This lightly updated version of the second generation Peugeot 3008 gains 48V mild hybrid tech and continues to be an appealing option for family buyers in the mid-sized SUV sector. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Review
In you're shopping amongst volume brand models at the upper end of the mid-sized SUV segment, Peugeot's 3008 SUV is one of the cars you'll need to seriously consider. The second generation version we first saw in 2017 has been lightly updated in recent times, most notably with 48V mild hybrid engine tech for the base petrol variant most customers choose. As before, smart looks clothe familiar attributes like a large, versatile boot and a quality cabin. You have to really want a car of this kind to really appreciate it but if you do, then you'll probably like this one a lot. There's near-premium pricing though, particularly for the clever Hybrid PHEV Plug-in models that top the range.
Any car maker wanting to develop, build and sell a Crossover SUV in today's crowded market knows that the product concerned is really going to have to stand out. There are, after all, so many brands jostling for space in this segment. Has this improved version of Peugeot's second generation 3008 model got what it takes?
This 3008 sits in the middle of Peugeot's SUV line-up, just above the supermini-based 2008 and just below the larger and more luxurious seven-seat 5008. Whereas the first generation 3008 competed directly against the most affordable Nissan Qashqai and SEAT Ateca-shaped mid-sized SUVs, this MK2 model, first launched in 2017, was moved a little more up-market to compete with slightly larger and more sophisticated mid-sized models like Volkswagen's Tiguan, Ford's Kuga and the Mazda CX-5. It shares its EMP2 chassis and engineering with the Stellantis Group's other mid-sized SUVs, the Citroen C5 Aircross, the Vauxhall Grandland and the DS 7.
Come to this car without previously knowing much about it and to begin with when first you set off, there's a nagging sensation in your head that something is different. By the time you put your finger on what that is, you might have already decided you rather like it, the change in question being the size and positioning of this tiny steering wheel with its curious flattened top and bottom sections. It comes as part of an 'i-Cockpit' design used not only on this 3008 but on all of Peugeot's smaller models, the concept based around viewing the instrument binnacle above the wheel rather than conventionally through it. That means the wheel can be smaller and positioned closer to the driver, giving a more connected feel that encourages wrist-flick direction changes. And it's still one of the best-riding Crossovers of its kind.
Under the skin, most of the mechanicals are shared with the French maker's 308 family hatch, including the sophisticated EMP2 platform, which means that, as ever, the 3008 is primarily built around a front wheel drive platform. The engine line-up is carried over from other models in the brand's range and all units are mated to EAT8 8-speed auto transmission. There are two straightforward units - the familiar 130hp 1.2-litre PureTech petrol and the 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130hp diesel. But Peugeot would rather you considered its latest Hybrid 136 e-DSC6 powertrain, which mates a 48V mild hybrid electrification with the 1.2-litre petrol unit we mentioned earlier. At the top of the range remain two 1.6-litre Plug-in Hybrid engines, respectively developing either 225hp or 300hp. With these PHEVs, the electrified driving range varies between 34-36 miles.
Of all the engines just mentioned, Peugeot thinks that going forward, the mid-level e-DSC6 self-charging 1.2-litre Hybrid unit should prove particularly popular. With this, the familiar PureTech unit puts out 136hp and is paired with a 28hp electric motor, working via a six-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox - and a 48v battery that charges while driving. With this set-up, when the car is decelerating, the petrol motor shuts off completely, allowing the electric motor to generate energy to recharge the battery. At higher speeds, the combustion engine stops when the driver releases the accelerator pedal at a steady speed and when slowing down. When the engine is under high load, such as during overtaking, the electric motor provides additional torque with a one-off boost that compensates for the turbo's response time. This is intended to avoid the need for downshifts and, Peugeot hopes, should provide more driving comfort and dynamism. When the driver presses the accelerator fully, the electric motor provides an additional 12hp of power.
Design and Build
This second generation 3008 was already a much sleeker-looking thing than its predecessor and the looks have been further sharpened as the production run has progressed. The more recent visual updates include restyled headlights that flank a smart frameless grille, while gloss black side scoops and a painted treadplate are integrated within a sleek bumper design. At just 4,450mm in length, this remains one of the more compact models in its segment, yet very class-competitive interior dimensions have kept the cabin feeling acceptably spacious, as you'll discover when you take a seat behind the wheel.
Here, as usual with Peugeot's i-Cockpit design, you're required to view the instrument binnacle over the rim of the usual small steering wheel, rather than through its spokes, the binnacle in question being of the virtual digital kind, with traditional gauges replaced by a big 12.3-inch screen. A further 10-inch screen on the centre stack comes with seven elegant piano 'toggle switches' providing direct access to main control functions, including the radio, Connected 3D Navigation and vehicle settings. Plusher models incorporate into this display an 'Amplify' option that means you can quickly change things like ambient lighting and music settings - and even add in cabin fragrances and massaging seat intensity. Two adults can be comfortably accommodated in the rear; three would be a bit of a squash.
Luggage space is more generous than the external dimensions might suggest - rated at 520-litres for the conventional models and 395-litres for the Plug-in Hybrids. Fold the second row of seats flat and this results in a total luggage capacity of 1580-litres for the conventional variants, one of the largest and most versatile load capacities in the segment. It's 1,357-litres for the PHEVs. Either way, the folding bench seat has a 2/3 - 1/3 'Magic Flat' capability to optimise loading with a flat floor. The very original adaptable moving boot floor, initiated on the original 3008, has been evolved with two positions to allow the optimisation of boot space and removable side-panels that can be affixed to the side boot trim.
Market and Model
Prices for the mainstream models sit in the £33,000 to £40,000 bracket. The two top Plug-in Hybrid '225' and '300' variant are a slug more - in the £45,000-£50,000 bracket. In other words, Peugeot certainly isn't shy about charging for this car. There are three trim levels - 'Active Premium+', 'Allure Premium+' and 'GT'. You'll need 'GT'-spec for the top 300hp PHEV model, but otherwise all the engines are offered with all the trim levels.
Whichever variant you decide upon, equipment levels are pretty complete. Connectivity is taken care of by facilities like MirrorScreen smartphone linking, induction Smartphone recharging and 3D connected navigation with TomTom traffic reports. TomTom connectivity also delivers information that could be essential to your journey on things like local weather, car-parks and the location of service stations. There's also the Peugeot Connect SOS & Assistance system that'll automatically alert the emergency services in the event of an accident.
As for safety, Peugeot is offering what it calls 'Active Safety Brake and Distance Alert', a system that combines autonomous braking with a lane departure warning system. There's also a Driver Alert Warning function which will warn you if the car notices fatigue in your driving reactions. Other systems include Automatic High Beam Assistance, to automatically switch between high beam and low beam depending on the lighting conditions and oncoming traffic; Speed Sign Detection; Adaptive Cruise Control with a Stop function; an Active Blind Spot Monitoring System; and Park Assist, which allows the vehicle to park itself with minimum input from the driver. There are also useful 'Visiopark' all-round camera view systems if you want them.
Cost of Ownership
Peugeot reckons that the 48V mild hybrid petrol engine technology that most 3008 customers will choose reduces fuel consumption by 15%, with these savings mostly being achieved during urban driving, where the brand claims the car can run on just electric power for up to 50% of the time. Motorway efficiency remains unchanged.
The 3008 models equipped with the 48V Hybrid powertrain have a specific display embedded into the 'i-Cockpit' instrument screen. The digital display shows 100% electric driving (speedometer in blue), the flow of energy in the system, the battery charge level, its operating status via a power meter (Charge, Eco, Power) and the percentage of distance travelled in electric mode at any one time or at the end of the journey. Expect around 50mpg on the combined cycle and under 130g/km of CO2. If you want to do better in a mainstream 3008, you'll need the BlueHDi 130 diesel auto variant, which manages up to 60.8mpg and up to 122g/km of CO2.
For really frugal running cost returns though, you'll need one of the clever Plug-in Hybrid versions. These use an 11.8kWh battery which can be fully charged in under two hours using a standard 7kW Wallbox. Once that's done, an all-electric WLTP-rated driving range of between 34-36 miles is possible. Even better news lies with the low WLTP-rated CO2 readings and combined cycle fuel readings generated by these plug-in models; up to 29g/km and 222.3mpg for the front wheel drive 225hp HYBRID; and up to 28g/km and 235.4mpg for the 4WD HYBRID4 variant.
Servicing on most 3008 models is needed every year or every 12,500 miles and the cost of garage visits should be affordable too, though Peugeot's fixed-price maintenance package (there's a choice of three, four or five-year plans) is a touch more expensive than rival schemes. You won't have to worry about that if you're buying on finance using Peugeot's attractive 'Just Add Fuel' scheme: this wraps up all your monthly costs in one easy payment, so as the name suggests, your only other cost will lie in fuel.
A car like this is a lifestyle choice, which means that it needs to be able to change aspects of your motoring lifestyle; the atmosphere you drive in; the way you can use the cabin instruments; the kind of mobility choices you can make at journey's end. A 3008 makes a difference in all these areas in a way that no other car in this class can.
Of course, it also needs to get the basics right too. As before, this is one of the most spacious and efficient cars in its segment. And there are shades of real premium quality inside. As for the drawbacks, well Peugeot certainly isn't shy in charging for it, the diesel engine can be a little noisy when pushed and other models in the sector still handle better - though few of these ride the bumps as well. In summary, this remains a very sophisticated kind of compact SUV. Crossovers, it seems, have moved on. To find out how far, try driving one of these.