While not likely to be a big seller, there's still lots to like about this turbo 1.6. For starters, it has more than adequate shove for building up motorway speeds quickly and tackling hilly terrain with a family and their luggage aboard, even if its best work is done in the upper reaches of its rev range. Crucially, no matter how hard you push it, it's always smooth, with little boom in the cabin.
Peugeot's six-speed automatic ’box doesn't have the finger-click fast changes of a dual-clutch auto, but it's no slusher, being intelligent enough to merrily flick down a ratio at the right time yet choose to change up and keep the 1.6 at a near-silent hum on the motorway.
Pressing the 3008's Sport driving mode button undoes this a little as it begins hunting for a lower ratio too often, while the 3008's steering also becomes too heavily weighted. It needn't be that way, because staying out of Sport mode leaves the steering feeling more naturally weighted, with a pleasing evenness. There's an argument for the rack being a little too quick, but given that the 3008's body is nicely laterally controlled, it's not a huge issue.
But while laterally there's little give, the 3008 is fundamentally a softer-sprung small SUV than its rivals. Fast undulations see noticeable but well-controlled vertical movements. Road scars, ruts and potholes are all dealt with well, even if mid-corner bumps are more of a problem for the 3008's chassis.
Like its rivals, push hard and eventually the front wheels give up grip, but there's more than enough for brisk country blasts and no unwanted rear axle movement off the throttle. No 3008 gets all-wheel drive, but Grip Control (advanced traction control) with mud and snow tyres and a hill descent function is an option instead.
This 3008 is a marked improvement from Peugeot in the ride and handling department, then, and also a real step forward inside. It's clear that perceived quality and a premium feel were the target here, and the 3008's new 'i-Cockpit' cabin is good news.
For starters, an Audi-style 12.3in digital instrument cluster and an 8.0in touchscreen come as standard on all cars, the cluster being fully customisable via the 3008's standard multi-function steering wheel and every bit as high in resolution as Audi's effort, even if its menus aren't always as obvious to navigate. Interestingly, Peugeot has introduced a BMW-style gear selector on auto models, too, and it looks and feels substantial enough to be convincing.
Indeed, overall dash material and switchgear quality is a massive improvement, surpassing that of a Nissan Qashqai and giving an Ateca a genuine run for its money. Equipment such as the aforementioned screens, Bluetooth, USB connection, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, climate control, rear parking sensors, lane departure and automatic emergency braking on all 3008s is aggressively good for the class, too.
Furthermore, four (not quite five) adults will sit comfortably. The fact that the rear seats split 60/40 and fold completely flat using boot-mounted levers and the boot floor is adjustable makes it a practical choice, too. The boot itself has great access, with no load lip and a usefully square shape, and is larger than those of rivals.