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Peugeot 3008 Sport HDi 110

Click to view picture galleryLooking for a crossover? You
  could buy a Qashqai, Golf Plus,
C4 Picasso, Tiguan, C Max, Kuga,  
  Honda CR-V, Freelander or RAV4.
  Alternatively, with prices ranging
  from 15,995 to 21,895, there
s all-new 3008...

PEUGEOT'S NEW 3008 is based on the medium sized Peugeot 308 platform which already supplies the Hatch and SW estate body styles. The new crossover addition sits between the two of them for length (4,365mm) but is much taller (at 1,639mm) and also wider (2,113mm), making it roomier as well. Plus there is a much larger boot/load area: from 512 litres with the rear seats in use to 1,604 litres with the rear three seats folded.

The front-wheel drive 3008's styling is a combination of five-door hatchback cum tall MPV people carrier cum SUV 4x4. The similar concept Nissan Qashqai established this new segment and it's currently the clear market leader and the best-selling SUV ahead of the Honda CR-V, Land Rover Freelander and the Ford Kuga.

Clearly customers still like the rugged looks of an SUV but do not necessarily want the fuel-guzzling 4x4 drivetrain, and they still want the versatile seating and load carrying of an MPV but in a good handling, medium sized family car. Roll all these requirements and wants together and you end up with a crossover — and the five-door, five-seater 3008 would seem to fit the bill perfectly.

I like the styling of the 3008 and prefer its rounded front to the over-emphasised nose-heavy styling of the existing 308 models. The newcomer has the design cues from other Peugeot models at the front but with a more refined interpretation of the open-mouth grille and 'feline' lights.

The 3008's forward-positioned windscreen gives a swept back aerodynamic look, and the rising waistline and curved roof provides a coupe-esque side elevation. The B-pillars and rear-quarter C-pillars are quite wide, so visibility for the driver can be an issue. At the rear is a very neat split tailgate. The top section hinges upwards and provides the usual tailgate entrance but a lower section hinges downwards to give even better access for bulky loads — or even for the family dog!

In the large, uncluttered load area there is what Peugeot calls a 'Multiflex' system: a three-position load floor that is easy to use and allows the load to be positioned at the best height with more items stored under the floor. The three rear seats also fold down easily and provide a large, flat load floor. Boot space is 512 litres with the rear seats in use and a very practical 1,604 litres with them folded.

The front passenger compartment is laid out in a similar style with a twin-cockpit arrangement, and the driving position and siting of all the controls and switches is first class. I was able to set a virtually perfect (just right for me) position between the seat and the steering column, and the high up 'command' seating is also first rate.

The 3008 offers
a very compliant
and controlled ride —
and also
a comfortable one
Some might find the seats on the soft side but I liked them. With its very compliant and controlled ride, the 3008 is a very comfortable car. And even with the front seats moved right back there is still ample legroom for rear seat passengers. More impressive still was the quality of the interior; much improved and something existing Peugeot customers will find heartening.

There are three trim and equipment levels — Active, Sport and Exclusive. The mid-range Sport is expected to be the best seller. All models have air conditioning, electric front windows, front fog lights, energy saving tyres, the Multiflex load carrying system, automatic electric parking brake, electronic stability programme and a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Active versions have 17-inch steel wheels whilst Sport and Exclusive have 17-inch alloys. The Sport models have added specification over Active in the form of rear parking sensors, cruise control, an upgraded sound system, interior lighting pack, Dynamic Roll Control (for the more powerful versions) and a leather-bound steering wheel.

Exclusive models gain a huge panoramic sunroof, head-up display, distance alert, row-two sun visor side curtains, alarm, additional interior storage boxes, climate control, tyre pressure sensors and added exterior brightwork.

In addition, there are many and varied extra-cost options to turn the 3008 into exactly what each customer specifically wants. One item, which costs an extra 450, is so good it should be fitted as standard. The extra cost will be easily retrieved on the trade-in value because used car buyers will most definitely want it, especially those who plan to use the 3008 for towing, driving off-road or for more easily coping with the UK's wet, icy and snowy roads in Winter. This innovative optional extra is called Grip Control and, in conjunction with special Michelin 'Mud & Snow' tyres, it uses a clever electronic differential (which includes traction control) to optimise the traction of both front wheels; it can even switch all the power to just one wheel if that wheel has the best grip. It also lets the driver choose one of five settings — Standard, Snow, All-terrain, Sand and ESP Off — that best suits the prevailing driving conditions.

To prove just how good this system is, Peugeot demonstrated it by using a 3008 with a 1.6-litre petrol engine to tow a glider on a grass runway fast enough for the pilot to get the glider airborne! Grip Control is very effective and customers should definitely tick the box on their order form.

Another clever new technical innovation, found on sportier 1.6 THP petrol and 2.0 HDi FAP diesel models, is Dynamic Roll Control. As the title suggests, this function controls and limits body roll normally experienced by tall vehicles during fast cornering. Essentially, this system employs a third shock absorber in the rear suspension system fitted horizontally and linked to the two vertical shock absorbers. This third element reduces roll side-to-side by stiffening the suspension and also reduces fore and aft pitching during acceleration and braking.

Without it the 3008 is still a sharp handling vehicle; with it, it is even better. In all forms, in fact, the 3008 offers a very compliant and controlled ride — and also a comfortable one. The steering is on the light side but at least it is precise; and the feedback is good.

I won't go into detail about the power units as they are all well known current Peugeot engines: fuel-efficient, clean and eco-friendly. Engines available are, as tested here, the 1.6-litre HDi 110 FAP diesel, 2.0 HDi 150/163 diesels, the range-starter model 1.6-litre VTi 120 petrol and a 1.6 THP 150 petrol.

The choice engine from the range for most retail customers, with prices from 17,795, will be the petrol 1.6 THP 150 with continuous variable valve timing and power boosted by a twin-scroll turbocharger. This unit produces 177lb ft of torque from just 1,400rpm so it has the eager low-speed response characteristics of a diesel unit. Fuel economy is 38.1mpg in the combined cycle and that is exactly what it achieved when I drove one. With CO2 emissions of 176g/km, road tax is 175 a year. Top speed is 125mph and 0-62mph takes a brisk 8.9 seconds.

The most popular engine will undoubtedly be the 1.6 HDi 110 FAP diesel. It produces 177lb ft at 1,750rpm in normal mode but 192lb ft in overboost under hard acceleration. Top speed is 112mph and 0-62mph takes 12.2 seconds. The official average fuel economy is 55.3mpg but my test car only returned 44mpg over a variety of roads ranging from town traffic to motorways. CO2 emissions are 137g/km, so road tax is a relatively low 120 a year.

Overall, the new Peugeot 3008 is a very welcome newcomer to the ranks of 'new-age' vehicles. Complaints? Only that something as good as Grip Control isn't standard. In its favour, the 3008 looks smart (if a little conservative) with a practical, user-friendly design, it is the right size, appears well made, has a roomy and versatile interior and a large load capability, drives well, is comfortable and well equipped and has excellent handling control for a tall vehicle. — David Miles

Peugeot 3008 Sport HDi 110 FAP
| 18,495
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 12.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 44mpg
Power: 110bhp | Torque: 177-192lb ft | CO2: 137g/km | Insurance group: 6