What Car? says...
Whether you’re a fan of how the Peugeot 3008 looks or not, one thing’s for sure: the French firm has certainly tried to give its family SUV a striking appearance. It taps right into the current trend for aggressive styling, whereas its predecessor, a previous What Car? Car of the Year, looked frumpier and more like an MPV.
Then there's its swish interior. Compared with the functional dashboards of rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca, the 3008 follows the style of its bigger 5008 stablemate with an avant-garde design that's more akin to a motor show concept car. Not only are there plenty of plush materials and, in many models, ambient LED lighting, but there are also quirky touches like fabric wrapped dashboard panels and ‘piano key’ buttons. In some ways, it’s even more visually arresting than the interiors of premium rivals like the Audi Q5.
Of course, beyond the visual stimuli, the Peugeot 3008 needs to be practical, cheap to run and good to drive if it’s to succeed in this extremely competitive class. Thankfully Peugeot has you covered with a range of frugal yet punchy engines – including some plug-in hybrid options. Equipment levels are pretty good too, although as you’ll find out in our review, it pays to pick your trim carefully.
So, stick with us as we steer you through the maze of engines, trim levels and options available on the 3008. If you fancy buying a 3008 or any other new car, have a look at our New Car Buying section for huge savings on a wide range of models.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
If you prefer a petrol engine to a diesel, take a look at the 128bhp 1.2-litre (badged PureTech 130). You might think such a small engine would struggle to pull the 3008, but it’s actually surprisingly peppy and eager to rev. If you’re after more poke there’s a more powerful 179bhp 1.6-litre petrol PureTech 180. It’s rather pricey, but performance is strong, although you do need to work it harder than you do the larger, similarly powerful engines in rivals such as the Skoda Karoq.
Two diesels are available. The 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 comes with 129bhp and a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. It’s a flexible engine that might not make the 3008 particularly fast, but does offer strong real-world pace and will pull the car effortlessly even when fully loaded. The 2.0 BlueHDi 180 is strong, but is very expensive compared to the rest of the range.
Then you have the plug-in hybrid options. The Hybrid 225 is two-wheel drive and offers 222bhp, while the other Hybrid4 300 is all-wheel drive with a whopping 296bhp. So far we’ve only driven the Hybrid4 300 and its outright acceleration is impressively rapid. It’s also officially able to travel up to 40 miles under electric power alone from a full charge – although you can expect a figure closer to 25-30 miles in real-world driving conditions. A range for the Hybrid 225 is yet to be announced.
It’s worth knowing that in order to charge your hybrid 3008’s battery at full speed from a 7kW wallbox charger, you’ll need to pay extra. If you do it’ll get a full charge in two hours, otherwise the best it’ll manage is four hours, or eight hours from a domestic three-pin plug.
Suspension and ride comfort
The standard suspension set-up on the 3008 is, on the whole, pretty good. Its ride is not quite as soft as the Skoda Karoq’s, but does take the edge off ridges and expansion joints that the firmer-riding Seat Ateca tends to thud over. Strike a particularly vicious pothole, though, and it’ll still give you a hefty jolt.
Because of this softness the body moves around a fair bit over undulating roads, and the consistent bobbing can jostle you and your passengers around. However, it’s something you’ll be aware of, rather than annoyed by.
Against convention, adding bigger 19in wheels doesn’t ruin the ride, but the Grip Control package does have an impact on smoothness. It includes all-weather tyres with stiffer, less absorbant side walls that make the 3008’s ride more restless. The plug-in hybrids, meanwhile, are considerably heavier than other models, but this extra weight is carried by a more sophisticated rear suspension system that’s adaptive as standard, so, while it is a bit firmer than in other models, it’s still not uncomfortable.
'Perfectly adequate but not exceptional' is a good summation of the 3008’s handling prowess. On the motorway the steering is a little vague around the straight-ahead, and the small steering wheel adds some initial nervousness to the car’s response, which takes some getting used to. Otherwise, it offers reasonable steering weight, giving the driver confidence as you sweep the car through turns.
Despite the soft suspension set-up used by most 3008s (the plug-in hybrid models are a little firmer), body lean is largely kept at bay. However, the front end does tend to pitch down under braking, while the rear end can float a little after encountering crests in the road.
In the main, though, it’s secure, grips well and remains light and manageable around town – but the extra performance of the hybrid models rather underlines the 3008’s dynamic shortcomings, namely steering and body control that just don’t give you the confidence to make full use of the power available.
Noise and vibration
On reaching motorway speeds, you’ll notice some wind noise emanating from the door mirrors, and the tyres can add to the decibel levels over coarse surfaces. Neither of these flaws is exactly overbearing, although the Karoq is a noticeably quieter car. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is very smooth, and the 1.5-litre diesel isn’t far behind. The 2.0-litre diesels, meanwhile, aren’t unpleasant, but are the gruffest engines in the range.
The plug-in hybrid is, predictably, quiet in electric mode, but less so when the engine kicks in. The transition between electric and petrol power isn’t seamless when you ask for a hard burst of acceleration, but in normal driving conditions it shuffles between power sources in an unintrusive manner.
What’s perhaps more irksome in all models is how the controls feel. The brakes feel grabby in stop-start traffic and the clutch action is springier than is ideal. The gearlever has quite a long throw, too, and doesn’t snick through its gate with any great precision. Still the diesel somehow has a better shift action than the petrol and the automatic gearbox – while occasionally clunky when pulling away and hesitant when you ask for a sudden burst of hard acceleration – is smooth on the move.