UK deliveries of the all-new Peugeot 3008 started in January just as the car dominated the 2017 Dakar Rally, writes David Miles.
The new model is described as a Crossover cum SUV rather than the previous generation, introduced in 2009, which was more MPV cum Crossover.
In a timely manner raid rally versions of the Peugeot 3008 finished in the first three podium places in the 2017 Dakar Rally which ended at the weekend in South America after 5,625-miles of torturous cross-country competition.
Not only does the all-new Peugeot 3008 look more of a chunky but very stylish SUV, it is roomier with a very classy interior with more specification in the five-door and five-seater body.
In the UK there is no shortage of established new competitors of the C-segment size such as the new SEAT Ateca, the Renault Kadjar, the top sector selling British built Nissan Qashqai, Ford’s Kuga, VW Tiguan, the popular Kia Sportage, Hyundai’s Tucson, the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and now their very new C-HR, the new 2017 Mitsubishi ASX plus the Suzuki S-Cross/Vitara and onwards the list continues to grow in line with customer demand.
On top of these models, but of a similar size, are the premium brand Audi Q3, BMW X3, Mercedes GLA, Jaguar F-Pace, Range Rover Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Priced from £21,75 up to £32,995 the new Peugeot 3008 range offers Active, the best expected best selling Allure, GT Line and GT levels of specification with a choice, depending on the spec level chosen, of two petrol and four diesel engines.
These are the 1.2-litre three-cylinder 130hp PureTech turbo petrol with six speed manual and automatic gearbox choices, the 1.6 THP four cylinder turbo petrol with 165hp with an automatic gearbox, and a family of 1.6 BlueHDi turbodiesels with 100hp manual, 120hp manual and auto, 150hp manual and the 180hp automatic. All units have Stop&Start as standard for lower CO2 emissions with petrol units rated from 115g/km and diesels from 100g/km.
All new 3008s are essentially front wheel drive despite their SUV looks but Allure, GT Line and GT spec levels can be ordered with Peugeot’s Advanced Grip Control system, basically a clever differential which offers various driving modes such as Normal, Snow, Mud, Sand and ESP Off and costs an extra £260 to £770 depending on the style of 18-inch alloy wheel chosen which are all shod with grippier Mud & Snow tyres.
The new 3008 is larger in all areas than before as it uses a version of the Peugeot 308 SW estate platform. It is 4,447mm in length, an increase of 80mm which allows for a 62mm longer wheelbase. The width has increased as well to 1,840mm which combines with the longer wheelbase to give 24mm more rear seat legroom, 17mm more front elbow room, 4mm more rear elbow room and with an overall height of 1,624mm there is 36mm more headroom as long as the sunroof option is not taken.
In addition the boot capacity has increased from 432 to 520-litres and the total load capacity with the rear seat backs folded is 1,670-litres. The 60/40 rear seat backs fold completely flat and there is an adjustable height load bed floor so it is easy to load heavy items. There is also the option of a hands-free opening/closing tailgate.
Whereas the previous 3008 had a rounded exterior design and looked quite dumpy as was the fashion at the time, the new 3008 looks much sharper and more athletic. At the front is an imposing upright front grille with the central Lion badge flanked by sleek projector headlights and a robust bumper houses air vents, LED daytime driving lights and a tough looking skid plate.
Topping off the front is a classy looking clamshell bonnet. To the side there is a high waistline which rises slightly towards the rear with a rising kink below the hidden C-pillar. The roof life lowers slightly towards the rear giving a mild coupe look. At the rear is a wide tailgate, strongly styled bumper, skid plate and signature Lion’s claw design rear lights.
If the exterior gives that wow that’s different factor, the first impression of the interior front design has an even larger wow factor. The twin front i-Cockpit is very futuristic with a dramatic dashboard, high level instrument binnacle viewed over the smaller diameter steering wheel which now has flattened top and bottom sections of the rim.
Centrally positioned in the dashboard, but canted towards the drive, is a high-level 8-inch tablet style touchscreen containing all the latest communication functions. Below that is a series of seven piano key style toggle switches providing direct access to main driving functions such as entertainment, hazard warning lights, air conditioning, vehicle settings, phone connection and mobile applications. It is still annoying that the air distribution and temperature controls still have to be done via the touchscreen rather than simple controls so the driver’s eyes are taken away from road.
However the latest i-Cockpit design also provides as standard a 12.3-inch screen behind the steering wheel, similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. This allows five different display modes accessed via a scroll roller button on the steering wheel. It can be used to change the display of the dials, decide what is displayed and most usefully show the sat-nav directions right in front of the driver.
Auto emergency braking, Lane Keep Assist, Apple CarPlay and DAB radio are all standard fit items as are electrically operated windows and door mirrors, air-con and auto lights and wipers. The best selling Allure spec level of my test car had additions such as Peugeot Connect SOS, 3D Connected Navigation, reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors. As always there is a long list of extra cost options to meet the personalisation requirements customers seem happy to pay extra for.
Generally the trim and upholstery combinations of textures and colours look and feel very up-market and only the lower door sections of plastic trim feel less expensive. The driving position is first rate and the seats really comfortable. With the limited height glass areas towards the rear quarters of the vehicle do restrict visibility at times.
So the new Peugeot 3008 looks good and feels good but how does it perform? Just a very short initial drive and there was another wow from me. This was for the comfortable and compliant ride. Not too soft to detract from the sharp handling, which would initiate too much body-roll during cornering, but a first class balance between comfort and handling. It is not the most agile of mid-sized SUVS but it’s no overweight roly-poly slouch either.
The use of the smaller diameter steering wheel made the steering feel really sharp and responsive. The suspension shrugged off impacts from all but the severest of deep potholes and only the courser treaded tyres set up a ‘hum’ on some road surfaces.
As for the engine performance my test car had the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120hp turbodiesel unit which is expected to be the most popular. The vehicle also had the six-speed electronically controlled CVT type automatic gearbox which has received further updates to the software to smooth out its gearchanges and responses for a better match with the characteristics of the engine.
Generally the changes were smooth but sometimes the unit held onto gears for too long especially third gear when there was enough torque of 300Nm from 1,750rpm driving in commuter traffic at 30mph or fourth or even fifth gear ratios to be used. The same for 50mph open road cruising when the system elected fifth gear but sixth gear could be selected manually by using the gearshift paddles for a more relaxed drive.
Currently VED road tax is £0 for the First Year rate and then £20 for Year Two onwards. However after 1 April this year new VED bands come into force and the costs change to £140 every year, but remember this only applies to new cars bought after 1 April so if you want one buy it now or at least soon. Company car drivers currently will pay 21% Benefit-in-Kind tax which goes up to 23% from April this year.
On the subject of costs my Allure spec 1.6 BlueHDi turbodiesel 120hp auto version costs £26,845 plus £470 for that all-important – I think- Advanced Grip Control option. You could select a manual gearbox version with the same spec and engine and it will cost £25,445 plus £470 if the Grip Control option is taken.
These prices look a bit steep especially if options are added but they are not out-of-line with the competition and we know after the initial rush to buy in the longer term it will be market forces that actually dictate the real-life transaction price. However delay the decision to buy and taxation costs are increasing and who know if the value of the Pound will go up or down.
Currently PCP style finance monthly lease plans are popular with retail buyers of new cars. According to Peugeot’s website the 3008 1.2-litre petrol Active range starter version using their Passport scheme costs £273 a month for 36-months. The 1.6 diesel with Allure spec is £326 a month, but offers vary all the time in this competitive market sector.
All-new Peugeot 3008 Allure SUV, 1.6 BlueHDi 120 auto with the Grip Control option £26,845 + £470
Engine/transmission: 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder, BlueHDi turbodiesel with Stop&Start, 6-speed electronic automatic, 120hp, 300Nm of torque from 1,750rpm
Performance: 115mph, 0-62mph 11.6-seconds
Combined Cycle 64.2mpg (51.7mpg on test), CO2 108g/km
VED road tax £0/£20, BIK company car tax 21%
Insurance group: 16E
Warranty: 3-years/unlimited mileage
Dimensions/capacities: L 4,447mm, W 1,840mm, H 1,624mm, boot/load space 520 to 1,670-litres, braked trailer towing weight 1,300kg (1,500kg manual)
For: Vastly improved kerb appeal exterior styling, chic interior, good specification, refined engine and transmission, very comfortable ride, roomier than before, low running costs.
Against: Very little except, limited rear/rear quarter visibility, auto gearbox sluggish to change up a gear at times, watch the cost of adding those personalisation options.
© David Miles