The outgoing Peugeot 3008 sold well enough, but it had a bit of an identity problem. Unsure whether it was an MPV or a crossover, it was certainly awkward looking.
Fast forward to now and Peugeot is in no doubt what the new 3008 is because every reference is followed by ‘SUV’ – and it certainly looks the part.
In one fell swoop, Peugeot’s designers have created one of the most distinctive cars in its class.
Chunky, well proportioned, aggressive and with one of the most striking back-ends on the market, it’s surely a candidate for rear of the year.
However, it’s not just the new 3008’s dramatic exterior that stands out – inside there’s a touch of magic.
As standard, the car boasts Peugeot’s i-Cockpit which features an 8-inch touchscreen in the centre console AND a 12.3-inch driver’s ‘heads-up” instrument panel.
I-Cockpit isn’t just eye candy either – it’s a stylish, futuristic infotainment system boasting fluid, colourful graphics in a cabin that’s cool and individual.
A lot of thought has gone into the system too. For instance, the 8-inch screen can be navigated completely by touch, but Peugeot’s also realised that fumbling around on the move isn’t always ideal, so there’s also a bank of shortcut buttons directly below, giving direct access to the sat nav and phone, for instance.
Just like other recent Peugeots, the 3008 now features a small steering wheel, though this one has flat edges at the top and bottom. Apparently this is for “better grip”, though it probably also helps give a clear view of the 12.3 instrument panel housed inside a set-back binnacle.
The ‘heads-up’ unit can be fully configured by turning and clicking the left knob on the steering wheel, allowing the view to focus on navigation or dials, for instance.
As an optional extra, it’s also possible to further enhance the driving experience with i-Cockpit Amplify with treats the senses to everything from ambient lighting options to aromas via a fragrance diffuser.
In a nutshell, the cabin is a state-of-the-art, spacious, comfortable place to be with a solid, up-market feel.
With a longer wheelbase and an overall length which is just 80mm longer than the current model, while rear occupants now have an additional 24mm legroom, 4mm elbow room and 36mm headroom.
Luggage space has also improved with a capacity of 520 litres (90 litres bigger than the outgoing model) or 1,670 litres with the rear seats down.
The new 3008 comes with Peugeot’s admirable range of fuel efficient petrol and diesel engines, including the 1.2-litre PureTech 130 petrol with CO2 emissions of just 115g/km, plus a larger 1.6-litre unit.
The diesel engines available include a 100PS 1.6-litre BlueHDi, capable of 70.6mpg with CO2 emissions of just 103g/km and a potent 180PS 2.0-litre for the flagship 3008 GT.
The 3008 SUV range starts at £21,795, rising to £32,995. Sadly no petrol versions were available to test, though the 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol unit works a treat in others cars I’ve driven across the Peugeot/Citroen/DS ranges.
My choice of engine, giving a decent blend of economy and performance, would be the 120PS 1.6-litre diesel, which is also likely to be the biggest seller. Taking 11.2 seconds to reach 62mph, it’s capable of 70.6mpg with CO2 emissions of 104g/km, making road tax just £20 a year under the current system.
Priced from £21,110, there are four trim levels (Active, Allure, GT Line and GT) and each one unlocks more goodies, but Allure is enough for most. That said, I’d definitely opt for the panoramic sunroof and Adaptive Cruise Control.
If you live somewhere with more challenging driving conditions, then choose Advanced Grip Control. The 3008 doesn’t come with a four-wheel-drive option, but Grip Control improves traction on snow, mud and sand, while Hill Assist Descent Control reduces the risk of slippage.
Frankly, the options list is huge, offering everything from extra personalisation to the latest driver aids, but by exercising a little restraint it’s possible to spec a decent 3008 for closer to £25,000.
Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the engine is a little harsh initially, but soon settles down, and it seems swifter than the figures suggest.
With a commanding driving position and good visibility, the ride is comfortable and there’s well controlled body lean in corners, giving an engaging drive. However, if it’s performance you want, then opt for the GT.
Excellent though it is, the 3008 is in a very competitive sector, up against the recently launched SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan, plus the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga and Renault Kadjar.
However, consider what’s available as standard on the 3008 when pricing up – you may be surprised. For instance, as well as the i-Cockpit, lane-departure warning system and autonomous emergency braking is standard throughout the range, helping it on to a maximum 5-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating.
Verdict: The 3008 SUV is a car transformed, continuing the Peugeot renaissance. Not only is it handsome, classy, well-built, practical and safe, but the addition of i-Cockpit makes it a genuine game-changer.