Peugeot 3008 GT Line

BlueHDi 120

USUALLY when a motor manufacturer upgrades an existing model there will be a few minor nips and tucks here and there, new headlights, maybe a new bumper and a different grille.

Beneath the panels there might be updated engines and perhaps some fresh technology to make the driver's life easier or better entertain the passengers.

Largely, though, the new version will not look vastly different to the one being replaced.

The new Peugeot 3008, however, has undergone a startling transformation.

The original, launched in 2009, had something of an identity crisis - not knowing whether it was a compact MPV or a crossover - resulting in some confused styling despite a spacious and practical interior and some innovative hybrid powertrains.

The new 3008 has no such issues. It has been completely reinvented and aimed squarely at the booming SUV market - which currently accounts for one in ten vehicles on European roads.

Typical characteristics of the class - large alloys, upright stance, increased ground clearance, chunky wheel arches and protective cladding - are all present and correct but it is in the finer details that the 3008 establishes its fresh and modern identity.

Striking light formations front and rear, a bold grille and air intakes, an abundance of strong character lines and a shiny black band stretching across the tailgate beneath the raked rear screen all set it apart.

The visual impact on GT Line models like the one I drove is dialled up even further by the addition of sporty touches such as a contrasting black roof and mirror caps, bespoke badging, twin tailpipes, a sports front bumper and extra chrome trim.

And the interior is no less eye-catching, as the French brand pursues its upmarket ambitions with some gusto.

The latest evolution of Peugeot's i-Cockpit wraps around the driver in a high-tech array of screens, dials and buttons featuring a 12.3 inch customisable TFT instrument display, eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, a bank of piano-key toggle switches and a compact multi-function steering wheel with flattened off top and bottom edges.

Materials throughout are of a high quality and fabric inserts in the dashboard and door panels are a stylish touch.

Head and legroom is good without being expansive - although the mechanism for the optional (£990) glass sunroof fitted to my car makes it a squeeze for six-footers in the rear. There is a flat footwell back there, though, so three will be comfortable on shorter trips.

At 591 litres the boot is bigger than the previous car's and more than big enough for family needs - capacity rising to 1,670 with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down.

A range of familiar Peugeot petrol and diesel engines are available ranging from 1.2 to 2.0-litres.

The higher powered 1.6-litre diesel paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, was punchy without being overtly rapid and coped easily with hauling the tribe and a full load of shopping, while a claimed 70.6 miles per gallon will help the family finances.

Handling is nimble for a fairly sizable car and the body remains well controlled in bends while the suspension irons out all but the worst imperfections in the road surface pretty well and, although not greatly engaging, the 3008 is pleasant to drive.

All-wheel drive is not an option, despite the rugged styling, but Peugoet's Advanced Grip Control system can be specified and will cope with mild excursions off road.

Equipment is generous across the range with GT Line models boasting dual-zone climate control, satnav, digital radio, emergency brake assist, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, rearview camera and smartphone mirroring and charging plate.

The 3008 has undergone a stunning metamorphosis from slightly frumpy, confused crossover into a sharp and edgy SUV while retaining good space and practicality.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot 3008 GT Line BlueHDi 120

Price: £27,485

Mechanical:120ps, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:117mph

0-62mph: 11.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group:18

C02 emissions:104g/km

Bik rating:22%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

LATEST Peugeot NEWS

WATCH out Audi - your reign as the world's best automotive interior designers...

Read more

IT is a sign of Peugeot's confidence that it can turn an already top notch...

Read more

PEUGEOT'S French bosses make no secret of the fact that they are trying to move...

Read more

LATEST NEWS

Google+