► New Peugeot 3008 SUV driven
► Radically different from past model
► 1.6 Allure on sale in January for £26k
You’d have to go a long way to find a greater transformation between generations than with Peugeot’s new 3008. The old car was an MPV-crossover-thing that was big inside but had looks that its mother would find hard to love. The new one heads straight for SUV heartland, however – and goes big on the style, too.
So is this car based on the 308 then?
Not exactly. Underpinning the 3008 is PSA’s EMP2 platform, which for the less techy-minded props up a variety of Peugeots and Citroens including the 308 – but because of its modular design (a little like Volkswagen’s MQB) it can have different wheelbases. So, the 3008 is 55mm longer between the wheels as well as a substantial 194mm longer overall than the 308.
How big is it, then?
Big, for a mid-sized SUV. It’s bigger than the all-conquering Qashqai and an insignificant 2mm shorter than the Renault Kadjar, so it sits squarely in the middle of the segment – although it is strictly a five-seater.
It has the presence to go with its size too. Peugeot has pulled out all the stops on the design front, loading it up with complex surfaces and unusual detailing. It all hangs together very well though; it has the expected SUV stance but a sleek roofline and slightly pinched waist (not dissimilar to Mazda’s CX-3) for some sexy curves.
The light arrangement at the rear is smart, too, with the rear window blending into a black panel housing the LED bulbs. We’d probably swerve the ‘Coupe Franche’ two-tone paint finish though.
What’s it like inside?
There’s a lot going on in here. The 3008 gets Peugeot’s i-Cockpit set-up, which features a tiny steering wheel sitting ahead of a 12.3-inch LCD display that’s paired up with an 8-inch touchscreen mounted on the dash. The wheel has also been flattened top and bottom to improve the view, but it’s still a feature you either love or hate. Shortcut switches arranged below the air vents look pretty enough but do require a glance down to operate.
Regardless, the 3008’s attractive inside. It’s clear a great deal of effort has been expended to make the cabin feel special, with a good deal of success. The overall quality is good, with decent materials used throughout the cabin, and the design is sharp; there’s even tasteful cloth trim that’s somewhat redolent of mid-range 205s, although the centre stitching can prod you in the back.
The 3008 makes good use of its footprint in terms of cabin space. Taller adults can fit comfortably in the front and headroom is fine even with the optional full-length sunroof. In the back the curvature of the roof cuts into the head space a little and the footwells won’t let you stick your feet under the front seats, but otherwise it’s decent.
Storage is up to scratch, too; the glovebox is average but the cavern between the front seats would swallow your arm. In the boot there’s a mighty 591 litres of space on offer, thanks in part to an adjustable boot floor – but you can’t put it on the lowest step if you have a full-size spare.
What else do I need to know?
The Driver Sport Pack, inherited from the 308, is something of a gimmick, linking the ambient lighting, screen colours, audio settings, the massage seats and the fragrance diffuser into a single button push that’s designed to ‘boost’ or ‘relax’ your driving experience. We suggest opening a window.
So it looks good and is practical, but is it typical SUV to drive?
Make sure you’re sitting down for this - the 3008 is actually a good car to drive. There are a couple of provisos, namely that the automatic option seems to suck the life out of even the most powerful 2.0 HDi 180 engine and chiefly that this is still an SUV, so tall and relatively heavy.
But the bottom line is that the 3008 covers the ground with a good deal of composure, refusing to be thrown off line by bumps and bodyroll is kept well in check. Smaller road imperfections aren’t handled as well as big undulations but there’s certainly a dash – if not an overwhelming flavour – of old Peugeot magic.
Out of the three engines we tried it was the 1.6 HDi 120 that impressed the most, partly because it was paired to the six-speed manual but mainly due to the fact that it punches above its weight, moving the 3008 along with sufficient zeal and without making a big fuss about it. All in, it’s a very appealing family car – and one well worthy of closer inspection.
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