Originally launched a shade over a decade ago as a replacement for the 4007/8, the Peugeot 3008 almost instantly gave the French automobile producer a VIP entry to the very popular compact SUV segment. Two generations later the 3008 has been facelifted, and Peugeot New Zealand let us test a couple of models (3008 and Hybrid4) back to back.
The 3008’s journey may be brief in car years but it’s already been eventful. Not content with just being ‘part of the segment’, in 2012 Peugeot made the bold move of releasing the 3008 Hybrid4, it was the world’s first mass production diesel/electric hybrid and boy did it cause a scene. Heralded as ‘a new chapter in motoring history’ it combined a fuel-efficient HDi diesel engine and a 37hp electric motor and the result was under 4L/km efficiencies and 99g/km emissions – oh and it took out ‘Best Eco Car’ awards.
The 2021 3008 may essentially be a facelift of generation two, but rest assured it’s been no minor procedure.
Up front, the new 3008 boasts a new frameless front grille and thin slats that extend out to the headlights, while gloss black air intakes and a new bumper frame the nose. The headlights, ‘fang-like’ daytime running lights and indicators all use advanced LED technology with a static corner light function to help you see around the bends and ‘fog mode’ that, well, helps you see in the fog!
The 3008’s profile features 19-inch San Francisco (not sure why these are not called ‘Parisian’ or ‘Cote D’Azur’) diamond-cut aluminium alloy wheels, ample lower protection and a chrome front wing insert that runs from the headlights all the way up to the rear spoiler. And to top things off, the rear itself offers full LED lights that have a ‘3D lion claw’ lighting signature and scrolling indicators.
If you think the exterior has been improved, just wait until you slip inside.
The new 3008 boasts Peugeot’s next generation digital ‘i-Cockpit’ tech with a 12.3-inch digital head-up instrument panel and a 10-inch colour touchscreen with the latter also having seven piano-style ‘toggle switches’ below for direct access to its main control functions (the Hybrid4 also has a specific EV button – but I’ll get to that later).
The tech on offer in the 3008 is ultra modern with the likes of road sign detection, lane keep assist (with roadside detection so not just ‘white line’ reliance), blind spot detection, active cruise control… the list goes on and on. It’s got Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Screen for those who need to stay connected and for those that love their music loud and undistorted, it (premium models) comes with a 515 Watt FOCAL HiFi system.
First cab off the rank for me was the 3008 GT. Dressed in Celebes (a mountainous island in eastern Indonesia) blue – again, why not the Mediterranean? – my 3008 GT came with a 1.6-litre PureTech 180hp married to an EAT8 8 speed auto, it’s a nippy powertrain configuration that’s low emission too 142g/km CO2 (WLTP).
Around town this small and stylish SUV seems to be in its element. There’s plenty of visibility and maneuverability is great. Of course it has its French quirks but many of these are actually in its favour. The small steering wheel for example, sure it’s the size of my palm but that just means I could easily see the instrument cluster beyond and the turning circle took fewer rotations. I’m not a fan of the cruise control function being hidden on a stalk but that’s just me, and there is a slight infotainment delay but this in no way hindered my enjoyment of this SUV.
Ride height is good, not too tall or too short and its 4.47m length is very shopping mall friendly. The GT trim adds a lot in terms of options and wants, with (in my case) a lighter wooden style insert to break up the predominantly black interior.
The EAT8 8-speed automatic gearbox offers up smooth gear changes and never seems to leave you floundering in-between gears and overall, the handling when out of the ‘burbs is both confident and comfortable, I will add though that this is not a sportscar, however, if you’re looking for a little more spring in your tail, let me tell you about the GT Hybrid4.
Yes you heard me correctly, the GT Hybrid4 offers more zing AND more economy – how can that be I hear you ask, well I’m glad you did.
The 3008 Hybrid4 PHEV comes with not one but three motors, a 1.6L Puretech petrol engine plus an electric motor on both axles. The result is 220kW of power and 520Nm of torque. 0-100km’h comes in at 5.9seconds and it has an EV only range of 59 km, so fuel-efficiency is just 1.2L/100km and emissions are just 28g/km!
It’s a PHEV so a plug-in hybrid and therefore has two ‘fuel’ flaps. Charging the 13.2kWh battery takes around seven hours using the wall socket or half that time using a home wall box, plus you can also get the ICE engine to charge the battery, configurable through the extra ‘piano key’ button I spoke of earlier.
To the far left of the row of buttons under the Infotainment screen lies the EV button. This allows you to see and control the Hybrid4’s power distribution. Scrolling through it shows you power flow, economy statistics, you can set the charge timing to ensure you use ‘off-peak’ power rates to charge the SUV and finally an energy save screen that allows you to set the battery level that you want the 3008 Hybrid4 to remain at, 10Km, 20km or fully charged. Range anxiety be gone.
The instrument cluster in the Hybrid4 is different too, with the inclusion of battery levels, power/charge and energy flow gauges – it’s all very geeky and enjoyable. More enjoyable however is the drive.
The Hybrid4 comes with 4WD (which you can enable in the drive mode setting) and as such feels far more confident out in the countryside. Having that additional battery weight down low means that the SUV has a lower centre of gravity and having three motors means that it also lays its power to the tarmac quicker too – that sub 6s off the line sprint seems even quicker when you’re behind that small wheel.
Having spent more or less a week of testing with each model I can tell you now, go for the Hybrid4 model. Both are good and both have been improved ten-fold but simply put, the 3008 GT Hybrid4 is great. It’s quick and smart, frugal with fuel and superior with emissions, need I say anymore?