Peugeot 3008 SUV GT

Line Premium BlueHDi

130

Peugeot 3008, front static 2
Peugeot 3008, front static 3
Peugeot 3008, front static
Peugeot 3008, side static
Peugeot 3008, rear static
Peugeot 3008, dashboard

TO the north of the lovely French city of Orleans an 11 mile long concrete ribbon stands on solid supports above the farmers' fields. It was once the hoped for future of high speed public transport.

But the monorail track - and the experimental aerotrain on it that once reached 262mph - was abandoned in 1974 and the French got on with speeding up conventional trains instead.

The French car industry has had its futuristic moments too but today seems set on a path more ordinary. One that turns a profit, not motoring enthusiasts' heads.

With a car like the Peugeot 3008 SUV. If you need proof this handsome family transporter has hit the sales spot spend a few days in its native France.

The place is alive with 3008s in the way that, a few years before, it seemed wall to wall Dacia Dusters.

When the French take to a car, they really mean it. It's a bit of a hit on our side of the La Manche too as Brits fall for its combination of crisply cut lines on the outside and an interior that could do service in something much more expensive.

Swathes of grey cloth on dash and doors combined in the GT Line Premium trim test car with alloy look switches and soft leather effect and cloth seats to provide a classy feel.

The comfortable front seats are surprisingly wrap around, lending a sporty air to a car more likely to be on the school run than tackling a mountain pass for the sheer fun of it.

This unexpectedly athletic side to the 3008 continues with a steering wheel tiny enough (and un-round enough) to have been lifted from a racing car. It's a current Peugeot design trend, letting you view the instruments over the wheel, not through it as in other cars.

Suits me fine but you might find the first few miles a bit unusual. Ditto the reliance on a touch screen for the sort of functions - from adjusting the temperature to resetting the sat nav - that before you've usually needed buttons to do the job.

Indeed, even after 1,400 miles at the squared-off wheel the complicated finger-play needed to set the air con to cooler remained enough of an annoyance to wish for a simple, old fashioned rotary knob.

A minor niggle and not one to put me off putting a 3008 on the short list if it's a family taxi I'm after. One that, with sport mode engaged at the push of a button, actually makes the car feel lively and ready for some fun.

Lively it stays when you put your foot down, when the diesel engine turns from a bit grumbly at low revs to something capable of providing a real slug of overtaking juice.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot 3008 SUV GT Line Premium BlueHDi 130

Price: £32,725

Mechanical: 128bhp, 1,499cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 119mph

0-62mph: 11.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 105g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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