THE Peugeot 3008 is the Real Madrid of the car industry – it is the 2017 European Champion.
Yep, hard to believe that the chunky French beast has outgunned the illustrious likes of BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar and Land Rover.
That’s because veggie loving Eurocrats do love to be conservative. That means their European car of the Year has to tick the right boxes for families, economical motoring and having a CND sticker in the back window. OK I made that last one up.
The only comparison to Real Madrid and this new model is that Peugeot have given it a much more Ronaldo muscle-bound body.
The first 3008 started out life as an MPV and spacious five-seat people carrier. But since then the fake 4×4 SUV explosion has taken over the motoring world.
So this next generation 3008 gets all the hunky without the frumpy.
Peugeot are also making a bold claim to move into being a premium manufacturer. That always worries me a bit when mainstream firms claim this. The French cars will rarely challenge the Germans for kudos. However, this 3008 does get the plushest interior I’ve ever seen in a Peugeot.
Whether that’s enough to take on the big guns in this sector of new Seat Ateca, Skoda Kodiaq, Kia Sportage and Mazda CX-5 is another story altogether.
We’ve already established that the new macho exterior is much improved on before. But the real class is once you step inside. It’s very futuristic and airy, like a flying carpet with a Lion badge stuck on it.
Head room is good, the panoramic sunroof provides a glorious amount of light and while the glovebox is small there are plenty of other useful storage spaces up front.
With the rear seats in place there’s plenty of leg room for one tall adult to sit behind another, while those with children should note that the 3008 is offered with three Isofix mounting points (two in the back and one in the front passenger seat).
The 3008’s “iCockpit” is as close as Peugeot have ever got to luxury.
The centrepiece is a small steering wheel, but in the 3008 Peugeot has upped the ante by fitting a configurable “virtual cockpit”-style digital display screen for the dials, as well as a high-quality touchscreen and some fantastic material choices.
It all looks and feels very glitzy, however the digital dial display isn’t as good as an Audi version. Thankfully there is a panel of physical buttons which means you don’t have to use the touchscreen for every single function.
Among the options list is an electric scooter, no kidding.
It’s called the Peugeot e-Kick folding scooter, which weighs just 8.5kg and stores and charges from the boot, while another useful extra is a sliding boot floor, which can hold up to 100kg so is useful either as a picnic seat or when loading heavy items.
There’s an array of engine flavours. The 1.6-litre diesel is a tad agricultural, the 2-litre all the more refined. The most economical diesel model managed 70.6mpg, while the 1.2 petrol recorded 55mpg.
The standard six-speed manual gearbox does the job, while the automatic (optional on the smaller engines, standard on the bigger ones) is occasionally a bit hesitant to change.
All models have rear parking sensors, while upgrading to Allure also brings a reversing camera. Unlike its rivals, Peugeot doesn’t offer its SUV with four-wheel drive, instead claiming that its optional Grip Control system combined with all-season tyres gives most drivers all they’ll need in terms of getting through the worst of the winter.
The cheapest model in the UK 3008 range is the Active, which still comes with a decent spec list including 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, DAB radio, smartphone connectivity and automatic lights and wipers.
Upgrading to Allure brings 18-inch wheels, blind spot monitoring, a reversing camera, power folding wing mirrors, lumbar support for the driver’s seat and satnav with live TomTom traffic updates.
As you might expect, GT Line and GT trim feature sportier styling inside and out including some leather trim and a perfume system that can pump different smells into the car depending on your mood. Yes, honestly.
No wonder it has already won Euro Car of the Year. They’ve given it the sweet swell of success.