Peugeot 3008 review
The Peugeot 3008 blends 4x4 looks with the spaciousness of an MPV, while a HYbrid4 model offers ultra-low running costs
The Nissan Qashqai may have created the crossover segment when it was launched back in 2007, but it didn’t have the market to itself for long. The Peugeot 3008 arrived just a year later, with the sole purpose of stealing sales away from the popular Nissan. Since then, a string of rivals have arrived – including the Skoda Yeti and Kia Sportage - but the 3008 is still one of our favourite crossovers. The looks won't be to everybody's taste, but what it lacks in style it more than makes up for with practicality. It’s only available as a five-door, but there’s plenty of interior space, a big boot and neat family-friendly touches like the split rear tailgate. Other plus points include its competitive price and range of refined diesel engines. The range-topping diesel-electric HYbrid4 model joined the line-up in 2011, and was the first ever production car to use battery power in combination with a diesel engine. It was tweaked towards the end of 2012, and now returns average mpg of 80.7 while emitting only 91g/km of CO2.
Our choice: 3008 SR 1.6 HDi FAP manual
The 3008 might not be the best-looking crossover on sale, but it’s definitely not the worst. The design is virtually identical to the Prologue HYmotion concept, which appeared at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. It features supersized versions of the manufacturer’s gaping grille and distinctive nose, while the rear is dominated by thick C-pillars and bulbous rear arches, which combine to make the Peugeot something of an acquired taste. The high-riding suspension gives it a tall driving position, though, ensuring a good view of the road ahead from behind the wheel. The interior looks good, with toggle switches and a swooping grab handle on the raised centre console, but it lacks the reassuring solidity of rivals like the VW Tiguan and Qashqai. There are three specifications to choose from, ranging from Access to Allure trims. Entry-level cars get air conditioning and not much else, but mid-spec Active cars do get 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, rear parking sensors and USB connectivity. Range-topping Allure cars get 18-inch alloys, a panoramic glass roof and head-up windscreen display. The HYbrid4 model is available with 16-inch wheels as standard, while 17-inch wheels are optional but push up CO2 emissions to 99g/km.
The 3008 isn’t as fun to drive as some of its rivals, but it is a relaxing long distance cruiser if you choose the right specification. It’s refined and rides smoothly over even the worst British roads – that is, unless you opt for the HYbrid4 model, which has an extremely harsh ride. There’s a wide range of engines on offer, but our pick of the range are the HDi diesels, as they deliver a good mix of economy and performance. With the exception of the 1.6-litre THP turbo, the petrol options in the range are slow and need to be worked hard to deliver decent performance. The EGC semi-automatic gearbox is also best avoided, as it’s slow and can be extremely jerky. The HYbrid4 model is powered by a combination of a 163bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine and a 37bhp electric motor, that’s capable of propelling it on battery power alone for around three miles and does most of the work in stop-start traffic. It’s impressively quick, with a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds, but is noisier than a petrol-electric model.
Peugeot hasn’t had the best reputation in this area over the years. It finished 28th out of 30 in the 2012 Driver Power manufacturer standings, having clawed itself back up from the bottom of the table just 12 months before. Its biggest problems were with its models’ reliability and build quality – they scored third worst in this category – as well as braking, handling, practicality and comfort. Owners do say that its dealer service has improved, though. The 3008 feels well made but there have been reports of a few electrical faults, which ultimately means it won’t be as reliable as rivals like the Nissan Qashqai or VW Tiguan. As for safety, the 3008 scored a full five-star Euro NCAP rating when it was crash tested back in 2009, with 86 per cent for adult occupant protection and an impressive 97 per cent in the safety assist category. All models get six-airbags, seatbelt reminders, an electronic parking brake and electronic stability control as standard, as well as Isofix mounting points for child seats and an optional ‘grip control’ system on higher spec models.
The 3008 is not only practical but versatile, too. A long wheelbase and high roofline mean there’s a huge amount of head and legroom for back seat passengers, and it’s wide enough for three to sit in comfort, too, making the glovebox is tiny, but huge door pockets and a massive cubby in the centre console more than make up for this. The 512-litre boot is much larger than the Qashqai’s - that has just 410 litres of space, despite having similar dimensions. It also benefits from a false floor that can be split in three different ways to free up more space, while the split tailgate can double as a seat, too. The rear seats fold flat, which makes loading larger items much easier and creates a massive 1,504-litre area. The hybrid model sacrifices a little boot space to make way for the batteries, but still has a maximum capacity of 1,501 litres. Active cars and above also get a spare wheel as standard.
The flagship diesel-electric 3008 HYbrid4 is the most efficient crossover in the UK – particularly since the 2012 model year revisions. Thanks to tweaks to the engine management software, it now returns average fuel economy of 80.7mpg and emits 91g/km of CO2, when fitted with 16-inch low rolling resistance tyres. This is a big improvement over the old model’s figures of 74.4mpg and 99g/km. But even with the larger wheels, the 3008 now emits 99g/km, down from 104g/km, which makes every version in the hybrid line-up free to tax. But it’s not just the expensive hybrid models that are cheap to run, as even the special e-HDi models can shut the engine off when coasting at low speeds to save fuel in town. This means that the1.6 eHDI returns average mpg of 62.8 while emitting 117g/km of CO2. Consumption does vary considerably depending on the size of the wheel and which trim level you choose, but even the top-spec turbocharged 1.6 VTi petrol manages 39.7mpg and emits 167g/km. The punchier diesels will cost you more in insurance than the petrols and have shorter service intervals, too, but are worth the extra outlay for their refinement.