The recent pre-budget review by Chancellor Alistair Darling provided the main headline that electric powered vehicles will be exempt from company car Benefit in Kind tax for five years and electric powered cars are exempt from road tax, but this news will only be a benefit to a very small number of drivers.
The vast majority of car owners and users will now pay more to the Government because of the VAT increase on new cars and fuel from 1 January, more road tax as the CO2 emission bands are changed and higher BIK tax based on the price and emissions of current vehicles.
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Just how electric powered vehicles are in real life classed as low carbon transport, motoring pundits have no idea. The production of battery components and the supply of electricity from coal, oil and gas powered sources, which make up over 70% of supply, still means an overall high level of CO2 output.
Then we have the added costs of providing charging stations throughout the UK so electric car owners can keep moving and finally just how much will the cost of electricity increase in the future?
It is therefore vitally important that car owners and users for the foreseeable future until the national debts are paid off that incur the least possible tax penalties.
That means buying the most efficient vehicles the industry can offer and in some cases choosing a versatile vehicle that meets all the needs of the user and in some cases choose to own one vehicle instead of two.
Market and sales
Clearly new car buyers are thinking this way already as demand for the new Peugeot 3008 crossover is exceeding expectations. The clever vehicle combines elements of an SUV, MPV and C-segment lower medium sized hatchback with four doors, a split rear tailgate and seating for five passengers with lots of useable carrying space.
Demand has caused Peugeot to increase production to meet demand throughout Europe. It is quite clearly a popular new vehicle because it made the final seven in the 2010 Car of the Year competition finishing in a creditable sixth position and ahead of the Citroen C3 Picasso MPV which shares the same platform and engines.
Initial UK demand for the 3008 was anticipated to be around 10,500 units in a full year but demand is already up by 125%. And in the festive seasonal of goodwill Peugeot UK are keeping the VAT level at 15% for cars ordered this year and delivered between January and March next year.
Engines and driving
With 1.6 petrol with 120 and 156bhp power outputs plus 1.6 and 2.0-litre HDI diesel units with 110-163bhp power outputs prices range from £16,246 to £22,021.
Trim and equipment levels are Active, Sport and Exclusive and the most popular model is expected to be the 1.6, 110bhp diesel with Sport specification priced at £18,692, not cheap but value for money in real terms when you consider the versatility this vehicle offers.
I had a brief first test drive prior to the 3008's launch in November and whilst the new Peugeot's rounded styling didn't impress all the motoring media I found it more acceptable than the heavily nosed 308 range from which the 3008 is derived.
What impressed me most was the vehicle's do-it-all nature. The high up command seating positions give excellent visibility, it is roomy, very comfortable, and certainly the higher quality Peugeot has promised from now seems to be there, it drives very well and is easy to park thanks to its relatively compact 4,365mm of length.
Although the vehicle has the looks of an SUV it is currently only available with front two wheel drive. Its 1,639mm of height means it will fit under car park barriers and it fits a domestic sized garage. The 1,837mm of width also means it fits car parking spaces.
For my annual festive season trip to play Santa Claus, carrying presents to and from France, I used the new 3008 because on paper, and after my brief initial test drive, I felt it would meet all my needs for seating, comfort, load carrying options and efficient travel costs.
In reality it exceeded all my expectations because the 110bhp diesel unit mated with the six speed gearbox makes effective use of the 240 to 260Nm of torque, with overboost mode, from just 1,750rpm making it responsive to drive.
The real-life 49mpg for all types of driving, sat in the slow moving queues for the ferry to motorway and autoroute travel to the usual trips down winding French lanes was impressive and with a road tax bill of £120 a year it makes good financial sense.
The bottom line is that the 3008 is a really easy vehicle to drive and it's a nice environment to travel in because of its sumptuous interior and really comfortable ride.
It is a real multi-purpose vehicle whether the owner requires it as a family vehicle or it is used for mileage business work or whether it is just a vehicle for active couples young or old. There is really nothing not to like about it and it gave me a really enjoyable week's motoring.
Just for the record the equipment levels are high as well - all part of the very good package. All models have the really clever split tailgate; the upper section opens upwards for easy access and then the bottom part folds down as well for easy loading of heavier items or the family dog.
There is the multiflex load area where the load floor can be located in three positions to suit carrying needs and of course the rear seats also fold flat to increase the carrying space from 512 to 1,604-litres.
All models have air conditioning, electric front side windows and door mirrors, electronic stability programme, 17-inch wheels, cloth trim, a good sound system, electronic parking brake and a Euro NCAP five star safety rating.
The Sport trim, Sport being style not sports performance or lowered and hard riding suspension, adds alloy wheels, a really useful rear parking aid, cruise control with speed limiter, height adjustable front passenger seat, colour coded exterior and leather bound steering wheel.
The only two options I would add would be Peugeot's £450 Grip Control, an electric differential system that feeds power to the front wheel with the most grip which is good for mild off road driving, coping with ice, snow and mud on road and with better traction for towing.
I would also select the excellent, easy to use and more importantly accurate Connect Navigation system which adds another £695 to the price.
I'd certainly like to find the keys for my Peugeot 3008 under the Christmas tree in two weeks time - unlikely but I can always hope.
Peugeot 3008 MILESTONES
Peugeot 3008 Sport HDi 110 (Likely best selling model)
Engine/transmission: 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder, HDi common rail turbodiesel, 110PS, 240-260Nm from 1,750rpm, 6-speed manual gearbox and front wheel drive with traction control
Performance: 112mph, 0-62mph 12.2 seconds, 55.3mpg, (49mpg actual), CO2 137g/km, VED £120, BIK tax 18%
Insurance group: 6
Dimensions: L 4,365mm, W 1,837mm, H 1,639mm, braked towing weight 1,300kg, load area capacity 512-1,604kg
For: Practical user friendly design, roomy versatile interior, large load space, comfortable, well equipped, excellent handling control for a tall vehicle
Against: Will be expensive with must-have added options, £450 Grip Control should be standard, conservative exterior styling will not appeal to everybody, side and rear quarter blind spots