First Drive: Does the Peugeot 3008 have substance beneath its obvious style?

Darren Cassey, PA Motoring Reporter
·5-min read

What is it?

Peugeot 3008
(Peugeot)

We probably sound like a stuck record by now, because every time we test a Peugeot we start by talking about how fantastic its line-up is right now. We’re going to do it again, though, because in the space of a few years the French firm has gone from making averagely decent mainstream models to genuinely good-looking cars inside and out – that are also great to drive.

Today we’re testing the facelifted second-generation 3008, a small SUV that was already great, particularly compared with the uninspiring first-generation model. It’s had some nip and tuck as well as new technology upgrades, so let’s test them out.

What’s new?

Peugeot 3008
(Peugeot)

This being a mid-life facelift there’s no long list of changes, but there’s a striking new front end with a frameless grille that looks like nothing else on the road. It stands out even more than the Peugeot 508, which debuted a similar design.

It also gets LED lighting technology with a new ‘fog mode’ which uses a lower intensity dipped beam rather than separate fog lights, a new ‘black pack’, upgraded interior technology and improved safety equipment, including night vision.

What’s under the bonnet?

Peugeot 3008
(Peugeot)

Peugeot’s philosophy is to offer a wid variety of powertrains on each model, so you can choose between petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid versions. Each uses an eight-speed automatic, but the 128bhp entry-level petrol also has a six-speed manual option.

We tested the top-spec hybrid, which uses a petrol engine and two electric motors for a combined 296bhp. It’s the only version available with four-wheel-drive, has CO2 emissions of just 29g/km and is capable of up to 36 miles on zero emissions.

With so much performance on offer, it’s no surprise that the 3008 is incredibly spritely for what is supposed to be a sedate family car. Getting up to speed on motorway on-ramps is fun and will surprise others on the road, but it’s fair to say there’s a little gruffness to the engine note when you’re not in EV mode.

What’s it like to drive?

Peugeot 3008
(Peugeot)

Peugeot has resisted the urge to go too sporty with the 3008, despite having a dinky steering wheel better-suited to a hot supermini and a powerful powertrain. It manages to tread a fine line, though, between offering a comfortable ride in general driving but also feeling nimble on a twisty back road.

There is a slight coarseness to the ride, where small bumps in the road are definitely noticeable, but that could be down to the 18-inch alloy-wheels of our GT-trimmed test car.

Meanwhile, the steering is quick and responsive, which makes driving in traffic a breeze without translating to nervousness at higher speeds. It’s a settled car, this, and while it doesn’t excel in any aspects, it manages to do everything well without feeling compromised.

How does it look?

Peugeot 3008
(Peugeot)

There have been murmurs to suggest some don’t like the way the 3008 looks, but they must be few and far between. To our eyes, the 3008 looks fantastic, cutting a bold, modern figure out on the road and truly standing out among more drab machinery in car parks – even in darker shades.

The front end is the highlight, with the frameless grille and ‘claws’ for daytime running lights. While the front is all aggressive lines and arguably fussy design, the rear has a much cleaner simplicity to it. It’s got a retro boxy edge, and the redesigned LED tail lights have the signature ‘three-claw’ effect.

What’s it like inside?

Peugeot 3008
(Peugeot)

The stylish design continues to the interior, too, echoing the wild styling of the front end. The centre console has a swooping effect surrounding the gear shifter, with the silver switches for menu shortcuts sitting above it.

The tablet-like infotainment screen (a 10-inch unit that’s now available on all trim levels) is pretty easy to use – though it’s still frustrating having to tweak climate controls through digital menus.

The steering wheel is tiny and takes some getting used to, but the digital i-Cockpit screen is better-positioned in the 3008 than elsewhere, where the wheel blocks the view of important information such as your speed.

What’s the spec like?

Peugeot 3008
(Peugeot)

Prices start at £27,160 for Active Premium models, which includes the latest digital i-Cockpit and has an 8.0-inch infotainment screen as standard, and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Step up to Allure and prices start at £28,760, and get the 10-inch infotainment screen as standard, as well as automatic high beam headlights, dark tinted windows and 18-inch alloy wheels. Allure Premium, starting at £29,460, adds aluminium roof rails, blue LED interior lighting, a foldable passenger seat and fabric inserts inside.

GT models start at £31,260 and get a sporty exterior styling pack, full LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and a sports interior with Alcantara seat trim. Finally, GT Premium is by far the most expensive, starting at £35,260. This adds a 360-degree camera, premium Focal stereo system, heated seats and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Verdict

Peugeot 3008
(Peugeot)

The Peugeot 3008 continues to feel like a breath of fresh air, bringing some much-needed individuality to what is traditionally a rather uninteresting segment. Jump inside and the interior is fantastic too, feeling like it uses great quality materials while looking cool, too.

It’s not style over substance, though, with the 3008 also proving decent to drive and having low running costs on the hybrids in particular. It might lack the final details the best-in-class achieve, and the driving position is rather awkward, but if you’re looking for a smart, reasonably priced family SUV, the 3008 should definitely be on your shopping list.

  • Model as tested: Peugeot 3008 SUV

  • Price as tested: £44,810

  • Engine: 1.6-litre petrol-electric

  • Power: 296bhp

  • Torque: 520Nm

  • Max speed: 149mph

  • 0-60mph: 6.1 seconds

  • MPG: 166-235

  • Emissions: 29g/km CO2