What is it?
This is Peugeot’s 308 cross-over, a competitor to the Nissan Qashqai, and front-drive versions of SUVs such as the VW Tiguan and Ford Kuga, though in reality, Peugeot’s belief that this car will conquest buyers from all kinds of cars will probably be realised.
In effect it’s a longer, taller, roomier five-seat hatchback with a split tailgate, useful loadbay modularity and a four-wheel drive’s high seating position.
It’s also a slightly odd looking car. Its protuberant egg-crate grille resembles a child’s tooth-brace, it rides on a track slightly too narrow for its billowed wheelarches and from the rear it appears downright ordinary, but it certainly shouldn’t be dismissed for these mild aesthetic disappointments.
Engine options include a 109bhp 1.6 HDI diesel – expected to be the best-seller – 118bhp and 148bhp 1.6 petrols, and a 148bhp 2.0 HDI diesel, all with six-speed manuals. A conventional auto will be offered on a 161bhp 2.0 HDI, and a Co2-reducing automated-manual on the 1.6 HDI.
The 3008 is front-drive only, but available with a so-called Grip Control system that, rather like Land Rover’s Terrain Response facility, provides traction control software allowing it to get to grips with the friction properties of snow, wet grass and mud, though only if you order it on mud and snow tyres.
More useful to most UK buyers will be a panoramic glass roof, a head-up display that includes estimation of the time gap between you and the car in front (for safety reasons rather than road racing) and an infotainment system.
The most intriguing feature, however, is the dynamic roll control device fitted to the rear suspension of the 150bhp petrol, which pressurises the outboard shock absorber in corners to counter roll and understeer. And in 2011, there will be an all-wheel-drive diesel hybrid, Peugeot’s first.
What’s it like?
The 3008’s exterior might disappoint but its interior certainly doesn’t. This is the best finished, modern Peugeot cabin yet, its robustly crafted fittings fashioned from fine soft-feel materials and metallic trim. Stylish dashboard architecture that includes an expensive-looking padded passenger grab handle, plentiful stowage space and appealing instrument displays all make the 3008 a car you’ll be pleased to climb into.