some with all wheel drive and some with SUV styling but only with two wheel drive have grown significantly. The sector is now the third largest in the UK’s new car market with almost 248,000 dual purpose vehicles sold in the UK last year.
The supermini sector remains the largest with 813,000 registrations followed by the lower medium sector with a shade over 588,000 sales.
The growth in dual purpose vehicles has accelerated with the introduction of small SUVs such as the Fiat Panda 4×4, Nissan Juke and the Peugeot 2008 with sales increasing by 84%. The middle ground models such as the Nissan Qashqai, VW Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Peugeot 3008 are up by 27%. Large SUVs such as Land and Range Rovers, Honda CR-V, BMW X5/X6s and Audi Q5 models are up by 12.5%.
Although the Qashqai remains the largest selling model and the new one is about to arrive, the Peugeot 3008 has been a significant game-changer for Peugeot. Its arrival late in 2009 heralded the start of a raft of new models from the brand including the 208, 2008, 5008 and recently the new 308 which has just been voted 2014 European Car of the Year.
In February this year the 3008 five door five seater range of petrol, diesel and diesel hybrids models, most with two wheel drive but with a Grip Control extra cost option and the 4WD diesel Hybrid, received significant mid-life changes to the range. These included higher specification, lower prices and styling tweaks. The 3008 still continues its design as a mixture of part SUV, part hatchback and part MPV to be classified as a crossover.
Since its launch in 2009 the Peugeot 3008 has attracted over 500,000 sales worldwide, 50% more than the original target. Over 10% of these, around 56,000 have been sold in Britain, 13,131 of them last year.
Prices now start £17,245 and go up to £28,245 for the top spec 2.0-litre HDi diesel/Hybrid 4×4 version. There is the choice of Access, Active and Allure levels of specification depending on the engine chosen. These are the 1.6-litre normally aspirated and turbocharged petrol units and 1.6 and 2.0-litre HDi turbodiesels plus the 2.0 HDi Hybrid. Power outputs range from 115 to 163bhp with CO2 emissions starting from 88g/km for the Hybrid and go up to 159g/km for the 2.0-litre HDi automatic.
In the UK the most popular specification is the mid range Active level accounting for 58% of sales followed by the top level Allure at 41% and the starter level Access appeals to just 1% of sales. The most popular engine by far is the 1.6-litre HDi 115bhp which accounts for half of all sales with a manual gearbox and a further 44% of UK customers choose the same engine but with the EGC electronic automated gearchange which offers better mpg and lower CO2 emissions.
In line with other new Peugeot models, the 3008 now has the new brand ‘face’ with a visually streamlined nose, new grille and new lights front and rear. Its five door coupe roof still means reduced headroom for rear seat passengers. The 3008 was never the roomiest mid- sized crossover on the market but it had the classiest interior. The clever folding rear seats, the useful three height position load area floor and the two section split rear tailgate make it very user-friendly. I’m told by the numerous owners I have come across the interior design, despite its compact rear seating, is one of the big ‘likes’ about the 3008. The other likes are the look and feel of the high class interior, roomy comfortable front seats, well laid out instruments and controls and it’s easy to drive and easy to live with.
Making life even easier the 2014 changes include for all models, Bluetooth connectivity for smart-phones and music players while electric folding mirrors have been added to Active models and Peugeot Connect navigation and a new reversing camera are now standard on Allure versions.
The highlights of each of the three spec levels start with Access where the standard kit includes 17-inch steel wheels, electric front and rear windows, automatic electric parking brake and air conditioning. Active level additions include 17-inch alloys, rear parking aid, cruise control with speed limiter, front fog lights and automatic lights/wipers. The top level Allure additions include 18-inch alloys, front parking sensors, rear view camera, head-up display, navigation system, dual zone air conditioning and a panoramic glass roof. To achieve just the right specification there is also the wide range of extra cost options. For example a mid range Active version can be upgraded with only the specific items a customer wants and then be able to stay away from the 18-inch wheels of the Allure version. They might look good but they upset the quality of ride comfort, give the vehicle a fidgety ride over poorer road surfaces and transmit too much road noise into the vehicle.
The 18-inch wheels and the electronic handbrake were really the only downsides of my test drive in the 2014 model year 1.6-litre HDi 115 Allure manual transmission version priced at £22,445. Perhaps the rear head and legroom is on the stingy side if you have grown-up children which might complain about discomfort on a long journey, but for short trips it’s not an issue. The 3008 just isn’t as large in the rear seating area as say the Nissan Qashqai, the Skoda Yeti or Mitsubishi ASX but as far as interior ambiance goes it out scores all of them.
The 1.6-litre HDi turbodiesel engine is well known in Peugeot and Citroen models, it’s the core unit for many of their most popular models. But with the increased power output, recently to 115bhp, it is not the most refined unit on the market today where new Euro 6 compliant units are being introduced. It’s a bit noisy on start-up and lacks a bit of zip during acceleration. Top speed is 112mph but the zero to 62mph acceleration time is a lengthy 13.6 seconds. It delivers 270Nm (199lb ft) of torque from 1,750rpm and tall gearing is used to minimise CO2 emissions and that takes the edge off its responsiveness mid-range. It means sixth gear is now really only suitable for use on the open road and even second gear acceleration is a bit frail until the turbocharger spins up.
To keep the vehicle spritely liberal use is needed from the six-speed manual gearbox and the gearchange action was a bit heavy and notchy especially when it was cold. These are minor issues but they take the gloss off its previous refined driveability.
The official Combined Cycle fuel consumption for this model is 57.6mpg and on my test driving period covering motorway, rural and urban use, the test car averaged 48.7mpg which most users will be happy with but it still underachieves on the official figure. The CO2 emissions are 127g/km so road tax is £0 for the First Year rate and from the increase in the April Budget the Second Year rate has gone up by £5 to £110 per annum.
The same engine with the £850 extra cost option EGC electronic auto gearbox for the same variant sees the Combined Cycle fuel consumption at 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions go down to 112g/km so VED tax is £0 and then only £30 for Year Two onwards. Company car drivers, following the tax changes in the Budget, for the manual version will pay 21% Benefit-in-Kind tax and 18% for the EGC auto. Higher mileage users should take the EGC version route.
Overall the latest Peugeot 3008 has been improved in areas which customers appreciate most; price, specification, comfort and low running costs. It’s not perfect but what is?
MILESTONES: 2014 Peugeot 3008 Allure HDi 115 manual. Price: £22,445. Engine/transmission: 1.6-litre, four cylinder direct injection turbodiesel, 115bhp, 270Nm, 199lb ft) from 1,750rpm, 6-speed manual. Performance: 112mph, 0-62mph 13.6 seconds, 57.6mpg Combined Cycle (458.7mpg on test), CO2 127g/km, VED road tax £0 First Year rate then £110 Year Two onwards, BIK company car tax 21% (from April). Insurance group: 18E. Warranty: 3-years/unlimited mileage. Dimensions/capacities: L 4,365mm, W 1,837mm, H 1,639mm, boot/load space 512 to 1,604-litres, braked towing weight 1,300kg. For: Improved exterior front-end styling, upgraded specification, lower prices, low-ish running costs, classy interior, spacious load area with adjustable height load floor and split opening twin section tailgate, easy to drive, popular vehicle. Against: Limited rear seat leg and head room, 18-inch wheels compromise ride comfort, high gearing dulls acceleration, Grip Control option should be standard. Miles better news agency