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Half a year in a Peugeot 3008: the long-term test review verdict is in

Published: 29 May 2018

► Our Peugeot 3008 SUV long-termer
► It's powered by an award-winning petrol
► And is also brown... or is it copper?

Month 6 of our Peugeot 3008 long-term test: the verdict is in

Even as we say arrivederci to the Peugeot 3008, it continues to baffle me by winning awards seemingly for little more than being a lot like a Nissan Qashqai except a bit better. It has also picked up a few awards in the ff-C household, although none of them perhaps especially plaque-worthy.

The Grayson Perry Award for paint that the missus instantly dismissed as ‘turd-like’, for instance. Then there’s the U-Boat Award for klaxoning the driver’s ears off should you dare open the door with engine running and handbrake off. And of course there’s the Aloe Vera Award for seat heaters which cluster all their energy into a small molten lava patch under the lower thigh.

We shouldn’t forget the Despicable Audi-Driving Toe-rag Award for the fastest wound ever administered unto a long-term test car; the Princess and the Pea Award for a seat cushion that six months of 16 stone has failed to subjugate; the Driving a Supertanker with a Shirt Button Award for the tiny steering wheel; and the Chris Evans Award for the relentless annoyance of having to rummage through the touchscreen menus to turn off the stop/start system.

In truth that latter feature is not quite as annoying as the Citroën C3 Aircross I’ve recently driven, in which the lane departure warning system must be switched off (press and hold the button) every single time the car is switched on. But it comes close. 

Anthony ffrench-Constant and his Peugeot 3008

I’m all in favour of such systems being available for those who are too busy texting, eating and talking to drive in a straight line unaided. But since when has it become the engineer’s decision, rather than the driver’s, to decide which driving aids should be allowed to automatically interfere with your genitalia’s enjoyment of a scalding-hot Ginsters filling?

Anyway. Thing is, as an SUV competing in a ludicrously overcrowded segment at a reasonable price, the 3008 makes a respectable fist of things. I remain unconvinced it’s worthy of the title European Car of the Year, but perhaps it was Peugeot’s turn... 

The missus has never rubbed along with it, which is odd given that she tolerated the tediously hum-drum Qashqai without recourse to a vulgar nickname. I have become more ambivalent over the last six months, my verdict steering a wavering course midway between COTY and WTF (...is that all about, then?).

The positives include the ride quality, the 1.2-litre engine, the centre console design and the dog-friendly boot space.

Among the negatives are the front-seat comfort, the vicious little clutch, the speed at which the windscreen wash reservoir empties itself, and the dozy rain-sensing wipers and auto lights.

And somewhere between the two there’s the handling, which isn’t particularly good or bad, but mustn’t be hurried, and the fuel consumption – not great, but you suspect it could easily top 40mpg if it wasn’t so enjoyable to rev that sweet, eager little three-cylinder engine.

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Count the cost: Peugeot 3008 depreciation 

Cost new £27,290 (including £1635 of options)
Dealer sale price £26,293
Private sale price £25,013
Part-exchange price £23,943
Cost per mile 14.9p
Cost per mile including depreciation 91.8p


Month 5 of our Peugeot 3008 long-term test review: how it performs in slippery conditions

Everyone knew it was going to snow: every newspaper; every weather-gurl on telly; all the local wildlife, including our resident charm of goldfinches, which braced itself by consuming an entire bumper feeder of sunflower hearts in a single afternoon; the evil-smelling dog; and even the fleas on the evil-smelling dog...

Everyone, that is, except the hopeless Mudfordshire District Council, which – having already spent its annual budget on free parking spaces for its staff – couldn't be arsed to unleash a single gritter. Oh, and my beloved V8 Land Rover, which undoubtedly would have been arsed had it not taken the opportunity to call in sick with a busted clutch.

Peugeot 3008 by CAR magazine

The latter being largely Meccano, the nice man from the AA had no trouble in reducing most of the relevant mechanism to its constituent parts, despite the fact we both knew from the outset that he couldn't repair it. These days, apparently, nice AA men are required to get some 75 per cent of breakdowns up and running again, or it counts against them at their next review.

The nice AA man's van's towing capacity fell some way short of the three tonnes-plus the Landie weighs, so I had to wait for another nice sub-contracted man with a low-loader to appear. Its fuel gauge falling like an anvil kicked over a cliff, the Land Rover would have laughed in the face of the four inches of sticky white stuff that, on cue, deep and crisp and evened the landscape the next morning – ahahahaa. But in fact it fell to the 3008 to keep us mobile.

And this – despite muggins here's failure to specify the Grip Control system to abet front-wheel drive – it managed with pleasing alacrity, the only real issue being the ongoing abruptness of the clutch, the lump-hammer engagement of which does not lend itself to a smooth pull-away.

No matter; it's easy to look good in the snow. For – despite the fact that there's nothing so much as a hillock between Mudfordshire and the Urals, and, if it's going to snow anywhere south of Hadrian's Wall it'll be here first – the average local's abilities in such conditions make Bambi look like Katarina Witt.

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Logbook: Peugeot 3008 GT Line Pure Tech

Engine 1199cc 12v turbo 3-cyl, 129bhp @ 5500rpm, 170lb ft @ 1750rpm 
Gearbox 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive 
Stats 10.8 sec 0-62mph, 117mph, 117g/km CO2
Price £25,655 
As tested £27,290
Miles this month 368
Total 4511
Our mpg 37.9
Official mpg 55.4 
Fuel this month £53.75
Extra costs None


Month 4 living with a Peugeot 3008: that tiny i-Cockpit steering wheel on test

The small, low-slung i-Cockpit steering wheel makes sense in a hatchback, but the 3008’s waftier ride and higher centre of gravity make for a deal more body movement through a sequence of bends.

Peugeot 3008 interior: the tiny i-Cockpit steering wheel

Lob into the equation the fact that the helm continues to doze through the first few degrees off top dead centre and then wakes up with something of a start, and smoothness and accuracy at speed can become elusive.

Of course you could steer a supertanker with a shirt button, but would you really want to?

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Logbook: Peugeot 3008 GT Line Pure Tech

Engine 1199cc 12v turbo 3-cyl, 129bhp @ 5500rpm, 170lb ft @ 1750rpm
Gearbox 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Stats 10.8 sec 0-62mph, 117mph, 117g/km CO2
Price £25,655
As tested £27,290
Miles this month 679
Total 4143
Our mpg 38.1
Official mpg 55.4
Fuel this month £92.79
Extra costs None


Month 3 of our Peugeot 3008 long-term test review: time with its Vauxhall sister

A surprise visit this week from Vauxhall's curiously dubbed Grandland X makes for an interesting comparison with the car from which it stole almost everything except the overcoat.

If you thought that – even by today's breakneck development-speed standards – the Grandland X hit the launch pad somewhat sharpish after PSA's purchase of the company, that's because it had already been hatched as a joint venture some time beforehand.

Not long enough beforehand, mind, to avoid eliciting rather more raspberry than fanfare at the arrival of yet another mid-sized crossover SUV some 10 years after Nissan's Qashqai first laid down the strict guidelines for just how dull, worthy and uninspiring this segment's contenders needed to be to prove a smash hit.

Today, however, with the likes of Seat's Ateca and the Mazda CX-5 demonstrating that an SUV can actually be good to drive, and the new 3008 having – for 
better or worse – a proper stab at 
reinventing the (position of the steering) wheel, the buying public is, at last, s...l...o...w...l...y being introduced to the idea that practicality need not go hand in hand with puritanism. Fun, albeit still merely a footnote to date, is finally creeping onto the menu.

Vauxhall Grandland X

In the case of the Grandland X, though, that Bronx cheer is merited because, frankly, its name is the most entertaining thing about it. Don't get me wrong; there's nothing really amiss about the poor thing, it's just that, on first acquaintance, frocks the land over are entirely safe from suffering the full Marilyn Monroe.

It looks OK in a sort of generic, swollen Astra fashion. It's comfortable enough on board, with a cosier front seat than the 3008, and staple analogue instruments you read through the helm. It drives 
OK too, with a slightly tougher ride than the Peugeot, a perceptibly notchier gearchange, and rather more engaging steering via a grown-up wheel.

From Peugeot's perspective, in making me treasure the 3008 just a whisker more now for its eccentricities, the Grandland has done its job. In the grand scheme of things, however, it strikes me that we're all still waiting for that one elusive SUV that combines Yeti packaging, Tiguan quality, Ateca driving and the styling of... er... er...

Logbook: Peugeot 3008 GT Line Pure Tech

Engine 1199cc 12v turbo 3-cyl, 129bhp @ 5500rpm, 170lb ft @ 1750rpm
Gearbox 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Stats 10.8 sec 0-62mph, 117mph, 117g/km CO2
Price £25,655
As tested £27,290 
Miles this month 1035
Total 3464
Our mpg 37.1
Official mpg 55.4
Fuel this month £148.05
Extra costs None


Month 2 living with a Peugeot 3008: a parking ding...

There’s a nasty little ding on the 3008’s rear wheel arch. I was hunched over the keyboard in a cafe when it happened, but a kind coffee drinker took down the offender’s particulars while the latter climbed out, had a look at the damage, then drove off to park elsewhere.

Peugeot 3008 long-term test review: a dent

The police took an equally dim view of this behaviour, found the lying toe-rag and threatened him with all sorts of horridness: leaving the scene of an accident, wearing a loud shirt in a built-up area, etc.

So now I have diagrams to draw and forms to fill in...

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Logbook: Peugeot 3008 GT Line Pure Tech

Engine 1199cc 12v turbo 3-cyl, 129bhp @ 5500rpm, 170lb ft @ 1750rpm
Gearbox 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Stats 10.8 sec 0-62mph, 117mph, 117g/km CO2
Price £25,655
As tested £27,290
Miles this month 982
Total 2429
Our mpg 36.8
Official mpg 55.4
Fuel this month £154.39
Extra costs None

Peugeot 3008 long-term test review: prices, specs and what it's like to live with


Month 1 of our Peugeot 3008 long-term test review: welcome to the CAR magazine fleet

‘Sunset Copper my arse,’ muttered the missus. ‘That’s BROWN.’

‘No, no, heartface,’ I countered. ‘Look; it says so on the spec sheet – metallic paint for £525. It’s a snazzy extra, along with Keyless Entry and Start for £350, a heated, massaging driver’s seat for £560, and £200 worth of Boot Restraining Net. Won’t that be nice?’

‘Well it looks brown to me,’ she growled. ‘As in “Mr Brown is in reception”… And I don’t own any Wellingtons that require restraining. And don’t call me heartface.’

Welcome, then, European Car of the Year to the ff-C fold...

Now, mindful of just how expensive the VW Passat estate became once I’d finished rummaging among the tempting optional titbits on offer, I was determined to keep the cost of this 3008 within reasonable bounds. 

So what we have here is the £25,655 GT Line trim level – which ticks sundry essential boxes such as sat-nav – with just the aforementioned light dusting of goodies, bringing the on-the-road price to a very reasonable £27,290.

Peugeot 3008 long term interior

Choosing a powertrain also involved a degree of debate, with suggestions from colleagues more predicated to the ‘don’t’ than the ‘do’; as in ‘don’t go for the diesel mated to the auto gearbox’. 

Happily, the little 1.2-litre three-pot petrol engine has also been scooping up accolades in the form of International Engine of the Year. So, for the next six months, we can stay away from the oily patches of the forecourt. There’s something about the thrumming eagerness of three-cylinder engines that brings out the lead foot in everyone. This one is no exception, and though it shifts its 1250kg carapace with a surprising degree of alacrity, I feel sure the gap of 20-odd mpg between quoted and actual average fuel consumption will not be closing anytime soon...

Sunset Copper aside, I’m still coming to terms with the appearance of the 3008. As successive designers have discovered, it ain’t easy to style a packing crate. Suffice it to say I’m more comfortable with the stern, which combines a pillarbox rear screen swiped from the Evoque with a tail-light graphic paying homage to Ford’s Mustang.

On board, all is somewhat cleaner and tidier, with the odd classy detail – such as the brushed metal switches on the centre console – decidedly easy on the eye. It is, however, a shame that there aren’t one or two more switches available, thus avoiding recourse to the touchscreen for even simple jobs such as turning off the stop/start system at the beginning of every journey.

Peugeot 3008 long term rear light

And then, of course, there’s the pygmy elephant shrew in the cabin – Peugeot’s i-Cockpit steering wheel. When it comes to the driver’s instrument binnacle, I remain an unreconstituted fan of analogue dials, and would rather live with the real deal bracketing a central multi-information screen than an all-singing, all-dancing replica...

Especially, as in this case, when it necessitates mucking around with driver ergonomics merely to make it (almost) work. Never mind the fact that the driver’s seat feels as if it has been stuffed with old tennis balls and is taking some time with which to become accustomed, it’s a far bigger ask to get used to a steering wheel parked in the lap.

I have read elsewhere of this helm that it’s deemed very small. But actually it’s merely very oval, the top having been sliced off in order to allow the driver to not quite see as much of the binnacle as he’d like, and the bottom commensurately trimmed in the interests of symmetry. If ever there were an example of boffins left alone in windowless rooms to conjure a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, this is it.

Peugeot 3008 long term rear tracking

I have also read elsewhere that the small steering wheel makes it harder to drive the 3008 on its door handles with any élan. I’m not entirely sure as to the merits of driving a 1.2-litre SUV on its door handles, but will report back on the wisdom, or otherwise, of said enterprise.

Other than that, the family seems happy. The children profess to be perfectly comfortable in the back (though why oh why they will insist on both climbing aboard through the same door when one is available on each side is beyond me).

And, faced with a less cavernous load space, the evil smelling dog doesn’t slither about astern with the quite the alacrity it managed in the Passat estate. Though, sadly, there appears to be little modification in other less savoury behaviours.

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Logbook: Peugeot 3008 GT Line PureTech 130

Engine 1199cc 12v turbo 3cyl, 129bhp @ 5500rpm, 170lb ft @ 1750rpm
Gearbox 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Stats 10.8sec 0-62mph, 117mph, 117g/km
Price £25,665
As tested £27,290
Miles this month 958
Total 1447
Our mpg 36.1mpg
Official mpg 55.4mpg
Fuel this month £145.68
Extra costs £0

Check out our Peugeot reviews

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Contributing editor, architect, sentence constructor, amuse bouche

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