Uncommonly interesting interior, neat handling
Some detail missteps beneath the surface
What is it?
This is the facelifted second generation 3008 – a car that was already rather better than its puddingy predecessor. Quick bit of recent history: the original 3008 clumsily attempted to rival stuff like the Nissan Qashqai and VW Tiguan, but categorically failed to win the attention of anyone who cared one iota about their car possessing any dynamic or technological nous.
The new one couldn’t feel more different. From the outside it’s a truly striking thing, and the facelift has brought a new frameless grille similar to that of the 508 saloon, as well as aggressive lights at the front and rear, and slots in the front wings that seem to bleed from the front grille. These are all good things.
Early offers of the two-tone colour scheme that aped the 308 GTI hot hatch appear to have been rescinded, though. In its place is a brand-new ‘Black Pack’ styling option (all badges, spoilers and wheels darkened down) for the top spec GT and GT Premium trim levels. If you go for nighttime everything, it’s a properly interesting pack, as far as lightly practical family-style cars go. Check out ‘Ultimate Red’ with the black pack and you’ll see what we mean.
And on that front, it’s a five-seat family car that sidesteps many of the SUV tropes very nicely. Practical, but not enormous. Stylish, but not self-consciously so.
Sounds interesting, but what about the rest?
Inside, the wow-factor only strengthens. So long as you can cope with Peugeot’s infamously small steering wheel (you will get used to it, promise) this is a superb place to be. Digital dials are standard on every version and are customised via a simple scroll button on the steering wheel. No faffing around in distracting sub-menus here.
The toggle switches, now-enlarged media screen and huge central storage bin all combine to make the 3008’s innards a far more easy-going place to be than the spaceship-esque first impression its mad array of shapes might give. It’s no staidly safe VW Group product in here, and all the better for it.
There are engines. Several of them. You’ve a choice of a small turbo petrol (128bhp 1.2-litre Puretech) and a turbo diesel (128bhp 1.5-litre BlueHDi), using a six-speed manual gearbox as standard with a slick eight-speed automatic (e-EAT8) as an option. Then there are a pair of hybrids, the 225 and the 300, which come with a 1.6-litre petrol supported by an electric motor. All are front-wheel drive, apart from the Hybrid4.
What’s this Hybrid4 of which you speak?
Glad you asked. Keeping the 3008 extremely on point in terms of trendy tax-friendliness are a pair of plug-in hybrids. There’s a front-driven version, possessing 222bhp (the ‘225’ tag is European PS), but of more interest is the four-wheel-drive Hybrid4 300 with its 296bhp of total output; basically Golf R power. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is some secret hooligan: the power is metered so that it feels rapid rather than ridiculously energetic.
There’s an all-wheel drive mode on this top-spec model, and it works: TG managed a wet grass field with no problem at all, although this is slick-road biased rather than off-road ready; ground clearance is still as per the standard car. More relevant stats are 29g/km of CO2 emissions and 36 miles of fully electric range, but that’s only if you remember to plug it in regularly, which is no great hardship if you have a wallbox at home.
The 3008 range starts at around £29,435 for an Active Premium+ spec car in traditional old 1.2 Puretech petrol manual setup, rising to £47,380 if you want a bells, whistles and kitchen sink Hybrid4 300 e-EAT8. Yep, an almost £50k Peugeot…
What’s the 3008 up against?
The list of rivals for the 3008 spans quite some distance, seeing as it’s a five-seat family car. So you can stretch from hatches to SUVs without seeing a massive issue. But the main ones would probably be the Nissan Qashqai, Seat Ateca, Ford Kuga, Renault Kadjar, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Vauxhall Grandland. There are probably others, but the list would get boring. Suffice to say it’s got some competition for your cash.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Crossovers, SUVs, whatever you want to call them… we have trouble recommending them, by and large. No matter how sweet to drive (Ford Puma) or relentlessly practical (Nissan Qashqai), they rarely offer much over the hatchback they’re based upon, short of a taller driving position.
The 3008 makes its extra size and height feel genuinely useful though, and with its surprisingly low kerb weight and lithe handling, it’s not hamstrung by its additional heft over a Peugeot 308. It offers so much more than a 308, in fact; its interior and wealth of tech are particular highlights. Facelifted versions are decidedly handsome too.
We’ve long since admitted defeat to these things. People like SUVs, and people buy SUVs. In vast numbers. If you intend on adding another to the roads, look here before anywhere else. The Peugeot 3008 is one of the very best.