Recently enough, after test driving the new KIA Niro, I said that it's difficult to make an SUV that stands out from the crowd. We are surrounded by a very important segment that is constantly growing, but it's difficult to find much spark. Many of these machines take on the same shape, and while most of them have very positive points, it's hard not to be hit by a monotony of vehicles. It's time for me to eat my own words. There is now a new and exciting SUV about to hit the market, the Peugeot 3008.We reported here on Car Buyers Guide some months ago that Peugeot were preparing to unleash their new 3008. I've driven many Peugeot vehicles, but never have I left one feeling so positive. The new 3008 is creating a path that Peugeot need to follow.
Let's start off with the looks. In the past, the Peugeot 3008 was more MPV than SUV. Look at it now and you'll find that it's definitely an SUV. In fact, it’s probably the classiest and meanest looking compact SUV in its segment. Think I'm being too nice? I’m not. I must say that positivity towards this vehicle is well-deserved. The exterior style is both rugged and sporty, and when you consider its MPV-like past, I shouldn't be able to say that. These cars have a powerful front grille that we've seen recently in their new van range. The grille and air vents to the front give the expression that Peugeot lacked in the 5008 and the previous 3008. As a side note, that 5008 is to be brought completely up to date too (check the 5008 video review here) - but that's a different story that we'll cover soon.
A few years ago, I did a bit of study on Peugeot's past concept cars. One of their more recent ideas was the EXALT. The interior of the new Peugeot 3008 seems to be plucked out of the same picture book. It looks amazingly futuristic, and they deliver on that look too by giving us the second generation of i-Cockpit.... as standard! I've rattled on about the TFT displays in the new vehicles from Audi – and Peugeot are nearly at that perfection. In fact, the car also offers perfume at the touch of a button.
Last year I drove the new DS5, and one of my many complaints about that car was that the cockpit was super-cramped. Sure, it looked futuristic, but I felt smothered by claustrophobia - thankfully the DS3 didn't suffer from the same problems. The 3008 offers the same type of wraparound cockpit that you'd find in the DS5, but at no point are you left feeling claustrophobic, instead you feel like you’re sitting in comfort.
The car itself is now longer and the interior height is ever-so-slightly lower than before (head height is not a problem). The steering wheel has been changed too, and it’s very sporty in appearance. In typical Peugeot fashion, it is small, but it now has a flat top and bottom. The centre console houses an 8” touch screen and below is a very funky-looking collection of piano-key toggle switches. The boot has changed too and it now offers an extra 90 litres of space (520 litres).
At launch, we travelled nearly 300km in a 2.0 litre HDI engined GT version. Everything, from the adaptive cruise control to the newly designed gearstick was impressive... certainly in appearance, one of the few negatives to the drive was that when you put the foot down in this 180 hp machine, the gears didn't change as fluidly as I would have liked.
Our route was supposed to take us through the Mille Miglia in Italy, but a few of us decided to tick another destination off our list and we hit the highways to the tiny Republic that is San Marino. It tackled the hills of that spectacular city in pure style. The front seats are very comfortable, but I briefly sat in the back and noticed that they are a bit too straight and not as comfortable. The bends on the San Marino hills did throw in a small bit of body roll – nothing drastic.
Peugeot Ireland are yet to price the new 3008, however, the old one was on the road for in and around €26,000 and despite Brexit, we expect that they won't fiddle too much with this figure - otherwise they mightn't get the market share that they need. Peugeot’s goal is to become a more-luxurious brand – however, if they increase the prices of new models by too much, will they be at a risk of losing existing customers?
Peugeot says that they want to move up-market, and the current 508 is nearly there, however that car does have some silly, but small, design flaws. The 3008 on the other hand doesn't. Its technology is wonderful. There will be plenty of trim lines on the Irish market; Access, Allure, Active, GT Line and GT. The higher you go, the better the standard equipment. Special note needs to be made about their FOCAL sound system - did you know that beryllium is more expensive than gold? Well, that's what some of the sound system is made from. It's excellent and I would be as impressed by it as I am by the Bowers and Wilkins system in the new Volvo S90 - which, by the way, is literally bullet proof because it's made from Kevlar.
I make no apologies about being enthusiastic about the Peugeot 3008, it's the best I've seen from Peugeot. Now their Irish arm needs to make sure that the price is right. It needs to be attractive enough to get bums in seats.
The new Peugeot 3008 SUV will land in Ireland during early 2017. Some Peugeot dealers have had a left-hand drive sample, which they have been showing off to customers – so you may see some roaming around. The Irish market will benefit from a range of very efficient engines including the 1.6 litre Blue HDI diesel with 120bhp and the 3-cylinder 130bhp petrol engine. All burn low CO2 and you should expect to pay in and around €180/€190 per annum in road tax.