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Peugeot 3008 Exclusive 1.6 HDi 110 FAP

Click to view picture gallery“Peugeots 3008 is a true cross-
  over insomuch as it provides the
  advantages of a hatchback, MPV,
  estate car and SUV while cleverly
  blending them all together in one
  stylish body. But the real eye-
  opener is that the tallish 3008 drives
  with all the agility of a
normal car...”

FANS OF THE FRENCH 'LION' marque will notice that the gaping 'shark's mouth' grille adorning recent Peugeots has been superseded by a more conservative but equally distinctive 'egg-crate'-pattern version that sits well with the blunter front-end treatment of the new 3008.

Flowing up from the bonnet, the 3008's sharply raked windscreen adds an aerodynamic air while straight-cut, lightly blistered wheel arches add definition and the rising waistline, sloping roof and 'kicked-up' third side window combine to create a coupe look. Smartly finished in metallic black, our test car looked very appealing indeed — the 3008 is without doubt a car you'll want to get into.

Step aboard and settle into the plush cabin — the most stylish Peugeot interior to date and one that majors on quality soft-touch materials, leather upholstery, well-considered ergonomics with smart chrome detailing to switchgear, instrument bezels and air vents and the kind of attention to detail that makes you think of something not French but German — Audi.

The wide, high-set wrap-around centre console runs between the front seats, cocooning the driver and placing the gear lever in easy reach while the 'command' seating provides excellent visibility. Loads of seat and wheel adjustment guarantee a first class driving position made even better by the very good foot and legroom, with knees safely back from the lower fascia. A leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel — with perforated leather work areas — not only adds a hint of sporty interest but feels really good in your hands. The 3D Connect Navigation display pops-up automatically in the centre of the fascia at start-up and customers specifying this 715 option won't be disappointed: simplicity itself to use, it is, crucially, very accurate.

Owners will be sure to
love the ‘well-dressed’
and decidedly swish
interior — certainly one
of the best in its class —
as much as they will
appreciate the 3008
roomy cabin
Stowage space can honestly be described as bountiful, with lots of cubbies, large door pockets, a decent-sized glovebox (with an 'organiser' section in the lid), a massive storage box incorporated into the deep centre console and topped by the front centre armrest — itself nicely padded and big enough to be shared — along with a drop-down glasses case in the roof and two 'secret' underfloor bins in the second row, hidden by a tailored floor mat. A neat touch is the dedicated handbook pocket under the steering column that frees up glovebox space.

3008 owners will be sure to love the 'well-dressed' and decidedly swish interior — certainly one of the best in its class — as much as they will appreciate the 3008's roomy cabin. The large glass areas flood the cabin with light and range-topping Exclusive models go one better with an extensive, full-length tinted glass roof — 'panoramic' by name and panoramic by nature, it ensures the 3008's cabin is a wonderfully airy and pleasant travelling environment. In fact, sitting in the back is actually the best place to enjoy it: you feel like you're travelling in an open car.

If you prefer to keep the sun out, there's a one-shot powered sun blind. Alternatively, the blind can be left in any position between fully open and completely closed. The large front sun visors are sensibly deep and remain in whatever position suits while outer back seat passengers have the luxury of their own personal mesh roller-blinds for their door window.

Blinds open or closed, all passengers enjoy extensive views out while relaxing in generously proportioned and very comfy seats. A special mention about the front seat headrests — their cushioned front faces are hinged at the top, allowing them to be adjusted to the most comfortable head support angle. And in cold weather, the front passengers can keep snug in the 3-stage heated seats.

Even with the front seats pushed all the way back there's still decent leg and knee room for rear seat passengers; head and shoulder room is also very good and, thanks to the flat rear cabin floor, three adults can sit comfortably side-by-side. Even with the height-adjustable front seats at their lowest setting, there's still plenty of foot room for those sitting behind. While two travel best in the back sharing the centre armrest, the middle rear seat position is perfectly okay if you need to carry five.

Praiseworthy technical features include the transparent panel above the main dials between the instruments and windscreen that rises automatically on start-up and onto which is projected a crystal clear, head-up display of current speed.

The 3008 is easy to park,
has no height issues
entering and leaving
multi-story car parks and
will sleep in the average
domestic garage
This is more than just useful: it's a Very Good Thing for both safety and for reducing driver distraction. Only visible to the driver, it provides your speed at any given moment and even while you're watching the road ahead you're always aware of your exact road speed. There's also a Distance Alert function that warns if you get too close to the vehicle in front.

For the record, the range-topping Exclusive models come generously equipped with a Cielo panoramic glass roof, auto headlights and wipers, four auto one-shot up/down electric windows, Head-Up display, Distance Alert, built-in roller-blind mesh sun visors for the second row windows, tyre pressure sensor, climate control bi-zone air conditioning (that does very hot and icy cold equally well), 17-inch alloys with energy-saver tyres, rear parking aid, cruise control with speed limiter, MP3-compatible audio system, leather steering wheel, front fog lights, height-adjustable front seats, Multiflex storage system, automatic electric parking brake (with Hill Assist), Electronic Stability Programme, height-adjustable front seat belts, six airbags and a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.

With compact dimensions (4,365mm long / 1,639mm high / 1,837mm wide) the 3008 is easy to park, has no height issues entering and leaving multi-story car parks and will sleep in the average domestic garage.

A family-friendly car par excellence, the 3008 handles loads as nonchalantly as it handles children. Lift up the neat upper rear tailgate and you'll find a practical lower section that drops down for easy loading and which is substantial enough (it will support 200kg) for sitting on — perfect, in fact, for family picnics.

Admittedly the 60:40 split rear seats don't slide but whenever you need to increase the carrying space from the boot-only 512 litres to the maximum 1,604 litres, simply pull the release levers in the boot and the backrests fold down automatically.

The 3008's Multiflex load system proved to be especially useful — in a nutshell, the boot floor doubles as a multi-level shelf and the lightweight lift-out floor section can be repositioned at any one of three-levels with an easy single-handed movement. Not only can large items be easily accommodated but a number of smaller items can be carried both below and on the shelf. Don't need it at all? Easy — just drop it down out of the way.

“The electric handbrake
automatically applies
the brake when you
switch off the engine
In its centre position this sturdy 'shelf' matches the level of the folded backrests as well as the opened lower tailgate so providing a continuous long, flat load-bay. With the rear backrests in use, there's a useful ski-flap. Other handy 'cargo' features include a flexi luggage net and a front passenger seat backrest that folds down to facilitate transporting extra-long items. Another practical feature is the large, self-charging torch that doubles as a boot light.

So, no arguing with the build quality, looks or versatility of the 3008. But what about the driving experience? Good news: for a start, it's built on a version of the same platform underpinning the 308 as well as the new 5008. It may sport an SUV-ish air but the 3008 is front-wheel drive only and handles tidily and drives well. The suspension is supple and provides a cosseting, compliant and controlled ride that really does smooth out the bumps in the road — and that with our test car running on meaty tyres (235/45 section) and 18-inch wheels.

Always of importance to a car's driveability is the driver's visibility — in the case of the 3008 it's fine, both to the front and the side and there are no problems with the long, sloping A-pillars. Large door mirrors are a boon and, in spite of fairly substantial C-pillar styling, rearwards visibility is good too. Of course, visual and audible reversing aids do their bit to make parking and going backwards as hassle free as possible.

Combined with a pronounced lack of road noise, a refined cabin and a long-legged sixth gear, the 110bhp turbodiesel makes for civilised cruising — long-distance journeys are particularly restful and, on Continental excursions, it will lope along at an unruffled 95+mph. On UK motorways, pick up in 5th and 6th gears is brisk, even when cruising at the legal limit.

Also contributing to its easy-to-drive character is the decent amount of front-end bite — and no noticeable body roll even when pressing on some. In fact, for a tallish high-riding vehicle, the 3008's handling control really is praiseworthy. The steering — on the light side and great for parking — is also quick and accurate and has enough feedback to impart a real sense of the road. Braking is also fine; strong and with immediate response to pedal pressure.

“The practical, easy-to-
drive, good-to-travel-in
and truly multi-purpose
Peugeot 3008
is a hard act to beat
Appreciated practical touches include an electric handbrake that does it all for you — in addition to a 'hill hold' function it automatically applies the brake when you switch off the engine; and when the engine is running, automatically releases the brake — so long as you're belted up — as you drive away. Other good features include opposed wipers that clear a great deal of the windscreen and washers that deliver a really strong, long spray over the screen but only require a momentary touch of the stalk button to do so.

Reassuring from a safety angle are the driver-operated child locks for the rear doors and windows and the overhead 'in use' seat belt display. It's little, and often overlooked, things like these that make the 3008 such an easy car to live with every day.

Keen drivers will be pleased to learn that more powerful 150bhp petrol and diesel versions come with a 'roll control' device fitted to the rear axle called, logically, Dynamic Roll Control. This, as its name suggests, controls and limits the body roll that's normally the bane of tall vehicles during fast cornering — on straight roads the 3008's suspension still absorbs bumps easily but when driving through twisty bends and round corners a third shock absorber in the rear suspension comes into play to minimise roll. It also reduces fore and aft pitching during acceleration and braking. Even without DRC, the 3008 offers a controlled ride; with it, the more powerful versions are even better.

For an extra £460 the 3008 can also be specified with Grip Control. This is a clever electric differential system that adds a degree of four-wheel drive capability without the extra weight and hardware penalties of a full-blown all-wheel drive system. Intended to provide extra traction and safety for towing and in bad weather conditions, Grip Control is called-up by the driver using a rotary switch with five settings: Standard, Snow, Off-Road (Mud/Dirt/Wet Grass), Sand and ESP-off. To maximise its benefits, Grip Control-equipped 3008s are fitted with Mud+Snow tyres. And it is amazingly effective: at the press launch last year we watched as a 1.6-litre 3008 with Grip Control towed and launched a glider across a bumpy grass field!

Our test 3008's 110bhp 1.6-litre HDi diesel unit proved to be civilised and willing and, mated to an easy-changing, six-speed manual 'box, will get you to the benchmark 62mph in a quick enough 12.2 seconds and on to a 112mph top speed. Thanks to 192lb ft of torque on tap from 1,750rpm, it's also a responsive performer with decent mid-range torque. It's economical, too: combined economy is officially 55.4mpg; during a busy week spent crawling through urban traffic and quick motorway runs to the coast we recorded a real-life 47.1mpg. Not bad at all.

If you're in the market for a crossover it's true that you'll be spoilt for choice — VW Tiguan, Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga, to name but a few. However, with its very competitive pricing (16,695 to 22,795), the practical, easy-to-drive, good-to-travel-in and truly multi-purpose Peugeot 3008 is a hard act to beat. —

Peugeot 3008 Exclusive 1.6 HDi 110 FAP
| 20,595
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 12.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 47.1mpg
Power: 110bhp | Torque: 192lb ft | CO2 137g/km