The 3008 is now an SUV says Peugeot, even if it's not offered with four-wheel drive, so we say it's more crossover in reality. That's Qashqai territory, but Peugeot's talking up its upmarket appeal. Impressive as the new 3008 is, the numbers will need to add up for it to make an impact on sales of that car and the top-selling Hyundai Tucson.
In the metal
After years in the styling wilderness Peugeot has well and truly got its design mojo back, and the 3008 demonstrates that forcefully. Gone are the guinea-piggish looks of its dumpy predecessor, replaced by a sharp, bold design that really makes the 3008 stand out - for the right reasons. It's so different that Peugeot is insisting the 3008 is now an SUV rather than a crossover, though we're not so sure given it'll not be offered with four-wheel drive. Nonetheless, with decent ground clearance and the option of a hill descent control system, it should get you off the beaten track if you so wish. The neat lines with bold detailing do differ between models, as the front grille and lights change depending on specification. Entry-level cars are marked out by vertical elements in their grilles and slightly different light and bumper profiles, while more expensive versions get horizontal bars, additional chrome and, on top models, roof bars - though even without those the 3008 is a stand-out stunner.
Those interesting looks are carried over to the interior, with a digital-heavy dashboard, cool i-Cockpit and infotainment, which offers all the connectivity and configurability you could ever wish for. It takes a bit of learning, but works well once you're familiar with it - though the need to use the touchscreen to change things like the ventilation does seem a bit unnecessarily convoluted at times.
The bank of switches under the central screen are a smart touch, though Peugeot's quest to be bold and different does mean you're denied anything as conventional as a round steering wheel. Like those on the Peugeot 308 and Peugeot 208, it's small, though it's not as awkwardly positioned, so it's possible to both find a decent driving position and see the instruments clearly - something that's not always the case in its hatchback relations. Against its rivals the 3008 has got the capacity to wow inside. Space is generous too, with plenty of passenger and luggage room, though the view out of the back is limited by the tiny rear window.
The 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine (BlueHDi 120) will likely be the biggest seller, and it's offered with six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. There's a lower-powered 100hp offering, with a five-speed manual, too, though the model mix for Ireland has yet to be confirmed. The 1.6 HDi engine is smooth, even when it's labouring off boost under 1,500rpm, while the six-speed manual transmission needs a bit of work to get the 3008 working. Once the engine is in its power and torque band it's brisk and easy enough to drive. Quiet, too, as only high revs results in any clatter. Saying that, if you press the (utterly pointless in this car) Sport button, not only is the steering assistance reduced, but some unpleasant engine sounds are piped into the cabin.
The 3008 isn't sporty, then, but nor should it be, as its buyers will want it to be quiet, easy to drive and comfortable. Even on pretty heavily broken tarmac and on large 19-inch wheels the suspension's relatively free from knocks. It should prove even more so on smaller wheels of lower specification models. Grip is high, and what body roll there is adds to the comfort. Peugeot has found a good balance of comfort and agility, which suits its family-orientated market well. The steering feels a bit artificial, and the lumpy rim itself doesn't feel natural in your hands either, but there's little wrong with how the 3008 drives - the biggest compliment, perhaps, is that it's unremarkable, but then that's true of all its competitors, and it's what most buyers are happy with. What also counts is the promise of good economy; the official figures suggest combined economy of 70.6mpg (4.0 litres/100km), which won't be achievable in the real world, but 50mpg (5.6 litres/100km) should be if you're not in too much of a hurry...
What you get for your money
The Peugeot 3008 is priced from €25,995 for the entry-level 3008 Access powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol unit producing 130hp and emitting 117g/km. Diesel power kicks off at €26,515 for the 3008 Access 1.6 BlueHDi with 100hp and emissions of 103g/km. That 1.6-litre unit is also available in 120hp guise (104g/km manual or 108g/km automatic), while a 150hp 2.0-litre BlueHDi engine tops the line-up.
Access level features Peugeot's new iCockpit as standard, consisting of a configurable 12.3-inch digital display in place of traditional instruments, a small multifunction steering wheel and an eight-inch touchscreen interface in the middle of the dashboard. There's also Bluetooth, USB, ESP stability control, six airbags, cruise control with speed limiter and more safety equipment including Speed Limit Information with Intelligent Speed Adaptation, Driver Attention Alert Level 1 and Lane Departure Warning. Though the 3008 Access has steel wheels, it does have one-touch electric windows all-round, 'Magic Flat' folding rear seats and air conditioning.
Level two is the 3008 Active, adding the Euro NCAP Pack (Advanced Emergency Braking System with video camera and radar and Front Collision Warning), rear parking sensors and camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, alloy roof rails, auto lights and wipers, LED daytime running lights, dual-zone climate control, Mirrorscreen smartphone connectivity, Wi-Fi and electric folding door mirrors. Prices start from €28,295 for that. Next up is the 3008 Allure, from €29,855, featuring the Safety Plus Pack (to include Active Blind Spot Detection (ABSD), Active Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA) and Advanced Driver Attention Alert), front parking aid, 18-inch alloy wheels and considerable enhancements to the interior. Topping the 3008 line-up is the new GT Line car, from €33,225, which is loaded down with further equipment and trim upgrades.
The 2017 Peugeot 3008 is a good looking, fine driving car that eclipses its quirky predecessor in every way. Peugeot Ireland has managed to keep the entry-level price down to acceptable levels, especially as the standard list of equipment is quite generous, but buyers will no doubt be tempted by the even more impressive variants available further up the range.