2017 Peugeot 3008 review
The all-new Peugeot 3008 is a fine drive and adds a welcome dose of style to the small SUV class...
Things move pretty quickly in the car world. Take the previous Peugeot 3008 as an example; in 2010 it was our Car of the Year, before being reeled in and overtaken by the excellent Nissan Qashqai as our favourite small SUV. Recently the Seat Ateca has knocked the Qashqai off its perch, and now Peugeot is back, ready to mount a fresh challenge with this all-new 3008.
It only takes a second to see that it means business, too. The new 3008 cuts a striking pose with bold new styling that will surely set it apart on the road. It’s just as distinctive on the inside as well, and bristles with high-tech features and safety equipment.
Under the bonnet there’s a choice of two petrol engines and four diesels. We’re focusing on what’s expected to be the biggest sales generator: the 118bhp 1.6 BlueHDi diesel.
It comes with a choice of the six-speed manual gearbox we’re testing here, or an optional six-speed auto. Interestingly for an SUV, there’s no four-wheel drive variant on any of the engines. Drive goes to the front wheels only, but there is the option of Grip Control, which adds all-weather tyres and a drive mode selector to very effectively optimise the 3008 to cope with loose surfaces such as snow, sand or mud.
What’s the 2016 Peugeot 3008 1.6 BlueHDi 120 like to drive?
This 1.6-litre engine isn’t that quick, but neither is the competition; like a Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 or Seat Ateca 1.6 TDI 115 diesel, it’ll get you from 0-62mph in around 11 seconds. But it’s by no means tardy. In everyday use the hearty punch it delivers between 1500 and 3000rpm is more than enough to whisk you easily to 70mph when joining a motorway, or safely get you past dawdling traffic. It's relatively quiet as well, although you do feel some vibration through the controls.
The manual gearbox isn’t as light or slick as an Ateca’s, but as the clutch and the brakes have a positive bite, it’s easy to operate the 3008 smoothly in city jams.
However, we were testing the car in Italy, where thankfully the glorious winding B-roads outside Bologna were largely empty; here it really impressed. The new 3008 is around 100kg lighter than the previous car, and feels nimbler for it.
Start to push on through tight turns and it keeps its composure admirably, offering plenty of grip with very little body lean. The steering is nicely weighted, even if there’s not a huge amount of sensation from the road through the wheel rim. The unusually small steering wheel Peugeot fits makes it a rather darty in to turns, mind, which takes a bit of getting used to.
The 3008’s ace in the hole is its blend of sharp handling with a cosseting ride. Even on the largest 19in wheels it feels comfortable and well damped most of the time, only really jolting you over particularly vicious potholes. That said, with the Grip Control option and all-weather tyres, the ride becomes slightly less settled.
On standard tyres it’s also refined on motorways, with hardly any road roar or wind noise at speed.
What’s the 2016 Peugeot 3008 1.6 BlueHDi 120 like inside?
Peugeot has pulled out all the stops, giving the 3008 a thoroughly swish, modern interior. The mid-spec Allure trim we're trying has a pleasant mix of materials, and a real quality feel, even next to the premium-priced VW Tiguan.
Not only does it look and feel smart, but it’s comfortable, too. While Peugeot is persevering with its i-Cockpit design - this sits the instruments high on the dashboard above the small steering wheel, which some people find unnatural - the 3008’s high-set driving position suits it better than other Peugeots we’ve tried. Beyond that the front seats are supportive and offer plenty of room for tall drivers, and all models bar the entry-level Active trim have lumbar adjustment as standard. Storage is plentiful, too, including a vast well under the front centre armrest.
Forward visibility is good, and while rearwards the view is hindered by thick rear pillars, all models come with rear parking sensors. A rear or a birds-eye-view camera are also available.
The back seats offer less leg room than either the Ateca or Qashqai, but head room is good as long as you avoid the panoramic roof option. It’s just a shame that there’s no facility to slide or recline the rear seats, as there is in the Tiguan.
A powered tailgate is available, which you can open even with your hands full by waggling your foot under the rear bumper. The boot is big enough to fit a pram in easily, and its floor is height adjustable. On the upper setting it sits at bumper height so there’s no load lip. Leave it in this position and it removes the awkward step when you fold down the rear seats, which are released by handy levers near the tailgate's opening.
Equipment levels, while not confirmed, should be generous. All models should come with automatic emergency city braking, lane departure warning and a 12.3in configurable screen instead of analogue instruments. And you also get Peugeot’s new and much improved infotainment system with an 8.0in central touchscreen, DAB radio, plus MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay as standard. Sat-nav is included from Allure trim upwards.