2017 Peugeot 3008 first drive review
In terms of its practicality, its equipment and the way it drives, the Peugeot 3008 certainly has what it takes to be a real contender in the fiercely competitive compact SUV market.
- Peugeot’s midsize car now an SUV rather than a crossover
- Sharp styling and packed with high-tech gizmos
- On sale at the beginning of 2017, priced from £21,795 with engine tested
It’s certainly far more handsome than the awkwardly proportioned effort it replaces, with more conventional SUV lines and smarter details than on the previous 3008 crossover. However, the looks will be something of a red herring to some, because while there’s no shortage of SUVs that are offered with front-wheel drive as well as four-wheel drive, the 3008 will only ever be available as a front-driver. Yes, a system called Grip Control – essentially a very sophisticated traction control system that maximises traction in difficult conditions – is available as an option across the range, but even so, you won’t be venturing too far into the wilderness.
Instead, the 3008 relies on its plentiful technology, as well as its smart looks, to compete.
Like in other Peugeot models, you peer at those dials over the top of the tiny steering wheel rather than through it. But, because the dials are set higher than in other Peugeots, meaning you don’t have to set the wheel so ridiculously low, the driving position doesn’t feel anywhere near as awkward. The toggle switches in the middle of the dashboard that act as shortcuts for the touchscreen infotainment system also help improve ergonomics, but things are still far from perfect on that score. The system is slow to react, the interface is confusing and the screen is nowhere near sensitive enough, so you’ll find yourself jabbing a finger at an on-screen icon several times before your instruction is registered.
Practicality, on the other hand, is very strong indeed. The rear seats have lots of headroom and legroom, allowing four tall adults to stretch out their long limbs. Life is even pretty comfortable for a fifth occupant thanks to a wide middle seat, decent shoulder room and a flat floor in the rear footwell. The boot is large and conveniently shaped, too, and thanks to an adjustable boot floor and rear seats that fold down in a clever way, you’re left with a completely flat load space.
Grip and traction are also in plentiful supply, despite the fact that only the front wheels are powered. The steering, however, is less impressive. It feels utterly disconnected from the rest of the car, and it’s also a shade slow. Combine that with the tiny octagonal steering wheel, and it feels like you’re turning the car by whirling a fifty pence piece around and around.
The turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine we tried was more of a highlight, though. It has a surprising amount of punch from the middle of the rev range right to the top, so it’s capable of a very decent turn of pace. It’s flexible enough at the bottom of the rev range to keep life easy, but you will notice the engine struggle a lot more when you’re loaded up to the gunwales or facing a steep incline. It only becomes rowdy when you really work it, too, and because it usually operates in a smooth and quiet way, the engine contributes to a generally impressive level of rolling refinement.
The company are at pains, however, to point out the generous level of equipment that’s provided as standard throughout the range, and it is genuinely impressive. Even entry-level Active-grade cars will come with alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, climate control, rear parking sensors, a leather steering wheel, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and a DAB radio with Mirrorlink and Apple CarPlay. Allure cars add some styling enhancements inside and out, sat-nav, a 180-degree parking camera and a suite of extra safety systems, while GT Line cars add even more styling goodies, part-faux-leather upholstery, wireless phone charging and full LED headlamps. GT cars offer adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, a foot-operated powered tailgate and massaging leather seats.
Even with kit this generous, though, Peugeot still needs to get the pricing right to attract buyers away from the very impressive array of midsize SUV rivals on offer. And, with the recent arrival of impressive cars such as the VW Tiguan and Seat Ateca, the competition has never been tougher.
- Model: Peugeot 3008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure manual
- Price: £21,795 (for lower spec Active model)
- Engine: 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol, six-speed manual
- Power/Torque: 129bhp/170lb ft
- 0-62mph: 10.8secs
- Top speed: 117mph
- Economy: 55.4mpg
- CO2/BIK tax liability: 117g/km/20%
- Boot space: 591 – 1670 litres