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Peugeot 3008 2019 review: GT long term

The 3008 is beamed straight from a concept car.

As we prepare to spend six months putting a new Peugeot 3008 to the ultimate, real-life family test, we thought we'd start by spending a bit of time in the smaller, older 2008, as a quick French refresher.

Part 1: October 2018

A long-term test is generally a fairly straightforward thing. Get a car, keep you all up to date every month for the duration, do some interesting things with it. Away you go. 

This time, we tweaked the idea a little. Rather than going straight to the car my family and I would use for the next six months, we had a quick refresher on Peugeot's smaller 2008. A wiry little 1.2-litre thing, it's a fun car but comes from a time before Peugeot announced the new-generation 3008 and took a new design direction. There were a couple of clues to Peugeot's future in the 2008, though.

I quite like the plucky 2008. The twin-clutch transmission makes the most of the 1.2-litre turbo's limited output, if not with great finesse. It has a funky interior with few letdowns, a fizzy chassis and even a couple of SUV diversions like Grip Control, even though it was only front-wheel drive.

The 2008 is based on the ageing 208 platform, though, and feels it. It's likeable but it's not surprising it hasn't made a huge impression.

  • The 3008 is a totally different-looking car compared to the 2008. The 3008 is a totally different-looking car compared to the 2008.
  • It's a five-seat, front-wheel drive SUV. It's a five-seat, front-wheel drive SUV.
  • Ours is the 2.0-litre turbodiesel with a torque-converter six-speed auto. Ours is the 2.0-litre turbodiesel with a torque-converter six-speed auto.
  • I'ts claw taillights are distinctive. I'ts claw taillights are distinctive.

The 3008 is a completely different proposition. Well, not completely. It's a five-seat, front-wheel drive SUV with a good-sized boot and a fun chassis. The differences aren't just down to the fact ours is the 2.0-litre turbodiesel with a torque-converter six-speed auto. The 3008 is a totally different-looking car. Where the 2008 goes for a light touch, the 3008 is far stronger looking. Distinctive by its claw taillights, funky grille and tough, chunky stance, the 3008 is nothing like the dire duffer it replaces.

The 2008's interior is distinguished by its fun use of materials to lift an otherwise competent design, the 3008 is beamed straight from a concept car. The stacked look is quite avant-garde and here in the GT you also get a striking slash of silvery suede across the cabin starting in the doors and arcing across the front.

The stenographer-style switchgear is very clever - the 3008 has more buttons than the 308 and 208, making navigating the touchscreen far easier. Another line of buttons beneath further improves the experience and helps you keep your eyes on the road.

  • Peugeot's silly name for its unique driving position - i-Cockpit - persists. Peugeot's silly name for its unique driving position - i-Cockpit - persists.
  • The GT's interior feels like a higher-end car. The GT's interior feels like a higher-end car.
  • The tiny steering wheel sits low enough for you to look over its flattened rim. The tiny steering wheel sits low enough for you to look over its flattened rim.
  • The GT not only has a fun chassis but a good-sized boot too. The GT not only has a fun chassis but a good-sized boot too.
  • Fold the seats to increase boot capacity. Fold the seats to increase boot capacity.

Peugeot's silly name for its unique driving position - i-Cockpit - persists, but the idea is one I have always liked. The tiny steering wheel sits low enough for you to look over its flattened rim to the high-set digital dashboard. That unit is configurable and very clever indeed. Peugeot says you don't need a head-up display as a result, and I'm okay with that.

The GT's interior feels like a higher-end car. While it looks nothing like an Audi, there is a very pleasant feel to most of the surfaces. There are few obvious switches from other Peugeots, which adds to the quality feel.

So we've got six months ahead of us. I'll cover some of the stuff in more detail, but it's worth knowing that this car is fully loaded and a tick under $50,000. We've got a couple of trips lined up and as luck would have it, we three are now a four - I somehow got talked into a dog, so Indy ("we named the dog Indiana") will likely feature heavily. Sorry. I don't make the rules.

Acquired: September 2018
Distance travelled this month: 478km
Odometer: 950km
Average fuel consumption for September: 8.81L/100 (measured at the pump)

Part 2: November 2018

Sometimes when a car lands with a funky interior, disappointment rapidly sets in once you discover the on-board technology doesn't match. The Lexus LC500 springs to mind, a car with the worst multimedia system this side of Peugeot's early attempts in the 208.

Which neatly brings me to our long-termer, the 3008. It has a very funky interior. Central to that is the 'i-Cockpit', the French makers wacky high-dash-small-wheel arrangement that scared my father off this particular car, a choice he now sort of regrets.

The dash panel is completely digital, like a rather more expensive Audi. Where it differs from the Audi's is that you can configure the display in a number of ways - classic two dials, minimalist, more driving information or fill more of the screen with the nav map. 

The animations as it switches styles betray the lower-end hardware powering the show, but it's only then you realise it's not as slick. But that doesn't really matter, because the different displays are inventive and each have a genuine use. 

  • Central to the 3008 is the 'i-Cockpit', the French makers wacky high-dash-small-wheel arrangement. Central to the 3008 is the 'i-Cockpit', the French makers wacky high-dash-small-wheel arrangement.
  • The dash panel is completely digital, like a rather more expensive Audi. The dash panel is completely digital, like a rather more expensive Audi.
  • You can configure the display in a number of ways - classic two dials, minimalist, more driving information or fill more of the screen with the nav map. You can configure the display in a number of ways - classic two dials, minimalist, more driving information or fill more of the screen with the nav map.
  • My wife doesn't like the piano keys, but the three-finger prod fixes that. My wife doesn't like the piano keys, but the three-finger prod fixes that.

What's more, it backs up the interior's funkiness, where the thinking that brought us such a lovely, interesting interior has extended to the technology.

Moving to the centre stack, you've got the lovely alloy piano keys. Peugeot's early attempts at the touchscreen removed the clutter of buttons but also removed most of the usability. The low-end hardware of the screen also made navigating the functions tedious. Instead of just dumping the buttons back on the console, Peugeot's designers instead went for shortcut buttons that were a delight to use.

A general chat with Peugeot's PR man also yielded a nice feature that silenced one of my wife's complaints. She doesn't like the piano keys too much. No problem, he said - try the three-finger prod. I didn't know what that was.

"Tap the screen with three fingers and all the shortcut keys turn up on the screen. Easy."

And so it was. It's almost like an Easter egg and it clears up a bugbear.

In less specific news, the 3008 continues to impress. The front-wheel drive diesel acquitted itself beautifully in Sydney's three-week downpour and continues to impress with its comfortable seats front and rear and the driver's massage function is awesome after the rigours of a training session.

Acquired: September 2018
Distance travelled this month: 357km
Odometer: 1307km
Average fuel consumption for October: 8.8L/100 (measured at the pump)

Part 3: December 2018

Let's talk storage. We've ticked over halfway and keen purveyors of my long-term reports will know of my wife's penchant for keeping me on my toes by changing all of the furniture as often as possible. When the next long-termer is announced, the relief on her face is apparent. The credit card weeps.

The 3008 doesn't look all that big - it looks stubbier than its competition, but it just isn't so.  The boot knocks over 591 litres, which is pretty big. Class-leader Mazda CX-5 struggles by comparison with 442 litres on offer. Drop the 60/40 split-fold in the Peugeot and you'll have 1670 litres. It's a well-shaped space with an almost flat load lip. There are no wheelarch or suspension tower intrusions to mess things up so we don't have to negotiate around anything.

  • The boot floor could probably be lower. The boot floor could probably be lower.
  • We keep brown paper handy in the boot on the off chance we have to move an assortment of tree branches. We keep brown paper handy in the boot on the off chance we have to move an assortment of tree branches.
  • The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split configuration. The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split configuration.
  • Lift the boot floor and you'll see the spare has plenty of space around it. Lift the boot floor and you'll see the spare has plenty of space around it.

The floor could probably be lower - lift the boot floor and you'll see the spare has plenty of space around it, so it's mildly surprising Peugeot hasn't thrown in one of those firm foam trays for you to hide things in.

As you can see we keep brown paper handy in the boot on the off chance we have to move a body... er... random assortment of fallen tree branches but it also helped illustrate the photo through the ski port.

One of the great things about the 3008 is the un-Frenchness of the cupholder provisions. A pair in the front in a sensible place and you can put cups rather than Red Bull cans in there. The rear armrest cupholders are one of the few cheap moments in the whole car, but at least they're there.

Under the dash is the spot for the Qi wireless charging pad but you could fit quite a bit more than that. The centre console is very deep and has a removable tray in the top where you can stash a small wallet or a few cards and a roll of unmarked hundreds for... reasons...

  • Under the dash is the spot for the Qi wireless charging pad but you could fit quite a bit more than that. Under the dash is the spot for the Qi wireless charging pad but you could fit quite a bit more than that.
  • Peugeot has added cupholders in the front doors. Peugeot has added cupholders in the front doors.
  • One of the great things about the 3008 is the un-Frenchness of the cupholder provisions. One of the great things about the 3008 is the un-Frenchness of the cupholder provisions.
  • The rear armrest cupholders are one of the few cheap moments in the whole car, but at least they're there. The rear armrest cupholders are one of the few cheap moments in the whole car, but at least they're there.

We've found the car quite versatile and full of handy features. Even the slot in the centre console is the right size for our monster iPhones to slot into and they don't fly out in corners. "Why aren't you using the Qi pad?" I hear you cry. Sadly, CarPlay isn't wireless, so we still need the USB cable.

Apart from the dodgy rear armrest, this is a fine interior that continues to put a smile on my face. Nothing else in the market is anything like it.

The fuel consumption fell slightly for the month after a trip up to the Blue Mountains. The instant fuel economy showed a rousing 4.2L/100km at 100km/h in the rain, so that's quite impressive.

Acquired: September 2018
Distance travelled this month: 504km
Odometer: 1811km
Average fuel consumption for September: 8.41L/100 (measured at the pump)

Part 4: January 2019

We're at the point where I must now start to think critically about the 3008. Much of my previous long-term reports have skated around some of the negatives of the mid-size Pug, but with the honeymoon well and truly over, it's time to tackle the bits that aren't great as well as the parts my wife and I disagree on.

We largely agree on most of the good stuff - it has a terrific cabin, is individual-looking without resorting to cartoonish silliness or ugliness and drives pretty well, some very mild turbo lag and even milder torque steer with a flattened throttle.

Some of these are nit-picks but are things where Peugeot could do better.

The start button doesn't always respond unless you've got enough residual brake pressure, so you have to push harder - then it burst into life. From the outside, the diesel engine is quite clattery which doesn't bother me but for some reason did not endear itself to my wife.

  • The touchscreen behaves inconsistently and its slider-functions are ludicrously unresponsive. The touchscreen behaves inconsistently and its slider-functions are ludicrously unresponsive.
  • My wife isn't a fan on the two rows of buttons. My wife isn't a fan on the two rows of buttons.
  • It all looks good, but even after six months, we sometimes hit the wrong button. It all looks good, but even after six months, we sometimes hit the wrong button.

The touchscreen has been a point of contention - my wife really doesn't like that many of the functions are crowded into the screen. She's also not a fan of the two rows of buttons - one set of those lovely alloy buttons then another set of textured plastic buttons underneath.

It all looks good, but - and I will partially concede here - even after six months, we sometimes hit the wrong button. Nothing earth-shattering, but it can be confusing. The revelation of the three-finger prod was not enough to slake her thirst for Peugeot UI designer blood.

Continuing with the theme, the touchscreen behaves inconsistently. When you hit the button on the seat for a massage (quiet, you), you then have to select the type and intensity. The slider on that is ludicrously unresponsive. And that explains why so few of the functions feature a slider. If it's button-pressing, the screen is good, if it's a slider, good gracious no. One thing that is consistent is the indecent load time of Apple CarPlay.

Thinking upon the bits we don't like has been something of a revelation - the previous 3008 wouldn't have garnered anything more than lukewarm praise for the inclusion of a BMW-sourced turbo-diesel and the split tailgate. It was in every other way a total dud - ugly, slow, not nice to drive and not particularly reliable. If you drove the old 3008 on its last day on sale, you wouldn't recognise the car that replaced it as coming from the same company.

Acquired: September 2018
Distance travelled this month: 478km
Odometer: 2289km
Average fuel consumption for September: 8.57L/100 (measured at the pump)

Part 5: February 2019

After five months with the 3008, we know it pretty well. As I explained last month, there are things we don't like, so we've covered all the dreary negatives. What I haven't really talked about is the driving experience.

Over the time I've had the car, I've been quite surprised by the positivity people have towards the Peugeot brand and the car itself. I'd always regarded Peugeots as cars for people like...well, me (before they got boring)...but people have been really pleased when I tell them the 3008 is a Pug.

Opening the driver's door separates the strong from the weak, though. As with just about every Peugeot, the driving position is weird at first. For those who haven't been playing along at home for the last, say, five years, the steering wheel is low and the dash pod is set high, almost HUD high.

That tiny steering wheel is Summernats Gemini small. Even Trump's hands would look big on a Peugeot steering wheel. It takes a while to settle in and get the relationship between pedals, you and the steering wheel. Thankfully, Peugeots tend to have heaps of adjustment in the steering column and seat to help you get comfortable. I'm not going to lie, there's a small transition period, but once you get your eye in, it's perfectly fine.

  • The front-wheel drive 3008 is up there with the best. The front-wheel drive 3008 is up there with the best.
  • Even Trump's hands would look big on a Peugeot steering wheel. Even Trump's hands would look big on a Peugeot steering wheel.
  • I've been quite surprised by the positivity people have towards the Peugeot brand and the car itself. I've been quite surprised by the positivity people have towards the Peugeot brand and the car itself.

And of course, it's all hooked up to a very good chassis. Obviously being up off the deck for SUV cred, the front-wheel drive 3008 is up there with the best. It doesn't feel as planted as a CX-5 but it's more fluid on the road. The diesel GT-Line is a strong, if not particularly fast performer. When it's cold it clatters a bit but once warm purrs away and performs strongly in the gears.

Speaking of gears, the six-speed auto is slick and I've rarely caught it napping.

The 3008 also confirms that Peugeot has not only rediscovered its ride and handling mojo, but can manage it high in the air. While rear seat passengers may occasionally complain about a rugged ride over those annoying, sharp rubber speed bumps, the front seat occupants enjoy a nice balance of control and finesse. It's quite a neat trick given it handles very tidily, too.

Next month we'll wrap up the half year and reveal my 3008 as something of a media star, which explains the slightly low rate of travel this month...

Acquired: September 2018
Distance travelled this month: 353km
Odometer: 2642km
Average fuel consumption for September: 8.78L/100 (measured at the pump)

Part 6: May 2019

Goodbyes are always hard. Obviously as part of my job, goodbyes are quite regular. I don't mean that kind of goodbye.

I mean the long-termer goodbye. The farewell to a car that has been there through thick and thin for months and months, becoming a mobile member of the family. That's the goodbye I'm taking about. 

And this one is a particularly tough one. We missed the Forester because of the generous space on offer We missed the HR-V for its calming ease of use. And we missed the Tucson for it's gosh-darn all-'round goodness.

But "losing" the 3008, well, this is different. Setting aside my absurd soft spot for the brand (our wedding car was a 306 Cabriolet, I drove my newborn son home in a Peugeot 306 XSi), I just really, really liked this car.

It wasn't perfect - the diesel is a bit laggy, not all the tech is spot-on, and it's over 50 grand for a mid-size SUV that doesn't offer all-wheel drive - but it's surely one of the best-looking on the market, and it is loaded with stuff.

Not all the tech is spot-on, for example the touchscreen is inconsistent. Not all the tech is spot-on, for example the touchscreen is inconsistent.

Its individual look surprised me at the Paris Motor Show where I first saw it, so much so I thought it must be a concept. I was completely, utterly and gloriously wrong. 

While part of its appeal is down to the fact it's the top-of-the-line GT - a 2.0-litre, 133kW/400Nm diesel, 19-inch alloys, up-spec interior, the list goes on - even its basic look is quite something. Chunky in all the right ways, and with some terrific detailing - like that blade along the roofline mirrored by the blade in the lower portions of the doors. 

  • The 3008 is surely one of the best-looking on the market. The 3008 is surely one of the best-looking on the market.
  • The 3008 is chunky in all the right ways, and with some terrific detailing. The 3008 is chunky in all the right ways, and with some terrific detailing.

It's unashamedly a suburban warrior (you can get Grip Control, which drops the wheels to 18 inches and ups its off-road ability) but that's okay. Honesty is an important thing in a car market drenched with these things, accompanied by advertising that pretends they're serious about off-roading. But the Peugeot makes no bones about its urban focus.

Even more importantly, the 3008 completed Peugeot's turnaround from making terrible cars for almost a decade to making stylish, reliable and excellent cars that don't require a sense of humour to own. We've loved having this car and while yes, a couple of things were annoying, the good side of the ledger was much weightier than the bad, which isn't something you could say of most Peugeots five years ago.

We (including Indiana) will miss the 3008. We (including Indiana) will miss the 3008.

It isn't just the looks - it's fun to drive once you learn how to handle the turbo lag, and it rides extremely well given the huge wheels. 

This goodbye hurts the most. We're gonna miss the 3008.

Acquired: September 2018
Distance travelled this month: 639km
Odometer: 2642km
Average fuel consumption for September: 8.41L/100 (measured at the pump)

What would you like to know about the Peugeot 3008 GT? Tell us in the comments below.


The Wrap

Likes

Striking looks
Brilliant interior design
Strong engine/transmission

Dislikes

A bit on the pricey side
Touchscreen slow on some apps
Front passenger seat missing features

Scores

Peter:

The Kids:

$50,990

Based on new car retail price

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