Peugeot wants to be seen as a premium car maker. Even a quick look at the new 3008 confirms Peugeot has got as good a shot as any of breaking through the glass ceiling.
The mid sized five seat SUV is a very impressive bit of kit but is it enough to tempt conservative buyers away from their status symbols?
The ambitious goal of the volume selling French brand is self set. The PSA group has in the last few years built a very impressive styling house called Design Lab that pens cool concepts from grand pianos to helicopters for clients. Peugeot’s attention to cool design has influenced the delivery of much improved machines to the market, so we should take its aspiration seriously. Obviously Peugeot is keen to set itself apart from its sister companies Citroen and DS – but hang on a second isn’t DS meant to be PSA’s premium offering? Well yes, but with a global and in particular Chinese market as the main target. DS as a brand will take a couple of more generations of machines to get there – ‘there’ being recognised as a posh brand, but it will. As for 3008’s more traditional and humble rivals like Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage etc. ? Well the 3008 has the edge for styling.
Buyers of so called premium brands will resist strongly any attempt by an upstart to join the ranks but Peugeot is nipping away at their heels. Peugeot has to pull off a miracle to undermine premium favourites from BMW, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar and of course Audi. Here’s the shock news – I’d have a 3008 before a BMW X1 and it gives the Audi Q2 a serious challenge in terms of styling. Back to the car. The rise of the SUV has almost peaked and the once clear lines between how cars and off roaders looked has been fudged completely thanks to the crossover. The additive high driving position offered means that once you go SUV you never want go back. 3008 has lost its split tailgate for weight saving reasons and what you get in terms of exterior styling is a well proportioned good looking machine.
Inside you get some really impressive design touches with gorgeous switch gear that even MINI drivers would be envious of. The driver is cosseted and indulged with Peugeot’s excellent ‘i-cockpit’ dash layout. A tiny and very sporty steering wheel allows for effortless viewing of the road ahead and more importantly the key instrument readouts can be scanned with just a glance. A host of safety aids feature depending on the grade including: AEB (auto emergency braking), lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, blind spot indication (ABSD), adaptive cruise control (with stop function), speed limit recognition (standard) and driver attention alert are available – to name most of them.
Connectivity is good too with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from the level 2 Active grade. Wireless charging, a smart tailgate (leg kick opening), reversing camera and a high end Focal audio system are some of the toys available again depending on the grade. My GT test car had a massaging front seat that eased time spent in traffic. The 3008 party trick is its rechargeable E-Kick electrically assisted scooter that slots into the boot where it recharges. My test car’s scooter sadly didn’t recharge (I blame over enthusiastic colleagues from breaking it) but I’ve used it many a time and it is great fun. A rechargeable Peugeot folding bicycle is on the way too.
With the 3008 there is an inexpensive option everyone should get – the ‘advanced grip control’ system. Peugeot has managed to give the front wheel drive machine four wheel drive ability with this system. The driver can select via a dial a number of driving modes: Normal, Snow, Mud, Sand and ESP off. These allow the car tackle conditions and deliver traction and stopping power in a manner a normal front wheel drive car simply could not manage – even with an expert driver behind the wheel! I’ve tested this system extensively in all weather and surface conditions from the frozen Alps to greasy grassy slopes and wet Irish roads and it is astonishing. The system uses electronic witchcraft to deliver maximum grip at all times with minimal fuel penalties. Going down hill off road is a doddle. In places where most of us would feel the need for a Land Rover Defender to feel in control are no bother in a 3008 thanks to HADC (hill assist descent control) that is part of the AGC option.
The engine range features the petrol powered 1.2 Puretech with 130hp and its quite a lively unit. Diesels start with the 1.6 100hp and rise with a 1.6 120hp and a 150hp 2 litre is the range topper.
Trim grades: Access is the entry grade followed by Active and Alllure. The 3008 GT Line (LED headlights) is the sportier looking version while the 3008 GT backs up its sporty looks with higher performance from its 2 litre diesel. Prices start from €25,995 and rise to €44,395 for the GT.