Peugeot's 3008 Crossover is one of those cars that only seems to makes sense when you've driven it. Jonathan Crouch takes a look at the revised range.
Ten Second Review
The Peugeot 3008 Crossover was already improved in looks: now it has a range of smarter engines too, while offering affodable prices to those shopping in the Qashqai-class family Crossover segment. You have to really want a car of this kind to really appreciate it but if you do, then you'll probably love this one.
So what exactly is Peugeot's 3008? It looks vaguely like a small 4x4, but there's no conventional all-wheel drive system. A Renault Scenic-style 5-seat MPV then? Wrong again. Check that raised SUV-style driving position. A closer definition is as a Family Hatchback with added versatility and serious attitude, a class of car the industry now calls a 'Crossover' and was first popularised by Nissan's Qashqai. Unlike that Nissan, this Peugeot offers neither 4WD or 7 seats as an option but compensates with a special Grip Control system and a super-flexible interior. Enough of its own car then, to build a loyal following. But still enough of a Qashqai-like Crossover model to capitalise on the increasing demand for this class of car amongst buyers searching for SUV style without crippling running costs. All of which means that perhaps the best way to describe this 3008 is simply to call it this: a breath of fresh air. In recent times, it's had a quite extensive overhaul, Peugeot updating the styling to make it a good deal more handsome at the same time as building in higher equipment levels and reducing prices. The key change though, has been the introduction of an efficient range of PureTech petrol and BlueHDi diesel engines.
The engine line-up features a mix of old, new and advanced powerplants. The 'old' part of the offering includes access to three engines carried over from the pre-facelifted version of this car - the 1.6-litre e-HDi 115 diesel, the 2.0-litre HDi 150 diesel and the 1.6 THP 156 petrol. As for the 'new', well here, the 3008 now features the PSA Group's latest thinking on technology and efficiency. For petrol buyers, that means access to the clever 130bhp 1.2-litre three cylinder turbocharged 'PureTech' unit. For low mileage buyers, this would be our preferred pick from the range. As for diesel power, well the brand's frugal 'BlueHDi' technology is now on offer with a 1.6-litre 120bhp unit or a 2.0-litre 150bhp engine. You'll also find a BlueHDi diesel in the 'advanced' engine offering provided at the top of the 3008 range - we're referring to the clever HYbrid4 diesel/electric hybrid model. This isn't one of those plug-in hybrid cars, but it's still pretty clever, mating a 2.0-litre 163bhp diesel engine driving the front wheels, with a 37bhp electric motor powering the rear wheels. The result is a car which can be powered emissions-free in town, or via the diesel engine on a fuel-conserving long run. When conditions are slippery or when in Sports mode, power goes to all four wheels for a total output of 200bhp with the diesel engine and the electric motor working at the same time to give maximum acceleration when needed, for instance when overtaking. It's no off-roader though. As before, there's no conventional four-wheel-drive option on mainstream 3008 models. Instead, 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.
Design and Build
The styling changes in recent times have seen the ungainly 'egg crate' front end of the original 3008 thankfully ditched in place of something a good deal more elegant. There's now a sleeker front grille and fog light surrounds, both edged in chrome. The headlights feature an LED signature and chrome projector components while on higher trim-level models, there's xenon lights with automatic height and directional adjustment. At the back, there are dark tinted light clusters with 'floating claw' LED lamps that seem to give a 3D effect. Inside, the 'Head-Up' display now features full-colour imagery, with separate shades for different information, while a reversing camera also makes manoeuvres easier by displaying the area immediately behind the vehicle. The 3008 remains eminently practical, featuring a split tailgate, a three-position boot floor and four securing rings for attaching a luggage net. The Easy Flat rear bench seat can be folded in a single movement using buttons located in the boot or at the top of the seat back. At the front, the passenger seat folds completely flat for transporting even longer loads. Numerous storage compartments around the cabin give total space of nearly 50-litres. The boot is good for 512-litres, growing to 1,604-litres if you fold the seats.
Market and Model
Prices start at around £18,500 for a 1.6-litre petrol model, with diesels opening at just under £20,000, while HYbrid4 variants 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. 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.
Cost of Ownership
Most buyers will look to a conventional diesel model. The 1.6 BlueHDi 120 engine returns 68.9mpg on the combined cycle and 108g/km of CO2, while the 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150 unit isn't far behind with a 106g/km CO2 showing. We'd also suggest you seriously look at the 1.2-litre pureTech 130 petrol variant, which manages 53.3mpg on the combined cycle and 123g/km of CO2. The diesel/electric HYbrid4 is a fascinating thing. As with most systems, the car's Stop/Start technology automatically places the BlueHDi diesel engine in 'stand-by' mode when you're stuck in non-moving traffic or waiting at a red light. The difference comes when you pull away, as the HYbrid4 will always try to use the zero emissions electric motor, before switching seamlessly to diesel as speed picks up. Or you can lock it into the 'zero emission' setting with the turn of a knob and it will stay in electric mode until you either change your drive mode or stamp on the accelerator - at which point the diesel will kick in. The quoted running cost figures for this model see it achieve 85.6mpg and emissions are 85g/km in 'Active' spec guise, but the 'Allure' variant's not quite so good at 80.7mpg and 90g/km.
So-called Crossover models like this might be the automotive equivalent of sitting on the fence but they do offer an attractive combination of many of the kind of qualities that a significant number of today's family buyers are looking for. If you're one of those people, uncertain whether to plump for the high driving position and chunky looks of an SUV 4x4 or the handling composure and fuel economy of a family hatchback, then try one of these first. For once, getting cross could just get you exactly what you want.