★★★★  | Peugeot 3008 GT

It’s a bit of a standing joke between a motoring journalist friend of mine and me about how I can wax lyrical about Peugeot products awarding them 5 stars when others don’t. And in truth I do but that makes me more critical because having been brought up with French cars for my first 20 years of motoring I want them to succeed and indeed they can if they only made them better in terms of quality.

That, I am glad to say is now the case. The 3008 (the first Peugeot to carry over an existing number so don’t confuse it with that one) SUV is what I have been dreaming of from the company in Sochaux-Montbeliard, France.

I have been excited about visuals shown on the new interior and the design of the cabin. If you are for want of a better word, going to reinvent the wheel, you’d best make sure it’s damn good and the 6 piano buttons that control the 8” infotainment screen work with German fluidity. You then look around the i-cockpit as they call it of this 3008 and you realise that this Peugeot has the potential to challenge VW head on in the quality feel arena for the first time. A car needs to have a tactile feel to remove any deadness about the cabin and certainly from the driver’s seat, the 3008 has it in spades.

The window switches felt far superior in feel than they looked being not too dissimilar to the generic buttons found across the fleet. The dashboard really is like a massive chunk of contoured rubber and because of this has that tactility that makes it all the more inviting and the solid feel of quality. The design contours flow around the driver with little touches here and there that made it the most inviting Peugeot I have ever been in. The blueish wood grain effect door inserts added to the quality feel of a very upmarket Peugeot.

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And the wax lyrical praise doesn’t stop there. The ambience could then come with changes to the fascia panel in front of the driver and above the small steering wheel. Peugeot says this positioned closer to the road and more in the field of the driver’s vision making it safer for eye glances to be made. It feels very natural.

The GT model also came with ambience choices within the set up allowing for lights within the dashboard and doors to be dimmed thus allowing you to make a cockpit to suit you. And then I found the massage seats. I could have stayed in it forever. What didn’t work for me was the two choices of amplifying settings available called “boost” and “relax”. While relaxing you could think of as basic settings, boost on the other hand changed throttle response, steering feel and pumps out engine noises through the speakers. To me, it didn’t change it enough for me to really notice other than when flooring it on the M20 and the change in exhaust note from nothing to a nice growl.

The 3008 GT as tested is the flagship model and apart from the £1300 coupe Franche paintwork you really can’t fault it. Or so I thought. The Franche paint job is a blight on to the otherwise stylized body with an ungainly angled painted block of black colour up the rear door and over the boot. It’s nicely done and the paint edge is smoothed into the rest of the paintwork but your options money would be wisely spent elsewhere. Like the advance grip control unit and Visio 360 degree camera and park assist pack. Added together they come to £710. Two well worth options in my opinion.

What I really can’t forgive the 3008 GT is its engine. More to the point, the choice of engine units available. There is only one. A diesel. It’s actually a very nice 2-litre diesel engine to use. It makes all its power of 180hp within a useable 3750rpm range and 400Nm of torque at a lowly 2000rpm. That big shove of torque power comes with limited turbo lag enabling rapid acceleration from T junctions a breeze. It runs through a 6-speed automatic gearbox that you couldn’t fault its gear selections though using the paddles and doing it yourself made it quite spirited. If it’s going to wear the GT badge, it best behaves like one even if it is an SUV. It did and l enjoyed the many miles I travelled in it.

The ride and handling helped this sense of GT spirit. It wasn’t too harsh or too soft and it wasn’t Germanic. After years of wanting Peugeot to return to form and make their own suspension settings instead of copying the market leaders, they have created a suspension system that is compliant for almost every eventuality one could wish for in a drive across Kent. That eventuality was aided by a fantastic sat nav that l have to thank greatly for aiding me in avoiding 3 nasty hold-ups between South London and Folkstone. Tomtom and Peugeot have made a very useable system that doesn’t make you curse at it. It alerts you to any given problem and can navigate you around it.

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I’ve a lot of love for the 3008 and I am not the only one. This Peugeot has won many industry awards in 2017. It’s an easy car to live with and it’s a Peugeot built to last. Press cars are not treated with kid gloves so this one having a tow bar and over 10,000 miles on the clock when l got it still felt solid.

What I can’t get out of my head is that the GT is only available with that diesel engine. In a time when the UK is uncertain which way to go regarding the derv engine, I am puzzled as to why they only give it this one option on the flagship model. As Peugeot quote in the brochure, the GT ”will leave you wanting for nothing” and it does except I want a petrol engine.

Likes
Cockpit
Driving ability
Kit as standard on the GT

Loathes
Very limited engine options
Switches below the piano keys look out of place
Auto close boot resistance very strong

The Lowdown
Car Peugeot 3008 GT
Price £33,695 (as tested)
MPG 58.9mpg (combined)
Power 180bhp
0-62mph 8.9 seconds
Top speed 131mph
Co2 124 (g/km)