Peugeot's push to premium
The French car-maker is entering the closely fought image-conscious crossover market
It is scarcely a revelation to say that SUVs and compact crossovers are enjoying a sales boom and it's easy to see the attraction, but in this image-conscious segment it's hard to stand out from the crowd. Or at least it was, because the new Peugeot 3008 is a very striking new entry, delicately balancing practicality and elegance with a raw edge.
While the previous 3008 was a functional MPV, the new model has a chiselled, fluid appearance and the overall tance truly sets it apart from the class norm. Rivals such as the VW Tiguan, Seat Ateca and Nissan Qashqai all play it relatively safe when it comes to styling, whereas the 3008 may well woo buyers on the basis of its looks alone.
Inside, the 3008 has all the usual components in the usual places but it's elegant, functional and so well-executed that you may never want to get out. Everything is smooth and logical and behind Peugeot's small steering wheel is a virtual cockpit; the "iCockpit", a digital dashboard.
Space is good throughout with more than enough room for five adults in comfort and the boot offers a very useful 520l of storage.
There's also a great range of engines, from the French firm's latest BlueHDi turbo-diesels to a superb new 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol. Four diesel engines are available with CO2 emissions from 103g/km and power ranging between 100, 120, 150 and 180bhp.
The 3008 delivers a set of impressively economical running cost figures; our test car returned 4.0 litres per 100km and with CO2 from 104g annual motor tax is €190.
On the road the 3008 is good to drive, it is refined, handles well and is composed on all surfaces. The steering is quick but it feels vague and detached and on the road the ride is a little too firm but not achingly firm.
Don't be fooled by the off-road look, the 3008 is no rugged off-roader and is not available in four-wheel drive but it is offered with Grip Control. This is a system that provides more traction and control than a two-wheel drive vehicle for that extra reassurance on wet roads or snow-covered motorways.
Peugeot's new compact SUV is also very safe with Electronic Stability Programme, six airbags, Cruise Control with Speed Limiter, Speed Limit Information with Intelligent Speed Adaptation, Driver Attention Alert Level 1 and Lane Departure Warning feature as standard from Access versions.
Prices start from €28,295 and go up to €44,395 for the flagship GT 2.0 BlueHDi 180bhp Automatic Grip Control, while our test car the GT Line 1.6 BlueHDi with 120hp and 300Nm of torque, comes with a price tag of €34,925. With a choice of five trim levels, Access, Active, Allure, GT Line and GT versions, the entry level Access has everything most people would want including Peugeot's iCockpit interior, an 8-inch touch screen, multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and three Isofix child seat points.
For a compact crossover, the 3008 is as well equipped and arguably far better looking inside and out than many of its rivals.
There are some niggles; lack of feel from the steering being one and the harshness of the ride being another. But the 3008's failings are minor, easily traded off for the style, economy and practicality and this smart crossover will appeal to family buyers wanting versatility along with singletons in search of something interesting and affordable.