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Driven: Peugeot 3008. Image by Peugeot.

Driven: Peugeot 3008
The Peugeot 3008 is absolutely brilliant. Itís easily the leader in a very tough crossover class.

 



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Peugeot 3008

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: Beautiful looks, exceptional interior, space, refinement, equipment levels, performance

Not so good: Slight understeer in the wet, no 4x4 option, erm... the noise of the indicators?

Key Facts

Model tested: Peugeot 3008 1.6 BlueHDi 120 S&S GT Line
Price: 3008 range starts from £21,795; 120 S&S GT Line from £27,345
Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door crossover
CO2 emissions: 104/km (Road tax: £140 annually)
Combined economy: 70.6mpg
Top speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Power: 120hp at 3,500rpm
Torque: 300Nm at 1,750rpm

Our view:

Right. Can we begin by getting on our high horse for a moment? Perhaps we're impassioned because of how we feel about the Peugeot 3008 overall, which we'll come to in a moment, but first we want to have a rant about critical response to the 3008's cabin. It simply hasn't been feverishly adulating enough for our liking. If this was a Volkswagen, everyone would be raving about it, but because it's a Peugeot, well...

Oh, it has won acclaim, no doubt about it. People have said how nice it is and praised the company for tidying up the infotainment system. But others have made mutterings of discontent; it would appear that the big sticking point is the i-Cockpit layout, with its attendant 'tiny button' steering wheel. If you can't get past that, then the 3008 interior is not going to be for you.

So, while ours is only yet another opinion that you can heartily disregard if you so wish, here's our verdict: this is the finest car interior we've seen in decades. It is poles apart, light years ahead, in another dimension of reality altogether, compared to what Peugeot has been knocking out in previous times. And, rather than simply damn it with that faintest of faint praise, we'll go on to say we prefer this concept car-esque interior to anything else at an even remotely comparable price.

It's made of lovely materials, the juxtaposition of the soft-touch plastics on top and the cloth belt-line around the middle working wonderfully. It's comfortable, spacious and practical, our car even benefitting from the driver-massaging seat for £560. There's the gorgeous sweep of chrome-effect trim running down from that superb septet of 'piano switches' on the console, which shortcut to various infotainment screens. Yes, at a pinch, proper, physical climate buttons might still have been preferable, but at least now adjusting the temperature of the system is easier than in other i-Cockpit-equipped Peugeots. There's also a huge cavern of stowage space with a USB socket and wireless smartphone charging ahead of the gearlever.

And then there's the 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster itself. By crikey, someone has put the long hours in here. This thing is configurable every which way you could want, is utterly beautiful to behold, and it makes the squared-off steering wheel make total sense. This i-Cockpit feature alone is almost worth the Peugeot's asking price, because it's one of the best digital displays we've ever seen on any car.

All of this cabin eulogising ignores the fact the rest of the 3008 package is equally brilliant. The looks are crisp and highly attractive, having the effect of almost completely eradicating the preceding, amorphous blob 2008-2016 model from history; anything that can look good in brown (OK, Sunset Copper metallic, technically) has to be worth top marks.

The performance is more than adequate from the 120hp diesel, although punchier petrol and diesel engines are available if required. The refinement is unsurpassed by anything else on the market, as wind, tyre and engine noise are at the barest minimum levels and the ride quality is superb. It even handles vivaciously by crossover standards; not Peugeot's finest chassis by any stretch, but again, better than anything else in this segment, save for the SEAT Ateca. You might just want to watch the nose washing slightly wide in damp conditions, which is about the 3008's only dynamic vice, but otherwise we love the way it drives, almost as much as the way it looks inside and out.

Can we complain about anything at all? Hmm. For all its chunky appearance, there is no 4WD option on the 3008. Grip Control (£470 on this GT Line specification) is all you get, but to be honest it's all most owners would ever need. The GT Line, sitting almost at the top of the tree, isn't particularly cheap and there are further cost options, but it is well-specified from the off. And, er... um... hold on, be with you in a mo... ah, the indicators make a weird noise. That genuinely is all we can think of.

Even if it had a plain-looking but nicely-made interior, we'd be giving the 3008 a medal of some colour. It drives as well as anything in class, it rides as well as any rival, it looks good, is priced competitively and it's as good on fuel as anything (we saw 44mpg average bimbling about on tiny country roads alone; 50-60mpg in reality would be entirely possible on the motorway). And then that extraordinary cabin completely seals the deal: so if you want the best midsized crossover-SUV going, you need to be heading straight to your nearest Peugeot dealer for one of these.

For years, this sector of the market has been headed by the Nissan Qashqai. Everything and anything that enters into it is automatically labelled a 'Qashqai rival'. But it's time for that to change. This is emphatically the 3008's domain now. It is a magnificent and fundamentally likeable crossover-SUV that manages to offer masses of showroom appeal with a healthy dose of real-world usability and practicality.

It's no wonder the Peugeot scooped the 2017 European Car of the Year Award. We doubt we'll drive anything so game-changing, for its parent manufacturer at the very least, this year... or the next. The 3008 is absolutely stellar and one of our new favourite machines, of this or any other class; what an incredible, astonishing turnaround by parent company Peugeot this fantastic machine represents.

Alternatives:

Kia Sportage: A big-seller, courtesy of that seven-year warranty. We like the Sportage's cabin and most of its appearance, but the front end is ugly and the Peugeot feels a cut above.

Renault Kadjar: By proxy, this represents the Qashqai as well (as they're similar cars) but the Renault has a longer warranty, nicer looks and a more interesting cabin. Peugeot still embarrasses it, though.

SEAT Ateca: It was this or the more expensive Tiguan. The Ateca is a lovely thing and probably a very close second to the 3008... but that's second, not first; we'd recommend the 3008 ahead of it.


Matt Robinson - 17 Mar 2017









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