Time really is a great healer. I may have mentioned previously that I was sceptical about Peugeotís trademark small diameter steering wheel. It turns out I had no reason to worry. In fact, a chance encounter with a man from Peugeot had allayed my fears; he suggested giving it a little time, as the negative comments in the press were often the product of minimal seat time.
Well, a few hundred miles later and Iím happy to say heís right. The 3008ís wheel still wouldnít look out of place on a fairground dodgem car, but its variable rate assistance and pleasing heft around the straight ahead counter any unreasonable criticism. Also, and this is no happy coincidence, with a wheel this small you can easily see over it to scan the main instruments ñ Iíve lost count over the years when a conventional wheel obscured the most important bits.
More time behind the wheel has also led to a greater appreciation of the 3008ís cabin. The sweeping lines, minimalist approach to buttons and switches, general fit and finish, plus the easy to read touchscreen all make it both an interesting and pleasing place to spend time in. But having to access even the most basic of ventilation functions through the touchscreen occasionally spoils the experience. Even disabling the carís stop-start function is buried in the menus. At least you have a row of shiny buttons acting as shortcuts to the likes of the main audio, climate and phone functions.
I guess this is the trade-off for the cabinís minimalistic appearance. Fascias festooned with buttons look cluttered to my eyes, so Iím happy to live with the compromises so long as I can set the 3008ís climate in a ëfire and forgetí manner. For audio, Iím always switching between DAB radio and whatís on my phone via Apple CarPlay, which is rarely a chore. But what you gain when using Apple Maps with CarPlay ñ and I guess with Android Autoís Google Maps ñ you lose by sacrificing access to the 3008ís convenient navigation mode as part of the carís customisable ëvirtual cockpití display.
Sure, this is full-on first world problem territory, but it also highlights how mobile phone technology and convenience factors can rob a car of its personality. I can now connect my phone to a Skoda, Porsche, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Vauxhall and receive the same, familiar infotainment experience. Thank goodness the 3008 remains a distinctive sight in the supermarket car park.
With all the toys at my disposal, itís easy to relegate the driving experience to second place, which would be a shame as itís rather good. My previous ëGoldilocksí reference to the 1.6-litre engine and manual gearbox combination remains true; itís a willing yet refined motor, and the slick-shifting manual transmission is a pleasant surprise. A recent motorway run saw 60mpg and country roads are fun, too. Writing this in 34 degree heat, Iíll have to leave Grip Control-assisted adventures for another day, though.
Date arrived 4th May 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 52.5mpg (on test)
I’m starting to put more trust in the 3008’s parking camera – the bird’s eye view is particularly impressive.
I’ve been spoilt, but I think that keyless entry and start on all trim levels would help boost the otherwise premium experience.