Replacing its oddball predecessor, the all-new Peugeot 3008 challenges the SUV segment hard with unconventional styling and a premium touch.

WITHOUT SACRIFICING SUBSTANCE

STYLE

he original 3008 was Peugeot’s first attempt to capitalize on the growing acceptance of SUVs as the market’s default choice of car. It was marketed as an SUV, though the claim was a tenuous one at best.

Where the mechanical bits are concerned, the 3008 was little more than a taller 308 hatchback tacked with grey exterior plastics – with just 150 mm separating its undercarriage from the road, the original 3008 had no higher ground clearance than a regular passenger car.

Then there was the styling which was, well, unconventional if we are to be kind, bulbous if we are to be truthful, and weird if we are to be brutal.

Still, due credit to Peugeot, the original 3008 had the virtue of being distinctive on the road, and we respect it when car companies have the courage to things differently from time to time.

Mixed reception not withstanding, the market for SUVs and crossovers is a growing one, and Peugeot inevitably has to continue its efforts in the segment, leading us to the all-new second-generation 3008.

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Lessons from the first-gen noted and learned, Peugeot finetuned its work on the replacement with a clean-slate approach. The new car’s bodyshape is one which we more readily recognize as a conventional SUV, but the details viewed up close that provide differentiation against its rivals.

On the body, every single design touch gives you the impression that the designers had shaped and sculpted the car’s appearance to meticulous detail, and that the car is built on a much higher cost base than many would expect in the segment. The abundance of minor yet premium styling details show Peugeot’s resolve in upping the presentation quality of the new model.

Look no further than how the headlights meet the front bumper, from which a notch cuts into the headlight for no apparent reason other than to look nice. We applaud the dramatic visual effect, but complexity it adds to the manufacturing process is thankless, and we appreciate Peugeot for not sparing that penny.

The rear end is a less dramatic surface, but its appearance no less up market. The black finish spanning the entire width of the tailgate just below the rear windscreen adds visual width and mass to the car, whilst emphasizing the three-claw LED tail lights for added dramatic effect.

The daring design themes are further expanded upon inside where Peugeot simply let loose the full extent of their creativity in sculpting the 3008’s dashboard. In Bobby’s words, if a film producer is looking for a vehicle to film a movie set in 2050, they can't‍‍‍ do better than choosing the 3008.

Embracing an ethos of futuristic minimalism, the 3008’s cabin is lined with a tasteful mix of materials featuring a combination of piano black and metallic finishes along the centre console. The fabric-like dash inserts spanning across the cabin and spilling into the door cards, too, is quite a work of art and unlike anything else you could find in the market.

So far so good, the Peugeot 3008 strikes a good first impression, but that initial promise swiftly comes back down to earth on the road. The venerable 1.6-litre Prince engine has its charms, but with eight Engine of the Year awards under its belt, it is just as good as it is also entering its sunset years – with 167PS and 240Nm on tap, it is hardly slowed by age, mind.

The engine is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission exclusively driving the front-wheels – there are no all-wheel drive variants anywhere in the world. A Sport button is provided to bring out a more aggressive behaviour in the car, which you might call upon more often than you would anticipate, as the default mode dulls the throttle with noticeable lag.

You may be surprised that in its focus to pursue design flair, Peugeot did not fully neglect the utility aspect of the 3008. Sure, it’s no Honda CR-V in terms of outright space and ease of use, but small item storage solutions are not half bad.‍‍‍

Somehow, amidst the seamlessly futuristic elements, the designers were able to carve out decently sized and partitioned cubby holes and cupholders along the centre console whilst maintaining commendable aesthetic value. For bigger items to stowaway, the lidded centre console box is knee-deep in height.

words by KON | photography by BOBBY & BENG

KEEGAN
"Will you give this new kid on the block a shot? If you don’t, you’re definitely missing out a lot."

BENG
"From my standpoint, the Peugeot 3008 SUV is a user friendly car with beautifully-designed interior and exterior."

Also read (Our past reviews of the Peugeot 3008)

Switchgear too demonstrate an abundance of quality in both their look and feel. The row of toggle switches that serve as shortcut buttons for the freestanding touchscreen complement the dashboard’s futuristic appearance, as does the ‘gun grip’ electronic shifter.

The virtual instrument cluster and freestanding touchscreen are relatively rudimentary with regards to their function, though Peugeot nevertheless took the trouble to put high resolution displays on both complete with quality animations. The functions are basic, but the presentation is pleasingly slick.

Where there is good reason to pick the 3008, however, is if you’re looking for a car that defies convention in its appearance; the result of a car maker going bonkers with its design, pushing its abilities to its limits, as opposed to throttling its outputs to make what’s merely enough.
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The 3008 is not remarkable to drive, but it’s a handsome car to behold and suited up to look not out of place next to vehicles twice its price. What’s more, beneath its explosive design audacity hides a few surprising practical touches. If you’re looking for a vehicle with standout styling but mainstream pricing, this is it.

Peugeot did try to dial back some measure of sportiness into the 3008’s chassis, most notably by sharpening the steering with a quicker rack, a trait made more acute by the wheel’s exceptionally small diameter. The brakes bite hard too, but modula‍‍‍tion lacks finesse, making a smooth stop tricky for drivers coming onboard the first time.

Overall handling of the car is competent, but the same can be said of many of its closest competitors. Not many buyers in this segment shop with handling dynamics as a top priority, but those few who do have no active reason to pick the 3008 over the Mazda CX-5 or the VW Tiguan, even less so the Honda CR-V. Of greater concern, perhaps, is the aspect of ride comfort, in which the 3008 scores decent marks.