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Peugeot 3008 Exclusive HDi 163 Automatic

Click to view picture gallery“Crossovers are hugely popular,
  especially the ones with SUV looks
  and MPV seating/load-carrying
  functionality but with the footprint
  of a five-door family hatch. Now,
  thanks to a
new automatic gearbox,
Peugeot’s 3008 crossover has just
  become even more desirable

MORE AND MORE MANUFACTURERS ARE ADDING CROSSOVER MODELS before this fashionable new sector peaks recently we have seen the introduction of the Hyundai iX35, the Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga 2WD, VW Tiguan 2WD, BMW X1 and Toyota Urban Cruiser to name just a few added to the sector; and the Mitsubishi ASX has just joined the market.

However, potentially the best 'package' is that provided by the Peugeot 3008 five-door which, since its launch in November last year, has become a strong sales contender both for retail customers and heavily-taxed fleet and business user-chooser drivers.

The 3008 2WD range has just had another piece of its model line-up jigsaw put into place — an automatic transmission model, a popular option for both diesel and SUV and MPV customers. The line-up is still not quite complete — a Hybrid4 version, with the electric element of the powertrain driving the rear wheels to give it all-wheel drive, is due in 2011. This will be the world's first diesel hybrid vehicle and CO2 emissions will be 99g/km. Who says 4WD SUVs are gas guzzlers?

The six-speed auto
gearbox is smooth
and has Sport, Ice and
Snow settings
and a tiptronic
sequential change
I described the 3008 as a 'package' and by that I mean that although it doesn't excel in all areas, it doesn't fail in any either so together the sum of what it offers adds up to a really good product. So much so I decided it was my Car of the Year for 2009/10 — What Car? magazine came to the same conclusion.

MotorBar has reviewed the 3008 several times before so I am just going to recap on its merits. The 4,365mm length gives it a road footprint of a family hatchback or estate but with 512 to 1,604 litres of load space and, for me, it looks much better than the 'droopy nose' styling adopted for the 308 model on which it is based.

The 3008 offers excellent refinement, a versatile and classy interior, it drives well enough to suit family or work needs and it is a great all-rounder whether you are a family motorist or an active couple or just a couple who need versatile carrying space.

Included in its headline merits are a Euro NCAP five-star safety rating, electronic stability programme (on all models), grip control as an option, automatic electric parking brake with hill assist, a split level rear tailgate with fold-flat rear seats, head-up display with speed and distance alert options and optional parking aids front and rear. Fuel efficiency — whichever engine is chosen — comes as standard. As I said, a very good package indeed and good value to boot.

There is a wide range of engines offering varying power outputs: 1.6-litre petrol with 120 or 156bhp; and two diesel HDi units — a 1.6-litre 110bhp and a 2.0-litre with either 150 or 163bhp. All units are Euro 5-compliant and boast relatively low CO2 emission levels. Road tax costs range from 110 to 300 for the new First Year rate and then 110 to 200 for the second year onwards. Company car drivers will pay 19 to 26% Benefit-in-Kind tax depending on the model chosen.

Fuel economy
is first class.
My test car, driven on
motorways and the
normal day-to-day
local and town routes,
better than the official
Combined Cycle
With a choice of Active, Sport and Exclusive trim and equipment levels, prices range from an attractive and competitive 16,695 up to 22,795 for the new HDi 163 version with the new six-speed automatic transmission and Exclusive trim.

I have just had a thoroughly enjoyable motoring spell driving a 3008 fitted with the new 2.0-litre HDi 163bhp turbodiesel engine which comes with the new six-speed automatic gearbox and Exclusive trim and equipment and is priced at 22,795.

It sounds expensive but for this level of technical specification and high equipment it is competitive in this sector; it has to be because it is a very price sensitive and competitive market.

The 3008 has (as standard) Dynamic Roll Control which, as its name implies, controls the handling and roll of the vehicle and with the extra performance the 163bhp brings, plus the height of the vehicle (1,639mm), it is a needed item. Indeed, all versions perform better and are sharper in the handling department if this system is fitted, either as an option or, depending on model, as standard.

The Exclusive level of specification adds a panoramic glass sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, head-up display, distance alert, tyre pressure monitoring, alarm, aluminium exterior finishings, additional storage compartments and dual-zone climate control. Electrically-operated door mirrors and windows are standard as too are 17-inch alloy wheels. A good sound system is included on all models. Unfortunately, the leather upholstery and heated front seats on my test model cost an extra 1,025 and the navigation system adds another 715 to the price. It is a pity that even the top Exclusive model doesn't have the full specification most customers want without having to pay more.

Top speed of this model is 127mph even with the auto gearbox which has Sport, Ice and Snow settings and a tiptronic sequential change mode. The acceleration from zero to 62mph takes an impressively short 10.2 seconds. The six-speed auto box is smooth — perhaps not as fast between changes as the latest twin-clutch DSG type units — but it works well with this new 163bhp/250lb ft unit.

I decided the 3008
was my Car of the Year
for 2009/10 —
What Car? magazine
came to the same
Fuel economy is first class because officially the Combined Cycle fuel consumption is 42.8mpg but my test car, driven in traffic, on motorways and the normal day-to-day local and town routes, returned better than that: 43.5mpg.

On the downside, the 173g/km CO2 emissions mean a 300 First Year road tax cost although this reduces to 200 for the second year and onwards.

A shame then that the excellent Peugeot Grip Control (a value-for-money 450 option), which gives the two-wheel drive 3008s more grip in poor road or lightweight off-road conditions, isn't available with this model. With winter on its way, it will be especially missed by country dwellers, as well as caravan or boat towers. On the subject of towing, this version can pull up to a braked 1,500kg.

On the plus side the automatic transmission adds to the refinement already offered by the 3008, which also makes it a great all-rounder for families or couples for work or play. Against? Some extra-cost options (including the very useful Grip Control feature) should be standard on the range-topping Exclusive version.

Apart from that, the Peugeot 3008 remains my favourite crossover because of the package of benefits it brings to market. It has a classy interior and high specification with a versatile passenger/load carrying layout, good driveability, it's economical on fuel, good engine choice and is refined and easy to drive. And the new tiptronic automatic gearbox strongly extends the reasons to buy. — David Miles

Peugeot 3008 Exclusive HDi 163 Automatic
| 22,795
Maximum speed: 127mph | 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 43.5mpg
Power: 163bhp | Torque: 250lb ft | CO2 173g/km