Peugeot 3008 1.6 Exclusive Ulverston

Search Peugeot’s history books for successful compact MPVs or off-road vehicles, and you’ll come up short. However, the firm’s new 3008 is aiming to change all that. By mixing chunky SUV styling with people carrier practicality, the crossover aims to blend fashion and flexibility.

Mercedes Benz South Lakes
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Peugeot 3008 1.6 Exclusive

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Search Peugeot’s history books for successful compact MPVs or off-road vehicles, and you’ll come up short. However, the firm’s new 3008 is aiming to change all that. By mixing chunky SUV styling with people carrier practicality, the crossover aims to blend fashion and flexibility.

The newcomer certainly has presence. Bulging wheelarches, scalloped body panels and clever detailing provide an aggressive shape. But you’d hardly call the 3008 pretty. The gaping grille and long overhangs make it look a little ungainly, while those large wheelarches dwarf the 16-inch wheels of our car.

The designers have been much more successful inside. The most striking feature is the sweeping dashboard, which resembles that of Audi’s R8 supercar. Cowled dials, a high-set centre console, a head-up display and a bank of toggle-style switches make you feel as if you’re at the wheel of something special. As with the Renault, it offers a car-like seating position, too.

Our range-topping Exclusive test model had a panoramic glass roof and light grey leather trim, which helped give the cabin a light and airy feel. This is especially welcome in the back, where legroom is only adequate. Plus, there’s nothing clever about the rear bench – it just folds flat to accommodate large loads. The boot is a useful size, though, and it features a neat adjustable floor that allows you to hide items of varying sizes out of sight.

Our left-hand-drive French-registered example was available only with the firm’s punchy 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine. But when UK sales start in November, buyers will also be able to choose from the same 108bhp 1.6-litre oil-burner as found in the C4 Picasso, plus a torquey 148bhp 2.0-litre unit. On the move, the 3008 displays great composure, and offers the best ride and handling balance here. Supple suspension combines with good body control and strong grip to inspire confidence.

The Peugeot’s SUV cues don’t extend to a four-wheel drive system, but our car came with the firm’s £300 Grip Control option. This allows drivers to manually adjust the electronic traction control, using a dial on the transmission tunnel, to improve grip in extremely slippery conditions.

The £19,195 Peugeot is the priciest car here. However, it comes overflowing with standard equipment, including a head-up display for the driver, a full-length glass roof and dual-zone climate control. The flipside to this is that, for the money, the cabin doesn’t match rivals’ versatility.

Do the 3008’s rugged looks and limited off-road ability help to offset this?

Peugeot 3008 1.6 Exclusive