What are you driving?
The 2017 Peugeot 3008 crossover, in quite a high-ranking guise, as it's the GT Line model powered by Peugeot's 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel engine with 120hp. So it sits about €9,000 up the range from the entry-level petrol (€25,995 for 1.2 PureTech 130) and diesel (€26,515 for the 1.6 BlueHDi 100) versions in Access specification. Though those cars ride on steel wheels with plastic wheel trims, they are otherwise remarkably well-equipped for the money and well-priced too to compete against the segment's best-sellers, such as the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage. Yet Peugeot Ireland tells us that, in line with its upmarket aspirations for the brand, it's the higher spec variants that are proving more popular with buyers. The GT Line is as high-spec as it gets unless you go for the standalone GT model - which is the only version powered by a 2.0-litre diesel with 180hp and costs an eye-watering €44,395.
For the record, the GT Line looks just as good and adds plenty of exterior embellishments to the 3008 Allure below it in the range, including smatterings of black detailing, unique 18-inch alloy wheels, full-LED lights including 'scrolling' front indicators and a panoramic opening glass roof. Inside, there are upgraded materials everywhere, a smartphone charging plate, parking sensors and cameras, plus detail updates to the already standard digital i-Cockpit. Starting at €33,225, the GT Line is not cheap to buy; but sit in and it's clear that this is not the usual crossover, either.
Name its best bits
Mostly the aesthetics, and while we realise that everyone has their own opinion on how good-looking (or otherwise) a car is, we reckon the new Peugeot 3008 is a cracker, really distinctive and interesting (in a good way) in a segment that is often quite conservative. The interior is more divisive, admittedly, with its innovative i-Cockpit layout. There's a chunky steering wheel with a flat bottom AND top to make it easier to look over the top of the rim at the instruments. They take the form of a configurable 12.3-inch digital screen that is slick and sharp of resolution, even if it takes a while to get used to the 'backwards' rev counter. That's all supplemented by an eight-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard, which is quick to respond to input (though the 'back' button is always at the top left of the screen, which can be a stretch and is clearly designed around left-hand-drive vehicles). We also love the tactile piano-like buttons underneath for quick access to the main functions.
Other plus points include a spacious back seat, flat-folding rear seats and low running costs across the range. A glance at the full price list reveals that, GT model aside, the 3008 costs no more than €200 a year to tax - regardless of whether you go for the 1.2-litre petrol models or one of the 1.6- or 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesels. Clearly the diesels will be more economical on a long run, but if you don't do many of those then we'd suggest that the petrol version might be worthy of real consideration. Saying that, the 120hp diesel we drove is feistier feeling thanks to its low-rev torque output, if not quite as smooth or quiet.
Anything that bugs you?
I'll admit that few buyers in this segment go for four-wheel drive, but those that do will find that Peugeot will not be able to fulfil their wishes for all-wheel drive on the 3008. Instead, they'll be offered a system called Grip Control, which bundles together a sophisticated multi-mode traction control system with mud and snow tyres. It's not an expensive upgrade (the price varies depending on the trim level, but it's always in the hundreds), but be wary of claims that it 'makes the car as good as a four-wheel drive'. That's patently not the case. We didn't test it extensively, but on one soggy, grassy, muddy incline in the mountains the 3008 couldn't find traction in any of the modes. I tackled the same piece of grass in the new Land Rover Discovery and it didn't break a sweat or seemingly lose traction once. I know this is just one situation and the Discovery is a proper off-roader, but it's worth keeping in mind the limitations, especially as the mud and snow tyres fitted to the 3008 are quite wide.
And why have you given it this rating?
I don't think that the Grip Control gripe is enough of a reason to dock marks, just something to bear in mind depending on your needs from a car. Aside from that the Peugeot 3008 is a great new option in the growing crossover/compact SUV sector. It's stunning to look at, has a good interior (especially if we're talking about the GT Line version), generous equipment list and low running costs. Whether you want an alternative to the mass market sellers or you are daring enough to leave the established premium brands behind, there's something for everyone in the Peugeot 3008 line-up - it's a well-polished product.
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