Peugeot 3008 makes

SUVs sexy

Peugeot 3008, 2017, Allure, front, action
Peugeot 3008, 2017, Allure, front, static
Peugeot 3008, 2017, Allure, rear, action
Peugeot 3008, 2017, GT Line, front, action
Peugeot 3008, 2017, GT Line, rear, static
Peugeot 3008 Allure, 2017, interior
Peugeot 3008 Allure, 2017, instrument panel, sat nav
Peugeot 3008 GT, 2017, Coupe Franche, interior

SO what's happened to the rather mumsy Peugeot 3008?

Well, the ever-so-practical MPV/crossover has morphed into a racy looking SUV that tends to make many of its rivals look dowdy.

The latest and all-new version which arrives in January has cast off its sombre clothes but has not lost any of its family-friendly practicality.

In fact, it's more spacious, more economical and has higher ground clearance.

Peugeot hopes the new 3008 will win a big slice of Europe's fastest growing car sector. Sales of compact SUVs in Britain were up by 22 per cent over the last year - it's the shape everyone wants.

Prices start at £21,740 which is more than most rivals but Peugeot reckon the equipment levels justify it.

The range includes a choice of three petrol engines and five diesels with the 118bhp, 1.6-litre BlueHDi expected to be the best seller.

Top of the range is the BlueHDi 180 2.0-litre diesel with a sub-nine second dash to 62mph and CO2 of 124g/km. It is priced at £32,995. Four levels of trim are available.

Unusually for an SUV range, there's no four wheel drive option. As an alternative, Peugeot offers Grip Control together with Hill Assist Descent Control for around £500. While it won't allow the 3008 to scale a mountain, the two systems are more than enough to help it traverse a muddy field or climb most icy gradients.

And it's true that the majority of SUV buyers rarely take advantage of four wheel drive even if it's a no cost option.

The flowing curves and purposeful stance of the new car may grab potential buyers' attention at first.

But it's the cabin which soon takes over as the star of the show. Known as the i-Cockpit, it is dominated by an eight-inch tablet-like screen beneath which are a row of tactile toggle switches which act as short cuts to the various touch screen activities - an innovative concept which works well in practice,

The tiny steering wheel is flattened both top and bottom and is set low to give a clear view of the dials directly in front of the driver.

Door trims wrap round to neatly join the facia and dash giving the cabin a distinctly upmarket appearance. Materials used are high quality and touch-friendly.

Space in the front is generous but cosy. Headroom in the rear is more than ample and legroom

quite adequate because passengers sits high and don't need to stretch out their legs. The boot holds

A massive 591 litres of luggage and up to 1670 litres when the back seats are folded down - more than most competitors.

A sliding floor is fitted allowing awkward items easier loading and it's strong enough for an adult to use as a picnic seat.

With manual six-speed gearbox - an automatic six-speed is an option - the diesel 1.6 BlueHDi 120 feels nimble and light on its toes over country roads, perhaps partly because it has shed 100kg over its predecessor.

There's little cornering roll yet undulations and road imperfections are soaked up without disturbing the car's composure.

You are aware of the diesel ‘throb' from the engine but noise levels are low and there's almost no wind noise.

Mid-range acceleration is strong, especially useful for overtaking, even though the outright punch through the gears is less impressive - 62mph comes up in about 11seconds.

A brief run in the 1.6litre e-THP 165 petrol, which knocks out 163bhp yet notches up just 129g/km illustrates the vast advances in recent petrol engine design.

It's unusually quiet and possesses strong enough torque to avoid frequent down-changes.

Equipped with six-speed auto transmission, it manages well the role of long distance, family express.

Perhaps star of the line up will be the little 1.2litre PureTech 130 petrol engine which is available in the entry level Active at £21,795.

Developing 129bhp the three-cylinder unit emits just 117g/km, manages 52.3mpg combined and is quick enough to keep up with most 1.6litre petrols or diesels.

With high levels of standard equipment together with its exciting styling and a wide choice of power units, the 3008 is possibly the best compact SUV on sale right now.

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