After the euphoria at the start of the year over the crowning of the Peugeot 3008 as Europe’s 2017 Car of the Year, plaudits have continued to flood in. Recent baubles have included Best Mid-Sized SUV and overall Diesel Car of the Year.
Peugeot describes it as a “huge success” with more than 10,000 sales in the UK alone since its launch in January. Perhaps it’s time for a cool late-summer look.
If mongrel is perhaps too unkind a label to slap on it, I recall that its aspirations in design terms did lean towards a bit of a Heinz variety. Recall: “For those who currently drive a conventional saloon car, MPV, SUV or a hatchback, the 3008 provides a new alternative which spans all these different vehicle types,” trilled its French maker. “It has the flexibility and space of an MPV, the rugged looks of a SUV and the vehicle dynamics of a family hatchback.”
Remember the all-new 3008 SUV, for that is how the manufacturer finally dubbed it, replaced the previous 3008 Crossover (to throw in another breed), of which nearly one million were produced and 75,000 found UK buyers.
Undeniably, the 3008 has an imposing presence. Thus a neighbour: “Oh – I see now that’s the new Peugeot. Thought at first I was looking at a Range Rover Evoque.” (At up to double the price.)
There are body skirts and scuff plates and a new grille to house the Peugeot lion emblem. Rear lights are strikingly in a triple diagonal design, lifted surely from a Ford Mustang?
In the Peugeot range the 3008 fits lengthwise between a 308 hatchback and the 308 SW estate but stands taller than either. Taller also than a Nissan Qashqai but lower than a VW Tiguan. Claimed boot volume, expanding to 1,670 litres to the back of the front seats, beats most competitors.
It’s a hatchback-style rear opening with a suspended parcel shelf that can catch your head as you lean in. The extended cargo deck, almost flat and flush with the rear sill for easy loading, stretches to 1,540 mm according to my tape. And the front passenger seat folds down to further admit longer items.
For human occupants there is more leg, elbow and head room in the new 3008 than in its predecessor. Generous storage includes roomy door pockets and a central box with a split dray-type lid. The well-furnished cabin features the i-cockpit pioneered in the 308 hatch, so you peer at a 12.3-inch wide, graphic-strewn instrument panel over, rather than through, the steering wheel which is small and sawn-off top and bottom.
To your left hand is a row of seven piano-type toggle keys which, in combination with a central 8-inch touch screen, controls via plucks and prods a compendium of functions. At first it all seems over-complicated. Sometimes it is slow to respond. Practice and patience is required. Like learning the piano.
A 17-strong range perms five engine outputs – two petrol, three diesel – and four trim levels at prices between £21,795 and £32,995.
CO2 ratings vary from 103 to 124 g/km; power outputs from 99 to 181 hp.
All come with dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, DAB radio, automatic lights and wipers, automatic emergency braking and smartphone links.
The second-top GT Line trim on test, at £25,495, generously included 3D sat-nav with live traffic updates, reversing camera, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot alert, LED headlamps and scrolling front indicators, contrasting black roof and leather trimmings around the already smart interior.
Click the key fob on approach and door mirror lights project the Peugeot lion logo onto the ground – something else to impress the neighbours and friends alike.
A £470 option of interest to hill and country dwellers would be Peugeot’s well-reviewed alternative to 4WD. Grip Control via a five-mode rotary switch operates on the front wheels only and combines a traction control system with all-season tyres.
On the road the smooth and quiet 1.2 PureTech petrol engine, responding readily through a six-speed manual box, seemed to perform way above its three-cylinder spec and its quoted 10.8 seconds for the 0-62 sprint.
And the 3008 must be among the most stable SUVs in its handling. A minus point: that small dodgem-like wheel tempts you to over-steer until you get used to it.
But in conclusion, it must be said that both in the flesh and on the road the new 3008 surely would be at least a rosette winner if not outright best in class at an automotive equivalent of Crufts.
Verdict: Not so much a mongrel, then.