the C5 Aircross undercuts hybrid versions of both the Peugeot 3008 and DS 7 Crossback.

So what do you get for your money? Well, as standard, my Flair model (since renamed as Shine) gets the City Camera Pack with a combination of displays, including a handy composite bird’s-eye view, a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument display, AEB with modes to detect pedestrians (not yet put to the test, fortunately), and traffic sign recognition. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is a very good thing indeed, because the touchscreen interface isn’t the most intuitive or responsive.  

Of more importance to the young-family car driver are the buttons to disable the rear window switches and to activate the child locks, which puts an end to the need to flick fiddly switches in the door jambs.

The business end of charging works well. There’s a 6.6kW onboard charger that means a full battery top-up takes less than two hours, something that’s good for a WLTP-certified range of 33-40 miles. In reality, and mostly cool weather conditions, I’ve been covering more like 23 miles.

The charging flap is on the passenger-side rear wing, which isn’t ideal because it means I have a slightly tricky reverse parking manoeuvre to execute to get close to my Pod Point wallbox.

Naturally, with any kind of PHEV your efficiency may vary. Early on, and with a full battery charge, the trip readout was indicating 100mpg-plus economy figures. With the battery depleted, it’s settled to 33.6mpg on mostly round-town journeys. So I’ll be hooking it up to my wallbox on a regular basis to try to improve those figures.

All the usual drive modes are available; it’ll default to Electric when the battery has a slug of charge, and Hybrid when it doesn’t. Sport mode is largely redundant, but the charge hold function is handy for ensuring electric-only driving in towns and cities. 

Acoustically insulated front side windows are fitted to all hybrid models, and they certainly help to make electric-only progress really very quiet indeed. When the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine kicks in, it does so very smoothly, although it gets rather thrashy if you come anywhere close to replicating the 8.7-second 0-62mph time.

While the Aircross doesn’t offer one-pedal driving, an enhanced brake regen mode is accessed by a tug of the gearstick. It’s not perfect though: the gearlever is on the left side of the transmission tunnel – a slight stretch away and likely a result of the switch from left to right-hand drive.

That aside, there’s a healthy amount of storage: wide door bins, cubbies ahead and to the side of the gearlever, and vast space between the front seats for a large pack of anti-bacterial wipes, bottles of alcohol gel and rubber gloves – items that have come to define the past 12 months.

Model: Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV e-EAT8 Flair
On fleet since: February 2021
Price new: £35,370
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol + e-motor, 222bhp
CO2/tax: 32-41g/km/£140
Options: Volcano Red paint (£545), White Anodised Colour pack (£0)
Insurance*: Group: 27  Quote: £487
Mileage/mpg: 6,067/35.5mpg
Any problems? Puncture

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.


Published in Citroen
Friday, 17 September 2021 05:06

BMW 330e review

Plug-in BMW 3 Series is an excellent, tax-efficient all-rounder 

 At a glance

New price £40,440 - £51,145
Lease from new From £475 p/mView lease deals
Used price £24,905 - £45,360
Used monthly cost From £622 per month
Fuel Economy 156.9 - 217.3 mpg
Road tax cost £145 - £480
Insurance group 33 - 36How much is it to insure?
26.5 - 36.8
Miles per pound (mpp)


  • Up to 41 miles of battery-only range
  • Lovely steering and balanced handling
  • Great hybrid efficiency and performance


  • Not as nice to drive as a standard petrol 3 Series
  • Lacks the sweet-sounding engine of a 330i
  • Reduced boot space compared with non plug-ins

Is the BMW 330e any good?

It won't exactly be news to you that the BMW 330e is very good indeed. It already accounts for 25% of all 3 Series sales in the UK thanks to the undeniable tax avantages of running the plug-in version on the company. But the good news is that this is not be the only reason for going for a 330e – it is a genuinely excellent all-rounder.

For one, it's very good to drive. Not perfect, but very good. For another, the electric-only driving range is usable to the point that it will cover most owners' commutes. And finally, there's the XtraBoost feature that cranks the combined petrol/electric power output up to 295hp – if only for short bursts at a time.

So, it's a plug-in that's rational and exciting – read on to find out just what it is that makes the 330e so special.

What's it like inside?

If you're familiar with the standard BMW 3 Series, then you won't find many surprises here, and it's business as usual. The boot space has suffered compared with the standard car, as you’ll find the floor is humped. The hump is actually the fuel tank, which has been moved from its usual position under the seats to make room for the batteries – overall effect is that the standard saloon packs away 480 litres of boot space, while the 330e has just 375 litres.

The infotainment systems and digital dials gain hybrid-related display options, but aside from rearranging a few of the buttons on the centre console, this is the only difference in the passenger compartment.

  • Read all about the standard BMW 3 Series' interior here
BMW 330e interior (2021)
 What's it like to drive?

The 330e combines the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine you’ll find in the regular 320i with an electric motor that’s neatly integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The petrol engine develops 184hp and the electric motor adds another 112hp. Very impressive, even if you can’t just add those two figures together to get the car’s total power output.

So, the 330e’s official power output is 252hp, which rises to 292hp when you activate the XtraBoost function for short periods of time under full acceleration. There's no 'push to pass' boost button, it's just activated by flooring the accelerator in either the S or M transmission settings.

On the road, the results are impressive. Floor it from the lights and the 330e springs forward with real vigour. The 0-62mph time is 5.9 seconds, but it feels faster than that, especially considering how on the motorway it builds speed quicker than a 330d. You only get 10 seconds of XtraBoost, but that's more than enough on UK roads.


One criticism we'd level at the 330e is that it just isn’t that much fun to drive. The four-cylinder engine sounds strained when worked hard and it feels less agile in bends, presumably as a result of accommodating the additional weight of the hybrid batteries.

But it is still a car that devours bends without blinking. It’s just that a little of the fun has gone missing from the process, as exhibited by the slightly light and artificial feel to the steering (again, even in the heaviest Sport setting).

BMW 330e charging port
Range and hybrid driving

The 330e is able to drive up to 41 miles on electric power alone, and there are an increased number of options to make the most of it battery. You can set a guide percentage of power pack life you’d like to retain and the car will do its best to manage this on your behalf.

There is also an automatic setting, which works with the sat-nav guidance to choose the most appropriate points on your route to deploy the electricity. You can manually activate full electric mode up to 87mph and cruise there until the remaining range runs out.

Fuel economy and charging times

The official fuel economy for the 330e is a claimed 138mpg in the WLTP real-world test, with CO2 emissions of 39g/km (that’s 10% less CO2 than the last version). You’ll need to be using the electric power a lot and mostly doing short journeys to get close to those figures, however.

You’ll also need to plug the hybrid part into the mains as many times as possible in between journeys; a full charge takes three hours and 25 minutes using a BMW i Wallbox, or five hours and 40 minutes using a plain old three-pin plug.

BMW 330e (2021) rear view, driving
What models and trims are available?

As with the standard car, quality is right up there, but the interior design has arguably become a little too generic, and despite the size of the screens available, remains rather cluttered. The 330e is available in SE, Sport and M Sport specification, just like the rest of the UK range.

BMW 330e (2021) side view
Should you buy one?

If you want a medium-sized plug-in hybrid family car, then this is the best you can buy right now. And as such, we can heartily recommend the 330e in either Saloon or Touring form – with the latter's additional practicality being an additional selling point for us.

Rivals include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class PHEV (in petrol and diesel forms), the Peugeot 508 PHEV, Volkswagen Passat GTE and Skoda Superb iV, and the. There's no Audi in the list – the A4 TFSIe is yet to be announced. And as an overall package, the 330e beats them all.

But while the 330e does the whole PHEV thing perfectly well, it still isn’t the kind of car that works as well as it should for car enthusiasts. This is well thought-out and even enjoyable tool, rather than the kind of genuinely emotional experience a really outstanding BMW can be.

Buy a new, nearly new or used BMW 3-Series 330e Hybrid

See all the current BMW 3-Series 330e deals on Parkers Cars For Sale

What we like

BMW’s plug-in hybrid is blessed with plentiful performance, an extended electric range of more than 40 miles and some other very clever tricks. Its popularity is no accident – you might buy it to save on tax, but you can enjoy yourself at the same time, as it's a BMW through-and-through and drives as it should.

What we don't like

It's all relative, but do bear in mind that if you're opting out of a 330d or 330i, it'll feel marginally less agile in your hands.


Published in BMW
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