Crossovers - Nissan Qashqai-like family cars that feature an SUV-like twist - offer a more fashionable alternative to a conventional Focus-style family hatchback. But even with a car of this kind, buyers like to assure themselves that solidly practical virtues like safety, build quality, running costs, ease of use and so on are taken care of. Hence the appeal of the model we're looking at here, Peugeot's 3008. Get past the ungainly exterior styling and you'll be treated to a car of rare talent. Here's what to look for when tracking down a used example of the original version produced between 2009 and 2014.
The Peugeot 3008 was first introduced at the 2008 Paris Motor Show and to the British press in Croatia whereupon initial reports were almost universally praiseworthy, but many seemed a little unsure about exactly what they'd been driving. It looks like a conventional mini-MPV but its manufacturers seemed keen to position it as one of the trendy crossover vehicles popularised by the Nissan Qashqai.
When the 3008 went on sale in the UK it sold in steady if not spectacular numbers, buoyed by press reviews and word of mouth from owners. Sized halfway between a 308 hatch and estate car, the 3008 is built on Peugeot's Platform Two chassis, which is the basis for the 308 and the bigger 5008 MPV. One of the more tantalising show cars was a diesel electric hybrid model, dubbed the Hybrid4. This was revealed as a production model in late 2011, with a 2.0-litre diesel engine powering the front wheels and a tiny electric motor powering the rears. It also featured a new grille which reduced the 3008's rictus-like grin a little.
What You Get
The 3008 is certainly an interestingly designed car. The rear tailgate is split like that of the 4007 SUV, so while the top section lifts up like a hatch, the bottom one drops down to form a convenient loading platform that can hold 200kg. Total boot space is a very large 512-litres and this jumps to 1,604 litres when the rear seats are folded down.
The seating is raised up higher than that of a normal hatchback, mimicking one of the traits that's most popular with buyers choosing compact 4x4 vehicles. There's also a large glazed area to assist further with visibility. An optional glass roof like the one found on the 308 SW estate can further increase the amount of light making its way into the cabin. Peugeot is particularly proud of the air-conditioning system on the 3008. It features an air-quality sensor that closes off the inflow of air from outside the car if high levels of pollution are detected, recalculating the air that's already inside.
What to Look For
The 3008 should be a reasonably reliable proposition. There have been a few reports of issues with the automatic handbrake and the rear parking sensors but otherwise it seems a solid purchase. Check for the usual urban scars of kerbed alloys and parking dints and make sure the servicing record is in check and the basic fluids are in range and the tyres aren't unevenly worn as the 3008 is susceptible to front suspension misalignment if it's banged up and down kerbs. The Hybrid4 is a more specialist vehicle and you'll need a test drive to ensure that it can default to electric vehicle mode cleanly and readily. Although it does have four-wheel drive, you'll want to check the previous keeper hasn't thought they'd bought an off-roader.
(approx based on a 3008 1.6 THP Sport) Consumables for the 3008 are reasonably priced. An air filter is around £15 with an oil filter retailing at approximately £20. Spark plugs are £10 each with a timing belt weighing in at the £40 mark.
On the Road
Peugeot put the best of its engine range from the 2009 to 2014 period to work in the 3008. That means 2.0-litre and 1.6-litre HDi diesels plus 1.6-litre VTi and THP petrols. If we take the diesel options first, there's a 112bhp Euro5 1.6-litre unit at the base of the range that's available with the standard six-speed manual gearbox or Peugeot's clever electronically-controlled clutchless system. Next come the 2.0-litre options packing 150bhp and 163bhp. The more powerful of these comes with a conventional six-speed automatic. Petrol buyers can take either the 120bhp 1.6-litre VTi engine and its five-speed manual transmission or step on to the turbocharged 1.6-litre THP which develops 150bhp.
The 3008's suspension set-up is independent MacPherson struts with an anti-roll bar at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. It's the sort of arrangement still found in the majority of family hatchbacks. There's no four-wheel-drive option with the standard 3008. Instead, Peugeot claims to have boosted the car's 'outdoor' abilities by including a special Grip Control traction control system. It has five operating modes, each designed to optimise traction on a particular surface. The more powerful engine options also include the Dynamic Roll Control system which is designed to counteract the body roll that higher riding vehicles can experience when cornered with feeling. Variable electro-hydraulic power steering is also included as standard as is ESP stability control with a built-in hill assist function.
If you want all-wheel drive you'll need to stump up for the 3008 Hybrid4. This is a very impressive piece of engineering with a diesel engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor powering the rears. The result is a car that can deliver 74.4mpg with exhaust emissions of 99g/km. It can be be powered emissions-free in town, or via the diesel engine on a fuel-conserving long run. When conditions are slippery or when in Sports mode, power goes to all four wheels for a total output of 200bhp with the diesel engine and the electric motor working at the same time to give maximum acceleration when needed, for instance when overtaking.
The Peugeot 3008 works extremely well. The longer you spend with the car, the more you'll respect its qualities. The problem is putting bums on seats in the first place, as the styling certainly divides opinions and has less SUV cues about it than Peugeot perhaps realises. As a used buy it makes a good deal of sense, because residual values are a little soft, especially in the face of discounting from new, so you should be able to turn up a bargain. A well looked after car that hasn't been ravaged by prolonged kids-just-wanna-have-fun exposure should make a very smart purchase.