What Car? says...
Whether you’re a fan of how the Peugeot 3008 looks or not, one thing’s for sure: the French firm has certainly tried to give its family SUV a striking appearance. It taps right into the current trend for bold styling, whereas its predecessor, a former What Car? Car of the Year, looked frumpier and more like an MPV.
Then there's its swish interior. Compared with the functional dashboards of rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca, the 3008 follows the style of its bigger 5008 stablemate with an avant-garde design that's more akin to a motor show concept car. Not only are there plenty of plush materials and, in many models, ambient interior mood lighting, there are also quirky touches like fabric wrapped dashboard panels and ‘piano key’ buttons.
Of course, beyond the visual stimuli, the Peugeot 3008 needs to be practical, cheap to run and good to drive if it’s to succeed in this extremely competitive class. Thankfully Peugeot has you covered with a range of frugal yet punchy engines – including some plug-in hybrid options. Equipment levels are pretty good too, although as you’ll find out in our review, it pays to pick your trim carefully.
So, stick with us and we'll steer you through the maze of engines, trim levels and options available. And if you fancy saving a fortune on a 3008, or indeed any other new car, have a look at our New Car Buying service section for big savings on most new cars.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
If you prefer a petrol engine to a diesel, take a look at the 129bhp 1.2-litre (badged PureTech 130). You might imagine such a small engine would struggle to pull the 3008 along, but acceleration is actually more than respectable. If you’re after more poke there’s the 179bhp 1.6-litre PureTech 180. It’s rather pricey, but performance is strong, although you do need to work it harder than equivalent engines in rivals, such as the Skoda Karoq.
Two diesels are available. The 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 comes with 129bhp and a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. It’s a flexible engine that may not make the 3008 particularly fast, but pulls the car along effortlessly, even when fully loaded with people and bags. The 2.0 BlueHDi 180 is even stronger, but not worth the big price premium.
Then there are the plug-in hybrid versions. The Hybrid 225 is front-wheel drive and packs 222bhp, while the Hybrid4 300 has four-wheel drive with a whopping 296bhp. So far we’ve only driven the latter and its outright acceleration is impressively rapid – 0-62mph takes just 6.1sec, but there’s a bit of a delay between putting your foot down and it really starting to pick up speed on the move. It’s officially able to travel up to 40 miles under electric power alone after a full charge – although you can expect a figure closer to 25-30 miles in real-world driving conditions.
Suspension and ride comfort
The standard suspension is, on the whole, pretty good for comfort. It takes the edge off ridges and expansion joints that the firmer-riding Seat Ateca would tend to thump over – although strike a particularly vicious pothole and you'll still get a hefty jolt. Overall, the rival Karoq is a more comfortable alternative.
Speccing big wheels often trashes ride comfort but that isn't the case here; go for 19in alloys and the 3008 is still pretty agreeable. However, the Grip Control package does have an impact on smoothness. It includes all-weather tyres with stiffer, less absorbent sidewalls that make the ride more restless.
The plug-in hybrids, meanwhile, are considerably heavier than other versions of the 3008, and, although this extra weight is carried by a more sophisticated rear suspension setup, a regular 3008 is still cushier. Things are a bit firmer than in regular versions of the 3008 but, not uncomfortably so, however passengers will find themselves swaying in their seats more over uneven road surfaces.
Although SUVs are never as agile as conventional hatchbacks, some are still surprisingly good fun to drive. The 3008 isn't one of them. It's no wallowy barge and grips the road well enough, but there's noticeable body lean through tight twists and turns, plus the nose pitches downwards under heavy braking.
The Seat Ateca and Karoq are more agile and more enjoyable to drive along a winding road, with steering that provides more sensation and serves to give you more confidence. The 3008's light steering is great when you're manoeuvring, though.
The Hybrid4’s four-wheel drive system helps with traction out of tight bends, but the extra weight of its bulky battery makes it feel slightly more ponderous than non-hybrids. You’re therefore unlikely to have any more fun than you would in a regular 3008 despite all that power.
Noise and vibration
The 1.2 PureTech petrol engine is very smooth and quiet, and the 1.5 HDi diesel isn’t far behind. The 2.0-litre diesels are the gruffest engines in the 3008 range but still aren't exactly uncouth.
Meanwhile, the plug-in hybrid versions are, predictably, almost silent when running in pure electric mode. However, the transition between electric and petrol power isn’t always seamless – especially when you ask for a quick burst of acceleration. And when the petrol engine does fire into life it makes itself heard, and sounds particularly gruff when worked hard.
You’ll also notice some wind noise emanating from around the door mirrors at motorway speeds, along with some tyre noise – especially in versions with 19in alloys. Overall, the Karoq and Ateca are more refined family SUVs.
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