Peugeot 3008 1.6 THP (2009) CAR review
This is Peugeot’s new 3008, the French company’s first ‘crossover’ vehicle, and while it will never be classed as a good-looker, as we’re about to discover it’s got much to commend it. Even if Peugeot isn’t entirely sure exactly what it is.
So what is the Peugeot 3008? MPV? SUV? Hatchback?
All of those and more, says Peugeot. The company describes it as a ‘crossroads’ vehicle – which is just a fancy way of saying it’s a crossover, isn’t it? Of course, for CAR Magazine readers over the age of 35, the word ‘crossroads’ has very different connotations – a soap opera renowned for sets that were poorly-made with terrible performances and woolly dialogue. Could that be an omen?
Could have been. But it’s not. The 3008 is well-made, performs more than adequately (especially if you opt for the 150bhp 1.6-litre petrol tested here) and the only woolly thing about it is Peugeot’s own perception of what exactly this car is and where it sits in the modern car market. Because if its doesn’t know, how the heck will it expect its customers to?
It’s a rival to compact soft-roaders like the Nissan Qashqai and VW Tiguan, isn’t it?
Of course it is, but when the cynical might of the motoring press gathered earlier this week to meet the top bods over from Peugeot’s HQ in Sochaux, we were met with an exercise in presenting a straight bat to make Geoff Boycott jealous. Try as we did to encourage them, they couldn’t utter the word Qashqai or Tiguan. A shame, really, because – whisper it, for Peugeot’s sake, at least – choose the right version and the 3008 is a better car than the Nissan.
Uglier though. That front end is enough to put anyone off.
We can’t dress this up – the 3008 won’t win any beauty contests. In other incarnations, that Peugeot family front grille has been described as a ‘whale shark eating plankton’, a ‘cheesecutter’ and a ‘kid with braces’. But it seems to work better amid the loftier dimensions of the 3008, which is based on the 308 hatchback. The 3008 is some 140mm higher than the 308 at 1639mm.
But where you can’t criticise the 3008 is with its interior design. Squiggly patterned seats aside, it’s an effective vision of quality black plastic with flourishes of silver picking out things like the switchgear, air vents and binnacle surrounds. Peugeot liken it to an aircraft cockpit which, while hardly a novel concept, is difficult to argue with. There’s a bank of seven switches you can fiddle about with before take-off – sorry, driving off – three of which control a head-up display. It’s not like the BMW version, which projects onto the windscreen. Instead there’s a quirky pop-up plastic screen. It looks like one of those things that the Prime Minister uses when giving important speeches, though to be honest, while it’s standard on higher spec models, it’s a bit of a gimmick.
Other than that, other nice touches include a boot light that doubles as a removable torch (like the C3 Picasso) and a split-level shelving system in the boot. Visits to your local Swedish purveyor of flatpack furniture may just get easier with the addition of a front passenger seat that will fold completely flat, thus creating a level area to carry long items, from front to back. There’s a tailgate too.
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