Is there a better-looking mid-sized SUV out there than the Peugeot 3008 GT Sport?
As crash regulations and buyer preferences makes cars look more similar, the top-spec 3008 stands out with a sharp-edged and compact shape, thoughtful lighting, and a contrast roof. Forget about quirky, this French crossover is downright sexy.
There’s more to the 3008 than just a pretty face. It was already a well-sorted SUV, but a recent update means this French Toyota RAV4-rival has more power, more technology, and a more luxurious take on what was already a chic interior.
It also costs more. The range-topping GT Sport on test here retails for just under $55,000 before on-road costs, which is serious money.
Has this French fancy got what it takes to justify its grand price tag?
Buckle up. The 2021 Peugeot 3008 GT Sport is priced from $54,990 before on-road costs.
It’s the most expensive member of the 3008 range, sitting above the GT Diesel ($50,990 before on-roads), GT Petrol ($47,990), and Allure ($44,990).
More than $50,000 is serious money… depending on how you view the 3008.
If you think of it as a left-field alternative to the Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson then, well, it looks a bit pricey.
The range-topping Toyota RAV4 is $48,915 before on-roads, while even the more upmarket new Hyundai Tucson tops out at $53,000 with an all-wheel drive diesel powertrain and a full list of standard equipment.
The X3 kicks off at just north of $70,000 before on-road costs, and the GLC is more than $75,000 to start.
Even the Audi Q5, arguably the value pick of the Germans, starts at $68,900 before on-roads.
Essentially everything in the Peugeot parts bin is standard on the GT Sport.
The only option is a panoramic sunroof ($1990), otherwise what you see is what you get.
That means the car packs a 515W/10-speaker Focal sound system, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with massage function, heated front seats, Nappa leather upholstery, black exterior trim pieces, and lime wood interior trim.
It also rides on 19-inch alloy wheels, finished in black to match the roof and trim highlights.
Carried over from lower-grade models are keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, rear privacy glass, a wireless phone charger, a hands-free powered tailgate, along with automatic wipers and headlights.
Infotainment comes courtesy of a 10.0-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation, digital radio, and wired smartphone mirroring.
There are LED headlights, fog lights, and daytime running lights, and 3D-effect LED tail lights.
The 3008 has a five-star safety rating from ANCAP based on testing conducted in 2016.
It received an adult occupant protection score of 86 per cent, child occupant protection of 85 per cent, pedestrian protection of 67 per cent and safety assist of 58 per cent.
The 3008’s list of standard safety equipment includes:
- Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Lane-departure warning
- Lane-keep assist
- Driver attention monitoring
- Traffic sign recognition
- Front, front-side and curtain airbags
- Automatic high-beam
- Adaptive cruise control
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Surround-view camera
Unlike lower-spec petrol models, the GT Sport also has stop/go and lane positioning assist to go with its adaptive cruise control. In the Peugeot world, these functions are only offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Sick of cookie-cutter cabins? The 3008 could just be the cure.
The 3008 GT Sport has a lavish interior befitting a car significantly more expensive, with a properly unique design and (mostly) lovely materials.
Trimmed in Nappa leather, the front seats are good to look at and great to sit on during long drives, with plenty of under-thigh support and bolstering.
The massaging function is a bit fiddly to activate (press a button on the seat, and poke the touchscreen at least twice) but it’s a properly premium inclusion, with a full range of different programs.
It’s a shame the passenger seat is manually adjusted, given the rest of the cabin feels so premium.
Technology has traditionally been a weak spot for Peugeot, and the 3008 doesn’t necessarily do much to change that. The 10.0-inch infotainment screen sits proud of the dashboard, and is backed by a minimalist row of piano-style keys on the shapely dashboard.
It looks very pretty, but it can be slower to respond and trickier to navigate than what’s on offer in mainstream rivals, let alone cars in the premium world. Why, for example, does the car forget whatever the last media input was and default to the radio when it’s restarted?
And why does pressing the permanent climate control displays on the outside of the screen not allow you to change the temperature? There are too many menu layers, and jumping between them is slower than it should be in the smartphone age.
Peugeot’s reversing camera is grainy, and its surround-view camera isn’t a patch on what rival brands offer.
The high-set 12.3-inch driver display is very pretty, and feels perfectly in keeping with the rest of the interior design. It’s definitely the technology high point in the 3008.
The low-set, tiny steering wheel isn’t to everyone’s liking, but it works for my driving position.
Storage space around the cabin is generally good. The central storage space is massive, and is housed beneath a Mercedes-style bi-fold armrest, and there’s a wireless phone charger at the base of the dashboard.
The dual cupholders and door pockets are good, the absolutely tiny glovebox less so.
Rear seat space is limited compared to some mid-sized SUV rivals. The pinched roofline and slim windows make the back of the 3008 feel slightly claustrophobic, and legroom behind adults is tight.
You’ll get a forward-facing child seat in there with space to spare, but the RAV4 has it covered for rear-seat practicality. There are air vents back there, USB ports, and a fold-down central armrest.
Three ISOFIX and two top tether points are available for child seats.
Boot space is 591L with the rear seats in place, and a capacious 1670L with them folded.
Power in the GT Sport comes from a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 133kW of power and 250Nm of torque to the front wheels.
It’s mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
All-wheel drive isn’t available currently on the 3008, regardless of specification, though that’s set to change with the plug-in Hybrid4 version due later this year which mounts an electric motor on the rear axle for all-wheel traction.
Claimed fuel economy is 7.0L/100km on the combined cycle.
You could be forgiven for thinking the 3008 doesn’t have enough get up and go, given it’s a big car with a small engine.
For the most part, though, the 1.6-litre turbo petrol gets the job done. Thank the fact the 3008 weighs just 1397kg (tare), and the fact the engine delivers its punch just off idle.
You don’t need to work the car hard to get up and rolling at city speeds, and the eight-speed automatic transmission is a good match. It shuffles to a tall gear quickly at low speed, but it’s willing to kick down if you stamp the accelerator a bit harder.
It runs out smoothly to its redline and makes a decent noise while doing it, but it never really feels fast, or like there’s much performance in reserve. It has enough get up and go when you have one or two passengers, but a fully-loaded car might have it straining.
The engine in the 3008 will handle family road trips, but it isn’t necessarily at its most at home doing it.
With a tiny wheel and light steering, the 3008 feels right at home in tight city streets. It’s effortless to park, and its compact dimensions make it a perfect fit for small underground garages.
Although it doesn’t float along in quite the same fashion as the Allure on smaller wheels, the GT Sport rides well over pimply city streets. It doesn’t crash and bash like bigger, heavier cars, once again proving it pays to stick to your diet.
Slung into a set of corners the car feels lighter on its feet than most rivals, with solid balance and sharp, accurate steering.
It’s no hot hatch, but it’s more talented than most owners will ever need, and shows your family bus needn’t be a soul-destroying bore to drive.
The 3008 is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Maintenance is required every 12 months or 20,000km.
Peugeot’s capped-price plan will see you pay a combined $2639 to service the 3008 GT Sport over five years.
It won’t be for everyone, but the 3008 GT Sport is an excellent mid-sized SUV, and justifies its price tag.
For the most part, it has the substance to match its style. The interior is gorgeous (but frustrating at times), and it drives like a premium car, for the most part.
It’s just a shame Peugeot hasn’t seen fit to give it a touch more power, and all-wheel drive in non-hybrid form.
It would elevate what’s already a brilliant left-field option into something capable of giving BMW and Audi some sleepless nights at mainstream prices.
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