I’m not someone who pays a huge amount of attention to awards ceremonies. Sure, it’s good to be recognised for important achievements, but in many industries, it’s more of a subjective appraisal than empirical assessment. Which is ironic considering I’m the keeper of Peugeot’s new 3008 ñ 2017 European Car of the Year. Furthermore, the rear window sticker proclaiming Peugeotís success is a constant reminder when viewed through the rear-view mirror. Someone, somewhere is teasing me. Youíll also have no doubt read in last monthís issue that the new 3008 came in at pole position in our very own awards, the DieselCar Top 50, too.
And my initial impressions are good. The 3008ís purposeful and chiselled appearance contrasts favourably with the original car’s soft, rounded exterior. This is a crossover for those seeking to make a stylish statement. The same bold design language is present in the cabin, with front seat occupants treated to swathes of sculptured surfaces. Also bold is Peugeot’s approach to controls ñ the button-count borders on the minimalistic. Run of the mill this car is not. It does, though, form part of the company’s gradual re-emergence as a maker of engaging automobiles. To look at and to drive, modern Peugeots once again rank as some of the best out there. Car of the Year status was also bestowed upon the 308 hatch, so Peugeot is clearly doing something right.
And I won’t be slumming it, despite my 3008 being the modest Allure specification. One up from base Active and below GT Line and flagship GT models, I’m tempted to rename it ‘Goldilocks’ as it appears to be ‘just right’ in terms of kit. Granted, I’m missing keyless ignition, a powered tailgate, full LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, leather seats and a panoramic sunroof, however, I still have electric windows and mirrors, parking sensors and camera, a split/fold rear seat, camera-based speed limit detection, rear privacy glass, cruise control, fully digital instruments, a navigation system and can use my phone for the full Android Auto or Apple CarPlay experience. Exploring just the infotainment system should keep me occupied for hours.
It’s not all boggo 3008 Allure, though. Mine does include the rather fetching Black Diamond roof option (£280) to complement the stylish Cumulus Grey metallic paint (£525). And, just in time for, er, summer, I can play with Peugeot’s Grip Control (£470) for when conditions underfoot turn nasty. Okay, so that’s unlikely, but I’m not adverse to tackling the odd muddy track and the fancy tech also includes genuine mud and snow tyres. The icing on the cake is the powertrain. Instead of the big, high power 2.0-litre lump, I get to play with Peugeot’s sweeter-sounding 118bhp 1.6-litre unit. Connected to a six-speed manual gearbox, this DIY setup might seem at odds with all the fancy toys, but I’m keen to see if less really can mean more in terms of enjoyment, refinement and, crucially, real world economy.
So far, the 3008 has revealed itself to be an intriguing character. Peugeot’s generosity in the kit department means I’ll be poking and prodding for a while. My inner nerd is already pleased with the inclusion of Apple CarPlay, although that does mean the built-in navigation function is at risk of being ignored. An initial play with the car’s customisable main display prompts memories of ‘my’ old Jaguar XF and the 3008’s execution is equally slick.
And yes, the modest engine option appears to be anything but despite the car’s lack of miles. It’s pretty quiet, yet offers ample thrust around town and is happy to bowl along the motorway without much bother or consuming much fuel. I’m still not sure about Peugeot’s trademark small steering wheel, although I can’t complain about the levels of accuracy. Like the car, such things will need a few more miles before a proper opinion can be formed. On the strength of this early assessment maybe there is some merit to this awards lark after all.
Date arrived 4th May 2017
Fuel economy urban/extra urban/combined 57.6/72.4/65.7mpg On test 48.7mpg
The reversing camera offers a great view and is, crucially, proving easy to trust early in the ownership experience.
I’m not yet convinced by the small steering wheel, but hoping time will improve matters.