Peugeot 3008 GT

BlueHDi 180

Peugeot 3008 GT, 2017, Coupe Franche, side, action
Peugeot 3008 GT, 2017, Coupe Franche, front, action
Peugeot 3008 GT, 2017, Coupe Franche, side
Peugeot 3008 GT, 2017, Coupe Franche, interior
Peugeot 3008, 2017, boot

PEUGEOT has made some rather good looking and impressive cars over the years.

Witness the elegant 404 Coupe of the Sixties, the racy 205 GTI range in the Eighties and Nineties. Then, more recently, the futuristic but now sadly discontinued RCZ coupe.

There has also been the occasional lemon too - the cumbersome 604 saloon and the unloved and forgotten 607 executive saloon which was last produced in 2010.

But possibly, the best model for a long time is the latest 3008 crossover. Bold and confidently styled, it blends exciting lines with the vital practicalities that define modern family transport.

Introduced at the start of the year, the new version rejects the people-carrier design of the previous model in favour of chunky SUV styling without sacrificing living space or driving enjoyment.

In fact the latest range - which really merits an all-new designation - is one of the best of the current crop of faux off-roaders to get behind the wheel of.

Its fresh looks and classy cabin elevates it above much of the obvious competition and places it closer to the prestigious and much pricier Range Rover Evoque.

There's a wide line-up, but here I drive the top GT version with a 178bhp 2.0litre diesel engine which despite having a max of 131mph will happily turn in around the 50mpg mark on normal running. And with a CO2 of 124g/km it's cheap to tax.

The GT comes with all the bells and whistles such as opening glass panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate, full leather seating, electrically adjustable driver's seat, dual climate control, LED lighting and six speed automatic gearbox.

It's all credit to Peugeot design team that the extravagant and brave design of the exterior continues inside the cabin. With a small steering wheel that's adjustable for rake and height and high-set dials together with robust, tactile plastic mouldings an impression of quality and a sense of occasion within the interior.

Sensibly, a row of short-cut soft keys for many of the controls makes the central touchscreen easier to operate.

Space is generous, especially in the front with plenty of elbow and legroom. Within the central armrest there's a large storage area that's air-conned so you can happily keep a couple of chocolate bars without fear of them melting. A large bottle of water can be contained in each of the generous sized door pockets.

The boot is regularly shaped and can take 591litres of luggage, among the best in its class. The rear floor is flat, allowing a third passenger to be accommodated with ease.

There's ample power from the 2.0litre diesel which rarely feels strained and picks up its heels well.

The six speed auto box makes light work of congested traffic situations and marries up well to the high torque diesel unit. Noise levels are low and cruising is relaxed and unflustered.

The ride quality is generally comfortable with well controlled roll angles. It can become slightly joggly over rutted surfaces however.

While Peugeot does not offer a four-wheel-drive option, it does have a Grip Control facility which together with all-weather tyres considerably boosts traction in tricky conditions.

The diminutive steering wheel emphasises the sporty nature of the new 3008 and allows plenty of road information to be fed back to the driver.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot 3008 GT BlueHDi 180

Price: £33,695

Mechanical: 1,997cc, 178bhp 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 131mph

0-62mph: 8.9secs

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 124g/km

Bik rating:26%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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