New Peugeot 3008 2020 review

More equipment and an even better interior keep the Peugeot 3008 near the top of the mid-sized SUV class

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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The family SUV class moves at a breathtaking pace, but the revised 3008 still sits somewhere near the top of it. It’s perhaps a little frustrating that Peugeot hasn’t used this opportunity to install a wider range of electrified versions, including some mild hybrids to sit alongside the pricier plug-ins. But even so, the updates to the high-quality cabin and even more generous equipment lists should have some appeal for upgrading owners and new customers alike. 

The Peugeot 3008 has been a hugely significant model for the French brand over the past few years – because it was this car, and its larger Peugeot 5008 stablemate, that really introduced ‘new Peugeot’ back in 2016. Gone were the slightly awkward, frumpy creations of the previous decade, replaced by edgy styling, cutting-edge in-car tech and cabin quality that had premium rivals gasping in open admiration.

The family SUV class doesn’t stand still, though, so Peugeot now has an updated 3008 for 2021. The focus for the updates has been tweaks to the styling and standard equipment, all designed to engage existing customers and keep the model standing out from the crowd for prospective new buyers.

The exterior tweaks are typical facelift fare, to be frank – which is to say that there are revisions to plastic components but nothing drastic. That means a new frameless grille, revised headlights with LED tech across the range and smoked glass on the tail-lights to help give the rear of the car a slightly wider look.

The overall effect is as subtle as you might expect – which is to say that anyone whose boat wasn’t floated by the 3008 before is unlikely to see anything here to change their mind. But equally, existing customers may well find the revisions a neat, worthy update. Perhaps more significantly, the 3008’s spec lists have also been treated to the sort of boost that appeals to those reaching the end of their existing PCP deals.

There are five trims in the revised line-up, starting with Active Premium, which brings 17-inch alloys, dual-zone air-conditioning, front and rear parking sensors and an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple and Android smartphone connectivity. It also gets the Peugeot i-Cockpit, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel that you’re meant to view over the steering wheel, instead of through it.

Move up to Allure and you get 18-inch alloys and a larger 10-inch display for the infotainment system, which also includes navigation. Allure Premium – the version we’re trying here – then costs an additional £700 and brings keyless entry, aluminium roof rails, a fold-flat front passenger seat and ambient interior lighting. The top of the range is based on GT – which has LED headlights, a contrast black roof, adaptive cruise control, and Alcantara and leather upholstery. This trim also gets a ‘Premium’ variant which includes 19-inch alloys, a powered tailgate, an upgraded stereo, a 360-degree parking camera and heated front seats with massaging function.

These revised specs actually represent more significant change than there is in the technical line-up, because the 3008 sticks with its proven range of powertrains. The range starts with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol and a 1.5-litre BlueHDI diesel, each producing 129bhp. These two units come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although Peugeot’s eight-speed automatic is available with both, once you move beyond the Active Premium trim level. Allure, Allure Premium and GT offer this variety, along with the pair of plug-in editions that were introduced at the start of 2020 on the pre-facelift model: the 221bhp Hybrid and the 296bhp, dual-electric-motor Hybrid4. GT Premium, meanwhile, loses the manual gearbox options but adds an additional high-powered petrol, a 1.6-litre PureTech with 178bhp.

The 3008 is still based, of course, on the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform – hence the plug-in hybrid editions – and that continues to be a solid set of underpinnings. The choice of 129bhp three-cylinder motor felt solid enough in our Allure Premium-spec edition; there’s impressive linearity to the power delivery, and while it never feels anything approaching rapid, it’s strong enough for smooth cruising and neat overtakes. The gearbox plays its part in this, for it’s an intelligent, smooth-shifting unit that you’ll soon be comfortable using.

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Request harder acceleration and the three-pot chugs along merrily between 2,500rpm and 3,500rpm – audible, sure, but never harsh. It only really begins to sound strained at around 4,000rpm; the auto gearbox seems very keen to shift up before that point, in fact, and we wouldn’t question its logic. On the whole, the 3008 remains impressively refined, particularly on motorways, where wind noise is well suppressed and the engine is quiet. The 18-inch alloys don’t ruin the ride – but it’s only just on the acceptable side of firm. The pay-off for that suspension configuration is reasonably tight body control, although this is never really a car that feels up for much entertainment. 

The tiny steering wheel probably contributes to this; it’s connected to a fairly light set-up that does no better a job of telling you what the front wheels are doing than pretty much any of the 3008’s usual rivals – with the possible exception of the Ford Kuga. The tiny rim does make it easy to twirl the wheel as you slide the 3008 into parking spaces, though – a sign, if anything, of where the car’s focus lies.

The best news of all is that Peugeot hasn’t mucked around with the 3008’s star turn: its cabin. There are more spacious entries in the class, admittedly, but there’s still enough space in the Peugeot for four grown-ups and their assorted clutter. The boot capacity stays the same, at 520 litres, which is more than you’ll find in the Ford Kuga – although that car fights back by trumping the 3008’s seats-down maximum of 1,482 litres.

Where the 3008 continues to have its rivals on the run is its perceived quality; the choice of materials and finishes is as pleasing as ever, with hard plastics either swapped out for gloss chrome or coated in a lightly textured fabric. The layout up front is possibly a little fussy, but there’s no denying that it feels a special place to sit. And remember that the i-Cockpit layout works better here than in many other Peugeots; the digital instrument panel in particular is crisp, clear and smoothly animated.

Model: Peugeot 3008 PureTech 130 EAT8 Allure Premium
Price: £31,060
Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque: 129bhp/230Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
Top speed: 117mph
Economy/CO2: 38.7-46.0mpg/146g/km
On sale: Now

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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