Peugeot 3008 GT 2.0 BlueHDi review
Never mind let people eat cake; if people want SUVs, then French car maker Peugeot will give them SUVs. Gone is the dumpy styling of the old 3008, which was more of a 'people carrier', and in its place a sharply suited family car with 4x4 looks, though it relies on electronic traction control systems to cope with snow, ice or mud. Surprise number two is that it is so agile to drive and the cabin so plush. Peugeot is on a roll at the moment.
Review by Russell Bray
Acceleration is brisk once rolling but you need to keep the revs down for refined performance, something the six-speed automatic transmission does with ease if left to its own devices. The 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel rattles at times, but is quiet at cruising speeds. Maximum power of 177bhp arrives at 3,750rpm; but long before that (from 2,000rpm) you can be enjoying the meaty 295 lb ft of torque that makes progress easy. Only on tight uphill hairpins on the test route - part of the legendary Mille Miglia road race course near Bologna, Italy - did one wish for more power, and rear wheel drive. Acceleration to 62mph takes 8.9 seconds and top speed is 131mph. In due course the car will be available with 99 or 118bhp 1.6 litre or 148bhp 2-litre diesels and a 128bhp turbocharged 1.2 litre and 163bhp 1.6 litre petrol.
Older drivers will remember Peugeot's chassis engineers could make its front-wheel drive cars corner with a precision and adjustability like no other. It was cars like the 106 Rallye and 205 GTI that helped build the company's reputation before some executive thought people didn't care about handling so money could be saved. The dull, unaware drivers this policy attracted can be seen on the roads every day. With the 3008 SUV, unlikely though it sounds, Peugeot has found its mojo again and the car zings through bends with little body lean and without resorting to rock solid suspension as so loved by German car makers. Yes, the tiny steering wheel helps the go-kart feel but for an everyday five-seater this car is well sorted. It's impressive considering a twist beam rear axle set-up. Despite the 4x4 looks the 3008 is only front-wheel drive with electronic grip and hill descent control to keep the car under control on farm tracks and steep descents. The body is shaped so that you can tackle a 20 degree slope at the front and 29 degrees when descending on to a flat surface from a slope.
Confidence. That's what the styling of Peugeot's new 3008 SUV says. You can even get it with two colour Coupe Franche livery though that might be too avant garde for the UK. With its unusual headlights and lion's claw slash rear lights, the 3008 looks modern and well proportioned, while some large air vents give it an air of purpose. The optional black diamond roof and panoramic opening glass roof increase the feel of a quality product. The previous car's split rear tailgate has gone in favour of an up and over, but on top level models the boot floor slides out as a handy platform and there are pulls which make folding the one-third, two-third split rear seats simple. For carrying skis inside the car if you don't have the passengers you can fold down the back of the front passenger seat for extra load length. The electric tailgate can be opened by waving your foot under the rear bumper if your hands are full. Ground clearance is 22 cms. Length 4,447mm. Width 2,098mm (inc mirrors).
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Based on the limited amount of time in the car that a press drive allows it is mainly good news in this section. Being tall I would have liked more front seat lumbar support and for longer journeys suspect the rear seat back rest might be too upright. One shorter driver complained the steering wheel obstructed his view of the instruments, but may have had the driver's seat set too low. Check before ordering one. The small steering wheel feels a bit Playstation but is okay once you get used to it, though in a fast car I would prefer a normal wheel. Headroom and space are not as good in the back as the front and the rear seat backrest doesn't recline. The so-called i-Cockpit provides an electronic dashboard, with variable displays, and a touch screen for the stereo, heater and satellite navigation. Thankfully some functions, unlike on recent Renaults, are worked via snazzy toggle switches, but the air conditioning controls are on the screen which makes them hard to use when driving. The instrument panel doesn't do the full width map or Google Earth display of some Audis but it doesn't cost £1,600 extra either. Considering the car's high tech air it's surprising there aren't more USB connections but perhaps we didn't find them. Like a computer, there's a lot to learn on this car.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
This flagship diesel model returns 58.9 MPG on the official test cycles, which are set to change next April. Peugeot is already promoting its own real world tests which use a large number of everyday drivers to produce consumption figures. It will be interesting if other car makers do similar because it would seem to put them at a marketing disadvantage. It seems petrol figures suffer worse under this regime and the new coming ones. Driving on demanding and hilly roads in Italy the dashboard readout said 38.5 MPG. The forthcoming 100 and 120bhp turbo diesel 3008s record 70.6 MPG on the combined cycle under the old regime, but this drops to 65.7 MPG if the car is on 18-inch wheels rather than 17-inch ones.
Engines are all Euro spec 6.1 and best in class for fuel efficiency claims Peugeot. Weight has been reduced by an average of 100kg compared to the previous model by using very high strength steels and thermoplastic for the boot floor and rear tailgate. Body wings, front suspension arms and rear seat frames are aluminium to save weight. Aerodynamics have been improved to reduce fuel consumption when cruising. Quieter engines have allowed the use of less sound deadening materials. To help the driver's mobility the 3008 is available with an electric scooter (£1,100) that folds away in the boot. A folding bicycle with electrical assistance is also available.
Peugeot's move upmarket with the 3008 means the lowest level Access trim has been ditched. All 3008 models for the UK come with a digital dashboard with functions you can vary as standard, rather than costing £1,600 extra as on the new Audi Q2. The richer mix is working. Higher trim levels have increased to 44% of sales so far this year and 63% on the new Peugeot 2008 which is good news for profits. Standard Active equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and halogen fog lamps, dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Allure trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a safety pack with lane-keep assist and blind spot warning, satellite navigation with live traffic updates and a reversing camera. GT Line gets sports styling and LED headlights, while the new GT trim of the test car means 19-inch wheels, panoramic glass sunroof, keyless entry leather seats, adaptive cruise control, massage seats and electric tailgate. Peugeot expects half of UK buyers to choose Allure trim.
Model tested: Peugeot 3008 GT 2.0 BlueHDi
Body-style: Five-door SUV
Engine / CO2: 177bhp 2.0 four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine / g/km
Trim grades: Active, Allure, GT Line, GT
On-road price: From £21,795. Price as tested £26,500 (estimate)
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: January 2017
Review rating: 4.0 Stars