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Peugeot has its sights firmly set on the SUV market with a range of new models making their way to the UK over the next 12 months.
One of the first cars hoping to help the French brand take its piece of this segment's ever-growing pie is this, the new 3008, which moves away from its previous MPV roots.
Its chunky styling, extra 22cm of ground clearance and eye-catching design are just some of the features helping the new 3008 to stand out from the crowd. In fact, it's one of the best-looking cars to come off the Peugeot production line in a long time.
Rivaling the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and new Seat Ateca, the 3008 has more than just stylish looks up its sleeve: there's a host of new kit available, a more upmarket interior, and more practicality too.
One of the headline additions for this 3008 is Peugeot's latest interior driver display - i-Cockpit. It's a huge leap forwards for the French carmaker and is modern, uncluttered and easy to use. The large 12.3-inch screen offers excellent resolution and can be customised by the driver.
The compact steering wheel will divide opinion, but we think it's easy to live with and helps improve visibility. We're also big fans of the piano-style toggle switches that help navigation around the infotainment system.
There's a choice of four trims in the UK: Active, Allure (tested here), GT Line and GT. The highlights from the standard specification include dual-zone climate control, reversing camera and sensors, satnav and 18-inch alloy wheels. MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay are also thrown in, unlike many rivals, which charge from reasonable to scandalous amounts for the tech as an option.
Safety-wise there's a whole host of kit available too including a lane departure warning system, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist and automatic high beam, all as standard.
Interior quality is very good, although we preferred the grey oak finish on higher spec'd cars to the fabric finish on the dashboard and door panels. However, overall there are very few cheap plastics to be found.
Space for five
In terms of practicality, the 3008 offers plenty of clever storage options, including a centre compartment with 11 litres of space and deep enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle. It's chilled, too. The front door pockets are big and there are plenty of storage options for rear passengers. The boot is large at 591 litres, 90 litres up on the previous car and bigger than many of its rivals.
Interior roominess is very good for those in front with plenty of leg and headroom on offer. Rear legroom is a little cramped, though, and avoid the optional panoramic sunroof as it does noticeably infringe on overall head space.
There's a choice of petrol and diesel engines. Likely to appeal most to company car drivers is the one tested here, the 1.6-litre 120hp diesel paired with the six-speed manual gearbox. It's a capable, relatively smooth and refined unit that is happy cruising along the motorway or driving through town. The engine struggled on more challenging hills and isn't especially quick though, with the 0-62mph sprint achieved in 11.2 seconds.
Running costs are competitive with an official combined fuel economy figure of 70.6mpg, although Peugeot's own real-world driving tests indicate 47.1mpg to be more realistic, while CO2 emissions of 104g/km mean this 3008 slots into a 20% BIK tax band for the current 2016/17 tax year.
If you're considering petrol then the 1.2-litre PureTech 130 is well worth a look. The award-winning engine is very smooth and boasts some impressive running costs, with CO2 emissions from 117g/km and a combined fuel economy of 52.3mpg. It's quicker from 0-62mph too, completing the benchmark sprint in 10.8 seconds.
The car handles well overall, although there's a little bodyroll in the corners and the steering, although well weighted, lacks any real feedback. The ride quality varies from good to bad too, depending on the rims you pick; stick with 18-inch alloys for a more comfortable ride.
Despite its rugged looks, four-wheel drive isn't available, but the firm's adaptable traction system, called Grip Control, is on hand to offer maximised grip when the road surface gets a little trickier.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but we're expecting the 3008 to cost more than the Qashqai and similar to the Sportage. However, with extensive standard kit available, the 3008 will still represent a good-value buy.
Peugeot 3008 1.6 BlueHDi 120 Allure
Model price range: £21,740-£32,000 (est)
Fuel consumption: 70.6mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 104g/km (20%)
Boot space: 591 litres
Engine size/power: 2191cc/150hp
One of the best cars to come from the French firm in a long time. It manages to tick many boxes for fleets as well as offering stylish looks that will produce plenty of envy in the car park.