The improved 3008 Crossover from Peugeot is a difficult car to pin down but that doesn't stop June Neary liking it.
Will It Suit Me?
The best way of describing Peugeot's 3008 is to call it a crossover. It's a deliberately vague term that's employed to describe vehicles which wilfully resist the car market's usual classifications. Normally, crossovers are vehicles that are part 4x4 and part, well, something else. The 3008 definitely has 4x4 tendencies in that it's quite tall and chunky to look at even though it isn't four-wheel-drive. It also has elements of MPV in its versatile interior and of family hatchback in its composure on the road - at least that's what Peugeot would have us believe. The 3008's concept was a relatively fresh one when first we saw it back in 2010 but other brands have now piled into the crossover segment, hence the need for the facelifted version we're looking at here. As before, the thinking behind it may not be unique but what's important is that in a country like the UK where opportunities to drive off the tarmac are rare for most people, it's a formula that makes sense. I'm all in favour of the design ethos behind the 3008 but what about the execution?
Getting in to the 3008 is a breeze. Now, I still like to think of myself as being in my prime and I've never had a problem entering and exiting conventional cars but when you've tried a taller vehicle like the 3008, you do notice the difference. You step out of it instead of lifting yourself out and it's a similar story on the way in. The difference is small but when you've got lots of stops to make or errands to run, it is a difference. The elevated height of the 3008 also helps when getting items into or out of the boot area or leaning over to fit a car seat or strap the kids in. There's no denying it's more convenient than a normal hatchback. The boot is also worthy of a mention. It's accessed through a split tailgate which opens in two sections. The top part lifts like a normal hatchback and lets you lower items inside. It's handy for shopping bags because the lower section helps keep everything in place. When you have larger items to stow, this lower section folds down like the back of a pick-up truck. You can sit on it if you want but it's only rated to hold 200kg, so if you need forklift truck assistance to get out of bed in the morning, stay off. When the lower section is lowered, it forms a loading platform which you can slide bulky items inside on. Then there's the adjustable boot floor which allows you to create a separate storage compartment under the main boot or increase the total space available by dropping the false floor down. With the rear seats able to fold down and raise the boot capacity from 512-litres to 1,604 litres, the 3008 really does have practicality on its side.
Behind the Wheel
Four-wheel-drive is fine but it's only really useful in icy conditions or when driving off-road - and how many times do most of us do that? In normal driving, it's usually redundant, unless your normal driving resembles that of a bank robber leaving the scene of the crime, and the mechanicals are heavy so fuel economy suffers. The 3008 is not a 4x4 and it drives very well on the road if you make allowances for the fact that its height makes for a higher centre of gravity that most hatchbacks. The ride comfort is extremely good and far better than 4x4 vehicles which tend to employ heavy duty suspension for protection on the rare occasions when they get their tyres dirty. Being taller, the 3008 affords a good view out and it's also easy to drive with a good turning circle. With the extra ground clearance, you'll be able to take speed humps faster than those boy racers with their gravel-collecting spoilers and there's less chance of falling victim to high kerbs. It's not the sort of vehicle you'd want to hurry along a B-road just for fun. Think of it more as comfy and competent.
Value For Money
Prices start at around £17,000 for a 1.6-litre petrol model, with diesels opening at just under £19,000, while Hybrid4s look a bit conspicuous at over £27,000. Trim levels have been improved in order to offer better value for money across the three trim levels of Access, Active and Allure. Bluetooth connectivity for smartphone and music players is now included on every 3008, while electric folding door mirrors have been added to Active models. The Peugeot Connect Navigation and reversing camera system is standard on Allure. Instead of a 4x4 option, Peugeot claims to have boosted the car's 'outdoor' abilities by including a special Grip Control traction control system. It has five operating modes, each designed to optimise traction on a particular surface. The more powerful engine options also include the Dynamic Roll Control system which is designed to counteract the body roll that higher riding vehicles can experience when cornered with feeling. Variable electro-hydraulic power steering is also included as standard, as is ESP stability control with a built-in hill assist function.
Could I Live With One?
I'll stick my neck out and say that the 3008 may ultimately go down as one of the best cars Peugeot has produced in the last 20 years. There are other crossover models that will do a similar job but the 3008 gets the details right with its user-friendly cabin design. It's not the greatest thing to drive or to look at but areas to which you can attach real criticism are few and far between. Even the build quality deserves a mention. Overall, I may not know what the 3008 is but I like it. You probably will too.