"The Peugeot 3008 is a stylish and well-built crossover that offers fantastic family transport."
Instead of building a car full of compromises, the Peugeot 3008 is one that blends the best qualities of a hatchback, a people carrier and an SUV. It gets the rugged looks of a crossover, the practicality and versatility of a people carrier, yet the enjoyable drive you’d associate with a small supermini. The looks were a step in a new direction for Peugeot, as was the interior, which is well made and surprisingly desirable. It's practical, too, as the Range Rover-style split tailgate is very convenient and the cabin is well thought-out. However, less is more, so steer clear of the larger diesel engine and expensive HYbrid4 models – the 1.6 HDi diesel delivers the best mix of performance, fuel economy and driving enjoyment.
The 3008 gets wide range of economical petrol and diesel engines, as well as a flagship hybrid model, capable of 75mpg. However, your best bet is one of the efficient HDi diesel models, which benefit from a great blend of economy and performance – and a crucially lower purchase price. The 110bhp 1.6-litre HDi feels smooth and packs plenty of punch, while the 148bhp unit is better still. The lower-powered petrol engines are best avoided as these need to be worked hard, especially when the car is fully laden. The 1.6 THP turbo-petrol is impressively quick but will manage less than 40mpg in mixed-motoring – some way off the frugal diesels. All models are better specified with the capable manual gearbox, because the EGC semi-automatic option feels jerky and ill-suited to the otherwise relaxing 3008. Peugeot's Dynamic Roll Control package dramatically improves the 3008's handling and makes it feel more controlled in bends, so it's worthwhile spending extra on that.
Despite the size of the 3008 and its tall dimensions, its smooth shape means there's not much in the way of wind noise and the cabin is pretty quiet, too. The seats are comfortable, although they could do with a little more back support, but there is plenty of room to seat three adults in the back. The high roofline and long wheelbase means there is plenty of knee and headroom, while the big windscreen and large glass area let plenty of light into the cabin and give both driver and passenger a commanding view out. The Hybrid4 models get stiffer suspension to compensate for the heavy batteries, so for a relaxed ride these are best avoided. Standard cars ride well, but those with the optional Dynamic Roll Control package are even more comfortable, so it's worth the extra money.
Peugeot has suffered a less than brilliant reliability record in the past two decades, but quality is steadily improving and the 3008 is the best of a strong bunch. The interior feels solid and has a genuine sense of desirability to it, while from behind the wheel everything feels built to last. However, the brand still finished a disappointing 28th in the Auto Express Driver Power survey and although the 3008 doesn’t feature in the top 100, there's not a single Peugeot model in the top half of the table. In terms of safety, there are six airbags, electronic stability control and Isofix child-seat mountings are standard as well as optional ‘grip control’ on higher spec models. All this helped the 3008 score a maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, putting it on a par with established rivals like the Nissan Qashqai and VW Tiguan.
Versatility is at the core of the 3008's appeal. It has a split tailgate that opens in two parts and the boot itself can accommodate a decent 512 litres thanks to some boxy dimensions. It also has a moveable boot floor with three different positions, while the rear seats split 60/40 and fold totally flat to reveal an extremely useful load area. There's no seven-seat option, so it can’t really claim to rival the Vauxhall Zafira or Ford Grand C-MAX, but it does have the ability to seat five adults in comfort thanks to a long wheelbase and decent headroom. Up front, there's a huge amount of storage, including big door pockets, a pair of cupholders and a large box in the centre console. That said, the glove box is disappointingly small due to an intrusive fuse box thanks to the fact the 3008 was originally designed for the left-hand drive market.
Value for money
Starting prices are affordable, with three specifications to choose from. The entry-level Access model comes with electric front windows, air-con, hill-start assist and electronic stability control, while Active models add 17-inch alloys, colour coded bumpers, parking sensors and cruise control. It's also worth noting that these mid-spec cars get the crucial Dynamic Roll Control, which keeps the car planted in tight corners and makes it much more comfortable over Britain's rutted roads. There's no Sport trim, but the Flagship Allure models include 18-inch alloy wheels, a desirable panoramic glass roof and two-zone climate control. Depreciation isn’t great, and if used values are a concern you’d be better off with a VW Touran.
Go for one of the fuel-sipping diesels or the efficient 99g/km HYbrid4 model and you’ll benefit from rock-bottom running costs. Hybrid cars are exempt from road tax and claim economy of nearly 75mpg though its high list price mean the diesels – which can manage 50-57mpg – are a better bet. The petrol cars are best avoided if you want to save at the pumps as they tend to lack the power required to pull the big-bodied 3008 – especially when fully laden. Insurance groups are quite low, while deals like Peugeot's exclusive ‘Just add fuel’ package help keep a lid on long-term running costs.