All rise for the Crossover is here, part SUV, part hatchback, part MPV - but is there a place for such a vehicle? Jon Elliot decides at the wheel of Peugeot's 3008 1.6 THP 156.
Ten Second Review
Built on the impressive Peugeot 308 chassis, the Gallic brand's 3008 model is only a little longer, wider and taller. Still, according to the marketing men there's a fresh level of refinement to entice more buyers to leave their family hatches and 'cross over' to a whole new type of car. But what does the 3008 actually offer and how does it stack up in pokey 1.6-litre THP 156 petrol guise?
Peugeot's 308 family hatchback gave the French brand a platform to create other vehicles, and soon we had the 308 SW, a sort of token estate car. This was usefully sized but not terribly trendy in the mould of something like a Nissan Qashqai. This Japanese rival got Peugeot thinking and as a result, they took the 308 design, gave it a bigger cabin and a course of steroid injections and created this car, the 3008. This was a car that could pull buyers away from more conventional MPVs and family hatchbacks into something a little different. Wisely, Peugeot has given the 3008 a few trump cards to play against its rivals. Importantly, it features new levels of refinement at this price range and a genuinely sorted interior; for a long time a recurring Peugeot fault.
In buying a 3008, you have to remember that you're no longer going to be driving about in a svelte hatchback. This is a tall vehicle which is no lightweight. Amazingly though, the engineers at Peugeot have managed to create an excellent driving car. It's no hot hatch, but it's a match for the Nissan Qashqai which is an important achievement for this model. The ride is smooth, poised and controlled, with little body roll to report. The steering could do with a little more feel, but that's inevitable in such a car. The 3008 feels well planted around the corners, giving the driver a sense of safety which the classy cabin only encourages. The 1.6-litre 156bhp engine I tested also pulls pretty well. It's a unit we've seen before in the MINI Cooper S and happily, it still has a little of the MINI's zip to it, despite the Peugeot's extra bulk. More powerful engine options like this one have been designed to include the Dynamic Roll Control system which is intended 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. Importantly, this all means that in driving what is essentially a sensible family car, Peugeot has retained an important sense of fun and a level of performance adventure that others will do well to replicate. Certainly, in this petrol form the 3008 has plenty to offer the growing family.
Design and Build
The 3008's front end will divide subjective opinion but the back of it is neat, with trendy rear light clusters in a unique boomerang-like shape. The sides of the car similarly retain the kind of high waistline common to this type of car. However, this car's real trump card is its interior, specifically behind the wheel. Quite what this level of fit and finish is doing here is beyond me. Gone are the harsh cheap looking plastics with gaps big enough for car-park change. Now we have lovely matt finish plastics screwed together with a tenacity that suggests the car has been built to last. There are trendy chrome switches on the dash, and a nice grab handle for the passenger, though you could argue that the centre console is a little ill thought out. Similarly the boot is a leap forward. Peugeot has used the car's extra height wisely and actually provided what amounts to a set of shelves in the boot that can be tailored as you want them. It's really clever, and useful if you want to leave valuables in the car, yet totally out of sight.
Market and Model
The 1.6 THP 156 petrol model I tested is a well equipped car. But then so it should be for the money being asked. For your not insubstantial outlay though, you get 150bhp for a start. That's plenty more than the original 205GTI. Alloy wheels, ABS, air con, cruise control and parking sensors suggest little is being scrimped on here. Even if you're more likely to choose one of the lower-spec variants, there should still be enough toys to keep you, or the kids happy. Electric mirrors and windows are included across the range, as is central locking. From a safety perspective, the 3008 makes sense with plenty of airbags, ESP and ABS standard throughout the range. In truth, the whole line-up provides plenty enough bang for your buck, with none of the models under-specified. Peugeot have worked hard to ensure the whole range provides something to impress would-be buyers.
Cost of Ownership
The 1.6-litre THP 156 3008 variant comes only in plush Sport or Exclusive guises, so it isn't cheap. More affordable is the 1.6-litre VTi 120 petrol variant, with comes with lower spec trim levels. So what of the economy of this 1.6 THP 150 model? Urban MPG is recorded at 28.5mpg, extra urban 50.4mpg and the combined at a respectable 39.7 mpg. The CO2 figure for our test car was 167 g/km. Insurance is group 9.
The 3008 is a pleasingly polished performer in 1.6 THP 156 petrol form. Its MINI-derived engine gives it just enough shove to suggest you've got a sporty little number in the driveway. The cabin hints at great things to come from Peugeot: this is a real leap forward in terms of quality and layout and should be applauded and encouraged. Similarly, the boot design is a thing of great quality. Overall, a genuinely accomplished car which suggests good things to come from Peugeot.