Has it finally cracked the code?
Peugeot is finally finding its footing in the automotive world. After spending years pushing the value argument, it’s now understood that it would actually fare better in the semi-premium space where Volkswagen and Mazda live, and so it’s jumped in with both feet. The Peugeot 3008 is leading the charge in the brands evolution into that space, and on the surface, it’s making a pretty strong case for itself.
For starters, it’s already won ‘Car of the Year’ in Europe before even setting foot on our soil. However, a lack of AEB across the range as well as a pretty steep entry price means that you’re paying for that prestige, a situation made worse by the fact that it’ll still soldier on with a meagre 3-year warranty while many of its rivals are pushing past five.
Ultimately, this is very much a car that has to be experienced to be believed (as was the case for us), and from where we’re sitting, it has all the necessary ingredients to be the segment leader. Available in Active, Allure, GT-Line and GT, the 3008 may be rubbing shoulders with either top-flight variants of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, and Skoda Kodiak, but with a generous spec-list and a well-engineered presentation, it proves that it really has what it takes to make its presence known in our market.
“The 3008’s exterior makes a good first impression with its angular lines, floating roof and long, wide stance. Combine that with its prominent nose and it should manage to stand out from the crowd without being ostracised.” - Motoring
The new 3008 is a step in the right direction after the gopping, gormless appearance of the outgoing model. Where the previous car looked like an MPV on stilts in the worst imaginable way, the new car is sharp, chiselled, and has buckets of presence, exactly what the modern SUV buyer wants. It has ditched the gaping grille of the outgoing model for an upright, concave unit, flanked by shapely headlights and a smart front bumper. It’s a face you’ll recognise, and a face you’ll have to get familiar with as Peugeot intends to roll out this new corporate fascia across its models. We won’t object.
The flanks of the 3008 are tasteful and not at all fussy, with interesting surface play and a mix of design touches that help to reduce the visual bulk of what is a rather large SUV (similar to how Renault ‘pinches’ the sides of its Captur). We’re fans of the floating roof treatment applied here, and we have both hands raised when it comes to the rear of the 3008. With the dual-tone design (the panel between the taillights are black now) and pretty tri-claw LED taillights, it’s the perfect resolution to a thoroughly modern and European design, with all models (even the base Active) looking smart and sophisticated, and far more expensive than it actually is.
Engine & Drivetrain
“All come with front-wheel drive, a little unusual for the segment.” - Drive
If the design and presentation of the 3008 doesn’t scream ‘modern-day SUV,’ then the drivetrain options will. Realising that about 99.93% of buyers in this segment will never take their SUV too far past a grassy field, Peugeot has engineered the 3008 to only offer mechanical front-wheel drive (an important distinction, as a plug-in hybrid all-wheel drive variant is coming, and will offer a drivetrain similar to Volvo’s XC90 T8). Also a sign of the times is the 3008’s lack of a manual option, again due to only the tiny percentage of buyers in this space opting to change their own gears.
What the 3008 does get are two engine options. Active, Allure, and GT-Line cars will get a 121kW/240Nm 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox, which is claimed to do 7L/100km on the combined cycle. This mill is punchy and rather refined, which is likely why Peugeot reckons ⅘ buyers will end up with this mill.
However, cashed-up buyers looking at the top-flight GT variant will be treated to a 2.0-litre turbodiesel, putting out a far frutier 133kW and 400Nm, and still paired with that 6-speed auto. The oiler is claimed to do less than 5L/100km on the combined cycle, proving that more power doesn’t necessarily come at a cost. This will likely be the engine of choice for high-mile commuters, though only for the fuel savings alone, as the petrol maintains a similar breadth of ability.
“We were expecting to jump inside [the 3008] and say ‘Aha!’ having realised its beauty is only skin deep. However, the interior is really the highlight of the 3008.” - CarAdvice
The interior is just brilliant. The end.
If we weren’t running the risk of being told off for being to succinct in our opinion of the cabin, we really would leave it at that. The French have always been good at making mass-market cars feel premium, and in this semi-premium 3008, it feels absolutely plush. They’ve stuck with the ‘i-Cockpit’ cabin architecture that we first saw in the 308 hatchback but refined the recipe. The bad has been fixed, and the good made better.
It’s still a surprisingly minimalist place to sit, with physical controls limited only to what’s absolutely necessary. The touchscreen handles everything from the climate control to the vehicle settings and everything in between, with a row of piano-style switches sitting beneath the large centre screen allowing you to access necessary functions with ease. The small steering wheel that we’ve seen before has also been revised, and now features a flat top and bottom, with the former aiding visibility of the fully-digital instrumentation (which is meant to be peered at over the steering wheel rather than through it).
The seats are comfy and supportive all the way round, with a firm but sculpted rear bench complimenting the snug and cosseting front pews. The boot is generous enough though it isn’t really class-leading; look beyond the numbers and you’ll find that there’s more than enough space on offer for a reasonable, average amount of clutter.
Behind the Wheel
“The small steering wheel might make you expect a nervous and flighty handling setup, but in fact, it’s an easy and intuitive car to steer smoothly.” - Practical Motoring
At the turn of the century, Peugeot was making cars that were as dull as ditchwater to steer and borderline-unbearable to sit in. The rides were busy and unresolved, and the driving experience could be likened to being lulled into a coma, and that experience could have been had just as recently as the last-generation 3008.
Thankfully, that’s changed with the latest generation model though, which is why we’ve never emerged from a test drive seething with anger and hatred. Not only is the new 3008 a surprisingly connected and communicative car to drive, but it’s also reassuringly planted and pliant on long-haul drives. It packs a highly impressive breadth of ability despite riding on non-adjustable suspension, and adds to the overall maturity that the 3008 presents itself with.
The petrol motor has adequate punch and guts in town, and more than enough power in reserve on the motorway, though truly effortless progress is a reserve of the diesel GT model. Aside from the oiler’s torque, you’re not missing out on much with the petrol, with plenty of twist when you’re in town, where you’re likely to be most of the time. There’s very little wind or tyre roar even at speed, and it makes the 3008 a very comfortable long-distance cruiser.
Safety & Technology
“Let’s talk about what the 3008 has rather than what it misses out on.” - Motoring
The 3008 makes up for its steep entry price by offering shedloads of kit, that would leave us breathless if we were to explain it verbally. All cars get 6-airbags and speed limit recognition (which works with every form of speed limit sign, be it electronic or mounted high in a tunnel), lane departure warning, all round parking sensors, and a reversing camera. Cruise control, dual-zone climate control, smartphone mirroring, induction charging, and alloy wheels also come as standard, though there’s more to be unlocked with higher models.
The second step up, the Allure, gets niceties like keyless entry and go, while the GT-Line and GT models get interior fragrancing, ambient lighting, LED headlights, and puddle lights beneath the wing mirrors that display Peugeot griffiths on the ground outside the doors at night.
While AEB is a reserve on only the higher-end models, the whole 3008 range benefits from a 5-star ANCAP rating.
While the Peugeot 3008 might not be an obvious candidate if you’re shopping for a mid-sized family SUV, it really ought to be. With enough standard kit to justify its pricetag, and a cabin that would embarrass some premium carmakers, the 3008 is a well-engineered, well-designed, and well-executed family wagon, one that actually puts realistic expectations at its core. Why offer a heavy, complex drivetrain when you can spend that money on a plusher cabin?
Obviously, if you are one of that tiny percentile of buyers in this segment who regularly drive their SUVs on something more challenging than a gravel driveway, the Peugeot 3008’s lack of all-wheel drive will put you off. But that’s of little consequence to many, as the 3008 delivers exactly where it matters: It looks good, it feels great, and it’s nimble enough in traffic and easy on the wallet when you’re at the services. And with very little tradeoff in any significant regard, this sharp, handsome SUV might just be the greatest all-rounder you can find on the market.
Motoring - 73/100 - “Peugeot lobs its award-winning second-generation 3008 into the medium SUV maelstrom. For Peugeot, the 3008 represents a pretty good way to start rebuilding its brand in Australia.”
CarAdvice - 8.0/10 - “If you’re after a medium SUV and you can’t stand the thought of joining the hordes of CX-5 and Tucson owners, go test drive the 3008. We liked it so much, we decided we might keep it for the next 6-months.”
CarsGuide - 7.1/10 - “If Peugeot is to become a force on Australian roads, this is its chance. A perfect storm of the right product, the right time and a commitment to putting more of them on our driveways means the French brand is finally in the box seat.”
Drive - 6.5/10 - “All in all, the Peugeot 3008 is the car that should make the brand a lot more visible than it has been as it proves that Peugeot can deliver individuality and practicality in one well-resolved package.”
The Motor Report - 4.5/5.0 - “The Peugeot 3008 is the car that could really make a big impact for the brand in Australia. It doesn’t have the same attention-grabbing entry price of its rivals, but mainstream competitors are left in the shade when it comes to standard equipment. There’s a bit of tit-for-tat in the standard features lists of the top-spec models, although for interior design & innovation, nothing comes close to the impressive Peugeot.”
Practical Motoring - 4.5/5.0 - “The new Peugeot 3008 should help attract more buyers to the brand. The cabin is a step up loaded with gadgets that will put rivals to shame.”
TopGear - 8.0/10 - “3008 take two. Now less of an MPV, more of an SUV. At last.”
Autocar - 3.5/5.0 - “More than any of its other recent introductions, Peugeot’s new 3008 calls attention to its long-dormant strengths. Gloss over its misgivings and a fetching, fresh, and rather earnest crossover remains.”