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Driven: Peugeot 3008 1.6T GT

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Many years ago, Peugeot was admired as a trailblazer in producing not only tough and dependable cars (think the 404) but great performance cars, too. The 205 GTi, for example, is widely considered to be one of the most exciting hot hatches ever built, with the little front-wheel drive icon racking up many awards as a Group B rally car. 

Very impressive, but Peugeot seemingly lost its way in the early 2000s. Cars like the 1007, 307 CC and 407 were neither exciting to drive or terribly reliable. But a couple of years ago, Peugeot decided to turn things around and have been producing some incredible cars.

In the past five years, the incredible 5008 impressed with its comfort and space. The 2008 with its style and practicality and the smaller 208 and 108 hatchbacks with their value for money appeal and charming good looks. The most popular, the 3008, has recently received a facelift.

DRIVING

Sharing its 1.6-litre turbopetrol with other Stellantis brand cars (think Citroen and Opel), the facelifted 3008 is powered by a 121 kW/240 Nm four-pot engine that sends its power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic. All three trim levels (Active, Allure and GT) utilise this engine.

Despite the relatively compact powertrain, the 3008 GT travels rather quickly for an SUV weighing over 1.5 tons. Peugeot claims a 0-100 km/h time of just 8.9 seconds. It’s not shattering performance, but it's more than enough to keep up with everyday traffic. Impressively, the maximum amount of torque is delivered at low revs; with all 240 Nm available from 1400 r/min. This makes it great for driving in town.

INTERIOR

It’s rather lovely when you put your foot down. But even so, the 3008 isn’t a performance SUV. No, it focuses on offering superb levels of refinement and luxury. The seats, for example, are wrapped in the finest nappa leather. What’s more, they’re heated and, for the driver, electrically adjustable (with a massage function). Despite being a mid-sized SUV, the 3008 offers up impressive amounts of knee and headroom in the rear. Measuring 591 litres, the boot is impressively sized and extends to a capacious 1 670 litres with the rear bench folded flat.

In a nutshell, the 3008 interior is a very elegant and upmarket place to while away the miles. Unlike many of its competitors. The 3008 has a contemporary, very upmarket feel - while still remaining minimalistic. While there are still a few physical buttons, most of the controls have been relegated to the touchscreen infotainment system. It houses most of the functions, including the climate control and satellite navigation. Clutter-free the stylish cabin may be, it takes some time to get used to the digital controls. Adjusting the temperature in the climate control system is more complicated than it is in a Koleos or RAV4.

Despite that. The interior feels beautifully built, with myriad soft-touch materials and leather. The buttons are nicely damped and feel expensively crafted, with a lovely wood trim working nicely with the nappa leather trim.

REFINEMENT AND HANDLING

Perhaps the ultimate treat (aside from the upmarket cabin) is in the way the 3008 floats down the road. Like a far more expensive car, the 3008 has exceptional road manners. It rides superbly, even with chunky 19-inch alloy wheels. In our time with the 3008, we struggled to find a road surface that the Peugeot didn’t take in its stride. Through bends, body roll is noticeable, but the solid steering feel inspires the driver with confidence, feeling composed.

VERDICT

In summary, the 3008 GT is a superb mid-sized SUV. Classy, comfortable and exceptionally refined, the Peugeot offers the best interior in its class. We are left wondering whether a turbodiesel engine would be an even better fit than the turbopetrol model, providing even better in-gear acceleration and potentially better economy. The 3008 is a compelling purchase for those who desire high-class luxury at mainstream prices.

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