Where the Nissan Qashqai led, plenty of others have followed. Volkswagen’s Tiguan, Renault’s Koleos, Ford’s Kuga – and now Peugeot, with it’s forthcoming 3008. Nissan’s product planners were first to spot a vacant niche in the market and invent the crossover – hideous corporate jargon for a cross between a roomy family hatchback and an SUV, but it proved to be a canny move. The Qashqai has been a winner for the Japanese company and has since spawned a new genre of copycat cars. The 3008 is the latest example of the growing breed of so-called crossovers. It resembles a 308 hatchback that has been stretched upwards thanks to the shared chassis, but with a taller, hunkier body. The result is a car that is far roomier than a 308, but without some of the finer proportions and visual character. Looks are not the 3008’s strongest point as the exterior is a little chunky and anonymous. Inside is really where it shines, though. There’s oodles of space and the dash exudes the kind of style and quality of much more expensive models thanks to the top-notch materials.
Back seat comfort is noticeably better than it is in some rivals. Knee-room is generous, headroom impressive, and the seats are well contoured. From the driving seat, front visibility is excellent, but the thick, heavy C pillars obstruct the view at the rear, so it needs care when reversing. It drives like a typical Peugeot, too. Grippy handling, precise steering and a calm, compliant ride make up the excellent package. The 1.6-litre engine is no ball of fire, as the extra weight of that hefty body puts more pressure on the engine. It’s still refined and relaxing though, and, despite its size, makes for a pleasant, subtle cruiser. The tailgate opens in two parts, first the upper section hinges skywards, then the lower portion drops down to become a useful loading platform. Rear seats fold flat in an easy action, and so does the front passenger seat, allowing you to carry awkward, lengthy loads – so it’s seriously handy for those trips to Ikea or B&Q.
Peugeot describes the 3008’s interior as ‘multiflex’ – which is a well deserved name as the load space is incredibly adaptable. There are also lots of thoughtful details, like the boot light that doubles as a portable torch, three 12v connectors, a second glove box below the steering wheel, as well as a padded sunglasses holder in the roof lining. Posh versions get a head-up display, too. Unlike the majority of it’s rivals, the jacked-up Pug will initially be available with front-wheeldrive only. However, the French firm has plans for a fully-fledged four-wheel-drive hybridpowered version which we can expect to see in UK showrooms sometime in 2011.
RIVALS: FORD KUGA, NISSAN QASHQAI, RENAULT KOLEOS, VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN
- Engine: 1560cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed EGC
- Max Power: 110bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 192lb ft at 1,750rpm
- Max Towing Weight: tba
- Combined Consumption: 57.6mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 130g/km (D)
- 0-62mph: 12.2secs
- Max speed: 112mph
- Insurance Group: tba