PEUGEOT rather boldly describes its all-new second generation 3008 SUV as a ‘game changer' and after trying out two models in the line-up, it's clear to see that confident and bold statement is pretty justified.
With dynamic styling, a wealth of on-board technology, innovative safety packages and all the practicality expected from a SUV, the 3008 is quite the all-round package.
The car looks sporty and stylish from any approach thanks to elegant, sharp lines, a strong front face featuring Peugeot's trademark vertical grille, a long bonnet, raised waist line, neat light clusters, smart alloys and, at the rear, a gloss black strip that encases the tail lights.
The interior is beautifully styled with a very upmarket and premium feel to it.
Creature comforts in what Peugeot calls the i-Cockpit are plentiful and include a small, sporty steering wheel with a flat top and bottom, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel that can be modified to display specific information, piano key-style switches to access key systems quickly and an eight-inch colour touchscreen.
Another clever feature on the latest 3008 is the i-Cockpit Amplify function with a choice of two themes. Basically the driver can select between Boost and Relax modes and depending on the choice features such as the mood lighting, audio settings, scented air freshener, massaging seat and dynamics can be adjusted to suit your mood.
There's a choice of four well-equipped trim levels called Active, Allure, GT Line and GT, with prices starting from £21,795 and a range of three petrol and five diesel engines with the option of manual or automatic transmissions.
Another area that the car excels in is safety with a whole host of advanced driver assistance systems including distance alert with active safety brake, dynamic cruise control with stop function, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and plenty more besides. It has advanced grip control with hill assist descent control plus a ground clearance of 22cms so will easily scramble across bumpy surfaces and grass tracks with ease.
We sampled a couple of models and both impressed.
First up was the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120bhp diesel-powered model with six-speed manual transmission in Allure trim.
This particular version is likely to be the best-seller according to Peugeot's predictions.
The car was priced at £26,395 (plus £4,825 optional extras) and could each from 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds, maxed out at 115mph and delivers combined fuel economy of 64.2mpg with carbon emissions of 108g/km.
It was an absolute dream to drive hugging the sweeping country lanes around the Peak District and localised flooding posed no problems either.
The acceleration through the gears was smooth and responsive and there was always a constant supply of power on tap.
The steering was precise and the well-insulated cabin kept any engine, road surface and wind noise at bay. There was a little body roll if pushed particularly hard into bends, but to be honest it was minimal.
The interior of the 3008 is bright, light and spacious with ample room in the back for three adults to stretch out in comfort.
Boot capacity is now 591 litres which is 100 litres more than the outgoing model and this can be increased to 1,670 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
The driver benefits from an elevated driving position so the all-round visibility is good, although the wide door pillars make looking back over your shoulder a little tricky at times.
All the on-board technology is simple to use and the instrumentation is clear, precise and driver-focused.
The option to personalise the read-out display is most impressive. That said; even with the fast access toggle switches, adjusting the temperature still involves tapping a touch screen which can be tricky at pace on bumpy roads.
Next up was the all-singing, all dancing range-topping 2.0-litre BlueHDi 180bhp GT model, which is new to the range.
It was fitted with an automatic six-speed gearbox and priced at £32,995 with a further £2,865 of options.
This car could reach 62mph from a standing start in 8.9 seconds, topped out at 131mph, has combined fuel economy of 58.9mpg with carbon emissions of 124g/km.
The GT model is more sporty in appearance with 19-inch two-tone finish diamond-cut alloy wheels, additional wheel arch protection, a panoramic glass roof, full leather upholstery and a smart electric tailgate which includes a foot movement operation to open the boot when your hands are full.
Once again when put to the test, the car was an excellent performer and the sharp handling from the higher powered engine was quite noticeable. The acceleration was instant and there is a Sport mode to sharpen the dynamics up even further.
But obviously the initial outlay and running costs on the GT model are higher, so sales of this particular model may be determined by budgets.
Another positive factor is the new insurance rating which has improved quite dramatically with former 3008 models being classed in group 28, while the latest car is rated from group 11.
All in all, the new 3008 is quite the class act and Peugeot is guaranteed to make a significant impact in the ever-growing SUV segment. The car is on sale in December with first deliveries expected towards the end of January.