In terms of dynamic sophistication, the 3008 follows quite a long way behind the Ateca, a model that gently reinvigorated our enthusiasm for crossovers.

In the main, the well-finished Ateca achieved that simply by being endowed with pleasing control weights, a balanced ride and the kind of dependable handling accuracy that makes everyday driving effortless and intuitive.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Most volume crossovers struggle a little over transmission bumps, but the jolt generated by the 3008 is particularly striking

And while Peugeot’s response to the same brief is credible enough, it’s less accomplished in a number of key ways.

Foremost among them is the legacy of the i-Cockpit’s shrunken steering wheel. In smaller cars, Peugeot’s insistence on an unconventional, reduced-diameter steering wheel makes at least a bit of sense, but in a crossover the arrangement becomes even more off-putting than it has been hitherto. One tester likened using it to typing a 1000-word report on a mobile phone keypad.

Ergonomically, the impact of that wheel is subjective, and the car’s driving position will work for some and not for others.

But it’s hard to imagine the small wheel working particularly well for anyone on the road. The 3008 is a slightly capricious steer, the directness of its handling response increasing quite abruptly off-centre and coming without any helpful matching increase in control weight, and the steering feels over-assisted at all times.

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More often than not, adjustment is required mid-corner to gently correct the input applied on entry, making the 3008 peculiarly restive to drive – an impression hardly dispelled by the quick winding off of lock that is often necessary in order to make a smooth getaway from T-junctions.

Consequently, much as did the 308, the 3008 doesn’t feel entirely at ease with itself, with many of its other major controls feeling inconsistent, while a soft but occasionally thumping, underdamped ride is further evidence of a disappointing dynamic finish.

Beneath – or rather, beyond – its irritations, there’s probably a decent crossover waiting to emerge, but unlike the Ateca, too little of what the 3008 does well on the road is memorable for the right reasons, leaving only the car’s one or two frustrating shortcomings to linger in the memory after use.

Misgivings about the car’s steering only deepen when the car is pushed at speed. Leaving the imprecision aside, the downsized steering wheel makes direction changes feel synthetic and insubstantial — not characteristics one appreciates close to a car’s limit.

More annoying still is that what the 3008 gains from its extra-assertive helm is of so little use to it. Most buyers neither expect nor require knife-edge responsiveness from a crossover — and nor would any take issue with the size of the steering wheel in, say, a Qashqai.

Had Peugeot stuck with convention, we assume the 3008 would have been more satisfying to drive quickly. As it is, the steering’s flightiness exacerbates any slushiness in the body control, making the handling seem contrived and overwrought rather than mechanically organic.

And it’s this lack of feel that scuppers the 3008 just as readily in the real world as on Millbrook’s Hill Route.

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