Compact SUVs have changed a lot in the past decade. They have gone from boxy, practical and plasticky, to feeling more car-like to drive, all the while boasting sleek and modern exteriors as well as high-quality interiors.
Peugeot’s 3008 crossover is an excellent rendition of what you should expect from this type of vehicle these days. It has a very good cabin, from just about every standpoint, a punchy powertrain, if you aim your budget right, and interesting styling.
Now, if you’re on the fence about whether you should spend your hard earned money on one, let us break it down for you in a way that will hopefully aid your decision-making process.
She’s got the looks
It’s safe to say that there’s a real shortage of drop dead gorgeous material in the non-premium compact SUV segment. Many of these cars can look good, sure, but I get the sense that people don’t really tend to write home about how much they love looking at their Nissan Qashqai.
Of course, my opinion on the 3008’s appearance is by no means an original one, as we have shared with you multiple reviews in which other journos were really impressed with this Peugeot’s looks.
The 3008 doesn’t just look modern, it’s also quite stylish, and if you can swing for the flagship GT spec, you’re going to be really happy with what you get; dual tone exterior, 19-inch Boston wheels (18-inches here), and a great deal more.
The French connection
The 3008, like its larger sibling the 5008 and the all-new 508, features Peugeot’s multi-level cockpit design. Sure, it’s been around for a while (you can find it on the 208 and the 308, too), but the 3008 kicks quality up a notch to near premium levels, especially in the GT version.
First things first, though. You might be interested to know if the 3008 is good at being spacious, practical and easy to operate – to which I’d say yes, yep and most definitely. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a really big guy (or gal), you’re not going to love it in the backseat, although I didn’t mind knee room and headroom all that much, at 1.80 m tall (5’11”). Also, it might take you a while to get used to the ergonomics, but once you do, it should be smooth sailing from then on. Personally, though, I never really found my ideal position behind the steering wheel, so that it wouldn’t impede my view of the gauge display, but that won’t necessarily be the case for everybody.
As for the quality, there’s really nothing to fault, aside from the cruise control lever which basically features the same outdated design Peugeot have been using since the days of the 307. This thing just has to go.
On a more positive note, this car has a very small steering wheel with a flat top and bottom, as well as a missing lower spoke, which makes it incredibly comfortable. You can pretty much rest your hands on it any way you’d like, which proves helpful at longer journeys. Then there’s the gearshift lever, which is the perfect shape for a joystick-like control. If said lever is vertical and requires you to push and pull back on it (like say on a BMW), your wrist is a lot more tense than if you just grab the lever at an angle, as you would a manual handbrake. It just feels more comfortable.
When it comes to luggage, at 520 liters (18.3 cu.ft), the 3008’s boot is more spacious that that of rivals such as the Seat Ateca or Nissan Qashqai. In fact, the latter only has 430 liters (15.1 cu.ft) of volume.
The i-Cockpit is a gadget-friendly zone
When it comes to on-board tech, the 3008 is as good a choice as any other crossover in its segment. The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 8-inch touchscreen combo is a solid one, and while the graphics may not be industry-leading, they’re still well above the segment average. Using Apple CarPlay was great and the infotainment system performed flawlessly, as did the (optional) Visiopark 2 reversing camera.
Other options on this GT-spec model included the Rouge Ultimate paintjob, FOCAL premium sound system, hands-free tailgate opening, panoramic glass roof, grip control, hill descent control, 18-inch Los Angeles wheels, 8-way adjustable driver’s seat with massage and memory functions, wireless charging and adaptive cruise control with stop function. In total, there were €5,961’s ($6,900) worth of optional extras on this car.
Among its most noteworthy standard features, there were the automatic full-LED headlights with high-beam assist, keyless start and plenty more. Oh, and the side mirrors project a Peugeot logo onto the ground at night. A gimmick, yes, but a nice touch at the same time.
Relaxing on the open road, but far from engaging
You probably wouldn’t expect the 3008 to be particularly engaging to drive, and it’s not. I would never call it sporty, even though the steering feel does improve once you engage ‘Sport’ mode, and overall stability is never an issue.
Going around a corner in the 3008 is on par with most of its mainstream rivals, but it doesn’t feel as good as let’s say a Seat Ateca. What really stood out is how well the suspension soaks up bumps, potholes and just about any imperfection on the road.
It’s so smooth, it actually reminded me of past Citroens equipped with Hydractive suspensions. The 3008 just glides around most of the time, making it extremely relaxing to drive, both in the city as well as on the motorway. The more I drove it, the more I realized why this crossover was awarded the title of European Car of the Year in 2017.
Speaking of motorway speeds, that’s where the 2.0-liter BlueHDi diesel comes to life. It’s very punchy for a 180 PS (178 HP) engine, and the 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque definitely help. In a straight line, it can hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.9 seconds, although it’s the mid-range pull that impresses most.
The price is right
This test drive took place in Romania, where this exact car is priced at €38,251 ($44,346), including the aforementioned extras. UK buyers, on the other hand, can grab a 3008 GT from £35,750 ($46,308), but that’s without any options – which is fine, since this is the flagship spec.
As for those living in the U.S., despite Trump’s tariff threats, the PSA group is looking to make a comeback across the pond and the Peugeot 3008 could very well end up being one of their most popular offerings. If they eventually return, that is.
So, should I go only for the GT trim?
Probably not. The GT Line or the Allure should satisfy most buyers. You’d better, however, steer clear of the entry-level Active spec, as it’s missing some key elements such as parking sensors or a reversing camera.
Like we said before, the 3008 didn’t win European Car of the Year for no good reason, and if I was in the market for a crossover at this price point, I would either get the Peugeot or the slightly larger Mazda CX-5. In the end, though, I’d probably go for the 3008 purely because of its on-board tech and flashy exterior design.