What is it?
This is the most powerful version of Peugeot’s 3008 cross-over, equipped with the same 148bhp 1.6 litre petrol turbo engine that propels the 207 GT, the 308 Sport and in more potent form, the Mini Cooper S.
It’s based on a 308 platform, but it’s taller, roomier and more versatile, provides the command driving position of an SUV and unusually, a split tailgate. But unlike the Nissan Qasqai that is its closest conceptual rival, four-wheel drive is not even offered as an option, although you can have an enhanced traction control system called Grip Control, which adjusts its electronic interventions to suit wet grass, mud or snow.
The 3008 comes only as a five seater, unlike the Nissan, Peugeot planning to cover the seven-seater market with an MPV out this autumn.
Further high tech features include an optional head-up display that reveals the time gap between you and the car in front, and on this higher performance version, an intriguing roll control device. Mounted in unit with the back axle, this hydraulic system pressurises the rear shock absorbers to counter body lean in corners.
What’s it like?
The 3008 is not the most beauteous vehicle, what with its jutting grille, slightly too-narrow track and ordinary-looking rear end, but your spirits will lift when you climb inside, where you’ll be impressed by an interior of a quality to challenge plenty of premium-class machines for fit, finish, quality of materials and tactility. The dashboard is pretty pleasing piece of architecture too.
Space is plentiful up front, marginally less generous in the rear for feet and knees, if entirely adequate, while loading arrangements are fairly versatile. You’ll find a removable false floor in the boot which can be positioned at three different altitudes with an ingenious, single-handed action, one height positioning it level with the lower half of the two-piece tailgate. The split rear seat can be flopped flat using boot-mounted releases, and the front passenger seat backrest can be similarly felled for long loads.
The sophistication of the 3008's interior is matched by its manners on the road, its ride quality, noise suppression and general comfort all suitable for many-houred journeys, while its turbo motor spins with smooth enthusiasm to 62mph in 8.9sec, and well past the danger paint to almost 7000rpm.
Such dynamism is more appropriate than its looks suggest, because the standard-fit roll-control system not only maintains the Peugeot’s posture closer to the perpendicalar but, better still for the keen, allows it to resist the mid-bend build-up of understeer with encouraging effectiveness. So it promises slightly more entertainment for the parent who still enjoys bend-bashing thrills when the family are absent.
Should I buy one?
If you don’t mind the looks - and those more familiar with the 3008, admittedly wearers of lion-branded garmentry, claim that its look mellows with familiarity - this cross-over has quite a lot going for it.
There’s plentiful room provided you don’t need seven seats, there’s a good view out for all, its interior finish will provide as much pleasure as its deftly civilised road manners and the sprightly performance of this 1.6 THP motor.
Most buyers will go for the economic attractions of the 1.6 HDI, but this petrol engine is tempting, especially in combination with that roll control system if you like a brisk drive between bouts of load lugging.