2016 Peugeot 3008 BlueHDI 120 Active Test Drive: Metamorphosis
The 3008 grew bigger and taller, screaming SUV from every corner. So is it really an SUV now?
Peugeot goes where the money is, having planned to tackle the crossover-SUV segment aggressively in the next years. And the indefinable-vehicle-now-turned-SUV 3008 is the first fine example of Peugeot’s strategy.
Created for:highwaysall terrain
Hats off for:luggage spaceergonomics
Bang for the buck:good
Six different powertrain options are offered for the 3008, covering a range between 99 hp and 178 hp — so there’s something for every taste. Our test car had an 118 hp 1.6 BlueHDI mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, which most likely will be the model’s best seller. It may not be in the upper part of the punchiness ladder, but the 300 Nm of torque are sufficient to move the 1.315-kg body around, without having to ask for too much fuel. Oh, the sweet compromise!
The 3008’s transformation into an SUV was mostly done through design; for example, the ground clearance is 20mm lower over the previous generation. That means the center of gravity wasn’t raised in the process, so the 3008 does not suffer through fast corners — although there’s a hint of a lateral roll when it comes to that. Curiously, the small steering wheel felt more connected to the front wheels in the standard mode rather it did in Sport — a setup that also puts the transmission on pins and needles while making the throttle pedal more responsive.
There is no 4x4 option for the 3008, but the Grip Control feature will help you get out of the snow, mud or sand with much ease, courtesy of an intelligent traction management. As for the inflatable bit of car safety, it comes with airbags all around (front, side, and head) regardless the trim you choose. Go for an upper trim, and you get lane departure warning, high beam, and parking assists. The options list also has safety/comfort amenities such as adaptive cruise control.
There’s enough room for four adults to share a 3008 on a trip, although the otherwise enticing panoramic roof might take the head room important for tall rear seat passengers. The ride is settled, comfortable, but on some uneven road surfaces you’d expect the suspension to be more yielding (more SUV alike). Still, you’d find it softer than its small SUV rivals. Naturally, the French diesel clatter intrudes into the cabin, but the wind and tire noises are mostly kept outside.
The 3008’s cabin greets you with improved quality materials and a simple-but-effective design. Peugeot’s target was, undoubtedly, a premium feel, and the array (and arrangement) of materials throughout the cabin confirm an accomplished mission. It isn’t a stretch to say it’s one of the most appealing interiors in this segment, if not the most.
There are 520 liters of cargo space available in the 3008 when the rear bench is in place. Fold it, and you achieve a total of 1,580 liters. But it’s not only the (generous) room that makes the 3008 practical but the way the (optionally “hands-free” operated) boot lid is designed — no load lip, making the loading/unloading process easier. Both the 60/40 rear bench and the front passenger seat can fold flat, making it possible to load objects three meters long.
The i-Cockpit infotainment system comes with an eight-inch tactile display, and, unlike the 308, it also runs better. Unfortunately, our test car didn’t let us enjoy it throughout the test drive session, shutting it down for good and all for the last two hours; pure French spirit, eh? The instrument cluster is now digitized, the 12.3-inch display you look at over the small steering wheel being fully customizable.
The 1.6-liter BlueHDI unit might not be the most agile option for the 3008; actually, with an 11.6-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint, it’s the second slowest. But it’s also the second most frugal, asking for a mere 4.4 l/100 km (as declared). If you want the automatic transmission (and why wouldn’t you?), this would be the best power/efficiency/comfort compromise in the powerplant lineup.
Considering all the safety features (mentioned early) that come as standard even on the entry-level, along with the eight-inch screen and the 12.3-inch instrument cluster, it’s safe to say the 3008’s equipment levels are generous. Also, the price tag can escalate quickly to a painfully high degree, but as long as you stick with functionality and not plushness, you have nothing to be afraid of. You can play it safe choosing the Active trim over the entry-level one.
The 3008 can get real expensive real quick: the range-topping, 178 hp diesel, in GT guise, almost hits the €40,000 mark. Fortunately, the midline offers are not as scary: our 1.6-liter diesel mated to a six-speed automatic, would ask for €26,000 in the Active trim.