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Mid-life update for Peugeot’s compact SUV brings fresh look and new electrified hybrid derivatives

Once a quirky, curvy, innovative crossover hatchback, the Peugeot 3008 morphed into more of a by-the-book compact SUV when the first-generation car was replaced by the second back in 2016.

In some ways that was a shame, making the car less original; but the move has played well commercially, boosting the car’s UK sales popularity amongst customers who increasingly rate the versatility, convenience and the bolder styling of these high-riding cars.

Most of the Japanese and Korean brands in this class no longer offer diesel engines, but - for now, at least - Peugeot is among the European firms that still do.

Now, with a new pair of plug-in hybrid models entering the range alongside regular petrol- and diesel options, the second-generation Peugeot 3008 looks set to continue to prosper as it progresses through the second half of its showroom life.

It’s a car that might appeal to value-savvy buyers at the bottom of the model range, where it can be snapped up for less than £28,000; but it also now has what it takes to appeal to tax-conscious company drivers in the middle of the line-up and at the very top; and it’s one of a gradually dwindling number of cars in the class in which a frugal diesel engine can still be had if you want one.

Rather than trading on tough offroad capability or outright practicality, this is a car that seeks to mix distinguishing and sophisticated style both inside and out with a just-so blend of useful space, compactness and maneuverability. The more powerful plug-in hybrids adopt upgraded suspension as well as extra power in order to conjure a bit of dynamism into that equation, as we’ll explore shortly; and it was a ‘plug-in’ petrol-electric Hybrid 225, with lab-test carbon emission of just 31g/km, that we elected to test.

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Peugeot 3008 design & styling

The 3008 is among the smaller, cheaper cars that adopts Peugeot’s big-car model architecture. Known as ‘EMP2’, this platform also serves under the Peugeot 5008 and Peugeot 508 saloon, as well as under bigger models from Citroen, Vauxhall and DS Automobiles. The use of the platform allows Peugeot to offer fully independent suspension and four-wheel drive (via an electric rear axle) in higher-end versions of the car; but it also rules out any pure electric derivative (move down a market segment and you can opt for an all-electric Peugeot e-2008 crossover hatchback, of course). 

Turbocharged combustion engines mount transversely under the car’s bonnet and drive the front axle. They range in size from 1.2 litres and three cylinders up to 1.6 litres and four-cylinders; they take in both petrol and diesel options; and they offer between 128- and 178bhp for those who want a conventionally-powered option.

The majority of 3008s combine strut-type front suspension with a space-efficient torsion beam arrangement at the rear but, partly because they can bring four-wheel drive into the equation, both plug-in hybrid derivatives swap that beam axle for a more sophisticated multi-link setup. In the Hybrid 225 (as tested) Peugeot’s 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine is combined with an electric drive motor upstream of the car’s eight-speed automatic gearbox, and up to 222bhp and 266lb ft of torque can find its way through to the front wheels. In the pricier Hybrid4 300, meanwhile, an extra electric motor is used to drive the rear axle directly, and ‘total system’ peak power rises to 296bhp. Both hybrid versions use the same lithium-ion drive battery, which has 13.2kWh of gross capacity (10.4kWh net/usable) and is carried under the car’s back seats. 

Peugeot claims significantly stronger performance for the Hybrid4, however: 6.1sec from 0-62mph plays 8.9-, with the Hybrid 225 being only 80kg the lighter of the pair. Our mid-spec test car weighed 1754kg on the proving ground scales, which is roughly what it ought to have weighed allowing for a full tank of fuel and some optional equipment. But simpler, non-electrified versions of the car are claimed to weigh as little as 1320kg.

Peugeot’s mid-life update for the 3008 smartened the car’s exterior styling in places, most notably around the radiator grille and headlights where the new car gets a frameless grille and a distinctive straked look. UK buyers are offered a five-tiered derivative lineup, and if you go for one of the upper two you can have an optional ‘Black Pack’ styling theme which adds gloss black alloy wheels and matching body trim, and plenty of dark ‘smoked chrome’ body decorations.

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Peugeot 3008 First drives