There is something about the words small, sexy and French that just seems to work for me.
And when you think of Peugeot you immediately think “a small car specialist” right? Well yes, in the past and now, no.
So, what happens if you combine a normal hatchback, an off-roader and a compact people carrier? According to Peugeot you end up with the 3008, a family car that aims to appeal to those looking for something “not so small”, “still sexy” French and cheekily different. It’s not a new formula, and you’d be forgiven for mistaking this Peugeot for an all-wheel drive (I did) but it’s not. Drive is through the front wheels only. This interesting approach to the SUV category, gives us three engines options, two diesels and 1.6ltr turbo petrol.
Behind the wheel:
A very nifty HUD display (head up display) greets you as you settle into the cockpit, informing the driver of vehicle speed, cruise control/speed limiter and distance alert information. The Distance Alert coupled with the Head Up Display uses special radar to help the driver maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Roomy passenger compartment ensures comfort for every occupant. The passenger like the driver benefits from a raised seating position.
In addition, rear passengers have ample leg room, helped by the interior passenger compartment length of 1,690 mm and rear headroom of 876 mm. By day, occupants also benefit from the light coming from the large front windscreen. Depending on model choice, an optional or standard glass panoramic roof is also available with a surface area of a monstrous 1.60 m2. The Pug has the biggest glass roof this side of an aquarium, (it’s like driving around in a fish tank albeit a tinted tank).
Electro-hydraulic power steering is fitted to all models, which varies the assistance according to the speed of the car, speed of rotation of the steering wheel and the temperature of the power steering. Electric parking brake with Hill Assist. Directional bi-xenon headlamps, front and rear parking assistance, variable speed limiter / cruise control, electric folding door mirrors, automatic headlamps / wipers and the full range of Peugeot’s in-car entertainment and telematics systems are all available on the 3008.
The centre console is as large as a Range Rover (it’s a monster) it comes up high between the seats and hides one of the largest storage bins I’ve yet seen. Your arm up to your shoulder can fit inside and it tends to cocoon you in the cockpit. The front door pockets are also unusually deep and very usable. Another really nifty feature is the split rear hatch that opens normally but also has a second, bottom half that opens if you need a bigger aperture.
The bottom panel also works nicely as a bench and I can imagine children sitting there changing school shoes for soccer boots in the afternoon. The boot itself can carry 512 litres of luggage – which is pretty reasonable – plus it comes with a moveable floor that has three different positions (the parcel shelf can be stored underneath if required). The rear seats split 60/40 and fold down to create a totally flat load area of more than 2.5 metres long.
We drove both the versions fitted with the two highest performance engines, a sweet free spinning (and quiet) 2.0 litre HDi FAP diesel engine and a down tuned 1.6-litre petrol turbo found in the Mini Cooper S. (we didn’t drive the 1.6 HDi).
So let’s separate them:
The 1.6-litre, 115kW @ 6000 petrol turbo is a creamy-smooth little four that’s eager to pull this big body around and it sings a growling sweet song while it does – a characteristic unheard of in a family-orientated car like this, so I’d say, even with some extra kilos piled on around its hips, this French girl is still willing to play if you are.
The 2.0 litre HDi FAP 120kW @ 3750 diesel engine (the top diesel offered) is a 2.0 HDi that offers impressive pulling power 340Nm @ 2000 and is ideal for motorway driving. It can be a little noisy on start-up, but on the move is fairly quiet. It also returns an impressive 6.7 combined cycle (l / 100km).
We drove both engine versions and both testers had a 6 speed automatic gearbox, and offer around sub 10s for the 0-100kph acceleration time. If I had to choose an engine it would have to be the 2.0 litre HDi FAP diesel, it’s a gem.
On-road, where most soft roaders will spend the majority of their time, the 3008 is very comfortable place to be and with the inclusion of the Dynamic Roll Control operating on the rear axle, the handling is surprisingly good. The Peugeot engineers really do know how to get a car to handle. Long distances are swallowed with ease thanks to a cosseting ride and a distinct lack of road noise. Light steering makes parking easy but isn’t conducive to sharp handling although there’s lots of grip with that and minimal body roll. I also noticed a bit lot of chassis flex and the doors creaked occasionally over undulations but it was not excessive considering the enormous glass panel in the ceiling.
Braking is great, helped by large 283 x 16 mm ventilated discs on 1.6 VTi and 302 x 26 mm discs on other model. Rear brakes are 268 x 12 mm solid discs and ESP is fitted as standard which includes traction control, hill assist, stability control, ABS, electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist.
As a family-friendly car, it’s no surprise that the 3008 is not only practical but versatile too. There’s an abundance of storage including a deep box in the centre console – although annoyingly the armrest which doubles as the lid, is hinged the wrong way and so opens toward rather than away from you, making it difficult to reach over. The glove box is also disappointingly small due to the fuse box being located there. But elsewhere there are large door pockets (which can hold a 1.5-litre drinks bottle); two cup holders on the centre console.
Full leather upholstery isn’t standard on this 3008 model, however when fitted it gives an up-market feel to the cabin with all-electric adjustment on the driver’s seat, together with manual rake and height adjustment on the steering column mean that most people will find a comfortable driving position quickly. Thanks to its high roof, the 3008 offers plenty of headroom for all passengers, but it is most impressive for those in the back. There’s plenty of leg room while a wide cabin means three adults can sit relatively comfortably, helped by a completely flat floor and good shoulder room.
Engine and wind noise are low, making the 3008 a very comfortable long distance car, while the seats are comfortable if not especially supportive. A panoramic windscreen, which stretches above the driver’s head, comes as standard on all cars while top XTE models come with an impressive glass roof which makes the cabin feel incredibly light and spacious (see fish tank). It’s tinted to stop the car getting too hot and there is also an electrical sliding blind. The electric parking brake is another useful feature and also frees up space on the central console.
All models in the Peugeot 3008 range come well appointed, with alloys, front fog lights, electric front windows and air-con. The XTE model adds park sensors, cruise control with speed limiter, an MP3-compatible audio system, height-adjustable passenger seat and a leather steering wheel, a full-length glass sunroof, automatic headlights and mirrors, head-up display with distance alert and climate control, underfloor storage for rear seats and in the cargo bay.
Safety and Convenience
An extensive list of safety features gives the 3008 a Euro NCAP 5-Star rating. Driver and front passenger airbags, Front side airbags, Full length curtain airbags, ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBFD),Emergency Brake Assist (EBA),Electronic Stability Program (ESP),Dynamic Roll Control (with 1.6 Turbo and 2.0 HDi engines only),Collapsible steering column and brake pedal, Hill Assist function, Side impact absorbent door padding (front doors),Pretensioning and force limiting front seatbelts, Three rear 3-point seatbelts, Electric rear door child safety locks, Three rear seat child restraint anchorage points. Cruise control, Speed limiter, Speed sensitive power steering, Remote control central locking, Electronic parking assistance (rear), Electronic parking assistance (front), Head Up Display, Distance Alert, Electric windows with one touch function, Height and reach adjustable steering wheel, Electric parking brake, Hill assist, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, Electric folding door mirrors with welcoming light, Electro chrome rear view mirror, 3 position boot floor, Split opening tailgate with 200kg load capacity.
What happens if you combine a normal hatchback, an off-roader and a compact people carrier? According to Peugeot you end up with the 3008, a family car that aims to appeal to those looking for something different. It’s not a new formula; the Mitsubishi Outlander is marketing a front wheel drive model.
The 3008 is perhaps not as stylish as some, but it makes up for it with a more practical and family-friendly interior. It has a large and versatile boot, a useful split tailgate with a bottom section that flips down like a Ute plus plenty of passenger space in the back.
It’s reassuring to drive too with well-weighted steering, a superb ride and strong engines, in particular the HDi diesels. Add in impressive levels of refinement plus a quality cabin and the 3008 makes plenty of sense and for Peugeot, the 3008 marks a real return to form for the French car maker.
It’s certainly worth a good hard look – impressive.
Priced from: $36,790 to $42,990 (as tested)
Plus Additional features on the version we tested included leather trim ($2500) with heated front seats, rear seat entertainment system ($1200) and premium paint ($1000) NB: NSW D/Away Price Incl D/Delivery & Stat Charges. Rego for Private Buyers Only.
What is good and not so good?
What is good?
Brilliant smooth, reasonably economic engine
Interior styling, practical storage; comfortable seating
Refined and comfortable ride
What’s not so good?
Lack of a full-size spare in the higher-spec models
Large windscreen and small visors allows to much the sun through
Centre console lid opens the wrong way