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Peugeot 3008 2009 Road Test

Sun, 27 Sep 2009

The Peugeot 3008 is my surprise car of the year. Because who would have expected a slightly lardy ‘lifestyle’ vehicle to drive and handle as well as this one does?

It manages to achieve the minor miracle by virtue of Peugeot, Citroen and BMW’s brilliant, but slightly rattly, 1.6 THP 150 chain cam variable vane turbo engine.

I had one of these in a 207 for six months a couple of years ago, where it desperately cried out for a 6th gear. Then again in a 308 that did have the necessary 6th gear and out-economised the 207. But the 3008 has to be its spiritual home. I think they must have remapped it, though because it not only pulled strongly from low revs, it managed to cruise at something like 34mph per 1,000rpm in 6th, delivering an easy 44mpg +.

A great engine, perfectly matched, is one side of its character. ‘Dynamic Roll Control’ that defies centres of gravity is another. Peugeot chassis engineers have managed to pull the trick of giving the car excellent hump absorbing ride, yet come to a corner and the rear damper rates change to increase its roll stiffness and it goes round them like a rally car. Check out the last drive-by in the video and you’ll see what I mean.

So we’ve got a comfortable, fine handling sportscar that also happens to be a ‘Multi Purpose Vehicle Crossover’. By which I mean a wide back seat capable of taking three child seats across, a flat floor, a high ‘cockpit-like’ driving position, and a rear load area that can be arranged in so many different ways it can cope with just about anything a family can throw in it. Plus a drop-down tailgate for picnics or watching events.

Unlike some of its competitors that have started adopting low profiles, Peugeot has sat the 3008 on a decent set of tyres. Our Sport came not on awful 18s that jar your back and bend their rims on cats eyes. Instead, each wheelarch was filled with expensive, low rolling resistance Michelin Pilot Primacy HP 225/50 R17s.

If you’re into skiing trips as well at tugging gliders into the air you can pay an extra £450 for a ‘Grip Control’ electronically controlled final drive that comes with 216/60 R16 Mud + Snow tyres and offers ‘standard’, ‘snow’, ‘all terrain’, ‘sand’ and ‘ESP off’ settings and should get you anywhere a part-time 4WD like a Honda CRV can go.

Engine range begins with the same 120PS chain-cam 1.6 as in the 207, 308 and MINI Cooper, then the excellent 1.6THP 150 that pumps out its maximum torque of 240Nm from just 1,400rpm and connects with the road through a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Otherwise, it’s a choice of diesels: the 110PS 1.6 HDI with 6-speed manual or 6-speed automated manual, the 2.0HDI now beefed up to 150PS and 340Nm torque fed through a 6-speed manual, and finally (from next year) an even more muscular 2.0HDI with 163PS pumped through a 6-speed torque converter automatic.

Prices start at £15,995 for the 120PS petrol Active model, rising through £17,795 for the THP150 Sport we had, though £19,404 for the HDI 150 Sport and topping out at £21,895 for the HDI 163 automatic.

As the one car for a family with 2.4 children the 3008 does the job perfectly, excelling at all the dull domestic jobs as well as giving the drivers a bit of fun when they want it.

For a two-car family too, it’s as much a wifestyle car as a lifestyle car.

I think Peugeot’s has cracked the very difficult task of bridging the gap between SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai and MPVs like the Renault Scenic and created a new category of family car that could well be what most families really want.

For prices, specs and performance details please click the tabs.

More at www.Peugeot.co.uk

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