David Motton

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Funky looks and great space for your touring kit make the latest Peugeot 3008 stand out on paper, but what tow car ability does it have? Read on!

Overview

The old Peugeot 3008 crossover looked more MPV than SUV.

The new model looks much tougher and more distinctive – it’s available with only front-wheel drive, but it has plenty of 4x4 styling cues.

This is a new car under the skin, too, promising to be better to drive while delivering excellent fuel economy and low emissions.

We’re here to test the BlueHDi 120 in GT Line spec, to see what tow car ability it has – it’s priced at £27,345.

First and foremost, we want to know how well the 3008 tows.

As always, stability is the quality we value most, but is the compact 1.6-litre engine up to the job of towing?

We also want to discover if the latest Peugeot 3008 makes a practical everyday car.

Towing

Peugeot quotes a very low kerbweight of just 1300kg for this model.

Even adding 75kg for the driver, which isn’t included in Peugeot’s published figure, gives a modest kerbweight of 1375kg.

To abide by the 85% matching guideline, as recommended for newcomers to towing in particular, your tourer will have to weigh no more than 1169kg.

The legal towing limit is 1500kg, and the noseweight is 80kg.

We matched the Peugeot to a Swift Expression 484 with a Mass in Running Order of 1106kg. Our big concern was whether the 3008’s engine would be up to the job.

With 118bhp, it’s not especially powerful, and there’s a relatively modest 221lb ft of torque.

For similar money there are plenty of crossovers and SUVs with more powerful engines.

However, there proved to be enough punch to tow the Swift caravan at a respectable pace.

In fact, the 30-60mph time of 15.8 seconds suggests that it wouldn’t be overwhelmed towing something a little heavier. We had no trouble holding speed on hills, or keeping up with motorway traffic.

There’s enough mid-range pull to avoid the need for frantic gearchanges, and the engine noise doesn’t become too intrusive when it is worked hard.

We had no trouble pulling away on a 1-in-10 slope. The electronic parking brake held car and caravan still every time.

It then released smoothly and the car pulled to the top of the hill without drama.

Stability-wise, the Peugeot 3008 gave little cause for complaint. At a steady 60mph it felt reassuringly solid.

Overtaking high-sided vehicles and sudden gusts of wind did nothing to put the car off its stride.

At the test track we took the 3008 up to 70mph – well beyond the legal maximum on the motorway – without any trouble.

The Peugeot handled the lane-change test well, too. The steering is light and the car leans more than some rivals such as the Seat Ateca, but even with the caravan beginning to move around behind it, the 3008 stuck to its course.

In an emergency stop, the Peugeot’s brakes proved to be powerful and responsive. The car’s stopping distance of 10.1 metres from 30mph is short, and it pulled up cleanly with no shunting from the caravan.

So, the Peugeot can handle itself with a tourer in tow, and the 1.6-litre engine is strong enough for a lightweight caravan.

However, it is very light compared with other tow cars at this price point, and unlike some rivals there’s no 4x4 version.

If you own a heavier tourer but like the look of the 3008, there are two more powerful diesel engines available, one with 148bhp and a manual gearbox, and another with 178bhp and an automatic ’box.

The 148bhp car has a 1500kg kerbweight and a 2000kg max towing limit, so it’s better suited to pulling heavier caravans.

The 178bhp car has a kerbweight of 1540kg and a 1700kg limit.

But, provided you own a light van, you should be happy towing with the BlueHDi 120.

Everyday driving

Peugeot has been undergoing something of a renaissance in recent years, with a more distinctive model range, and more polished ride and handling.

The 3008 continues that trend, which is good to know now we have seen what tow car talent this car has.

The steering doesn’t offer a huge amount of feedback, but the car handles tidily. Press the ‘Sport’ button and the steering weights up and the throttle response quickens.

But even then, the 3008 is not as sharp to drive as a Seat Ateca. Some will prefer the Seat’s sportier feel, but plenty of other drivers (and especially their passengers) will welcome the Peugeot’s more supple approach to imperfect road surfaces.

The Peugeot can sometimes be caught out by a sharp bump, especially mid-corner, but otherwise the blend of comfort and control is very impressive.

It’s a quiet car as well as a comfortable one. The engine can sound a little clattery, but the noise is always distant and subdued.

And the 1.6-litre engine is much less coarse at high revs than most diesels. Wind and road noise are also kept in reasonable bounds, making the 3008 a fine choice for long journeys.

It drives well around town, too. However, over-shoulder visibility is poor – just as well front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera are standard.

The gearshift feels rather clunky, too, but we could live with it.

Space

If the outside of the 3008 is striking, the interior is even more so.

Peugeot calls the design the i-Cockpit, with dials replaced by a digital screen that you view over the top of the small steering wheel rather than through it.

There are few buttons and switches, with most systems controlled via the sharp and clear touchscreen.

The design takes a little getting used to, but it’s a concept Peugeot has steadily refined over a succession of models and it works increasingly well.

The small steering wheel may seem like a gimmick at first, but spend a week with it and a regular-sized wheel feels like it belongs in a bus.

Travel in the front and there’s plenty of head- and legroom, even though the panoramic sunroof (a £990 option) does steal a little headroom.

But unless you are very tall and prefer to sit with the driver’s seat set high, it shouldn’t prove to be a problem.

The back of the car isn’t so spacious. There’s enough headroom but the Peugeot has noticeably less rear legroom than, say, a Seat Ateca.

However, there are air vents between the front seats, and there’s lots of storage both front and rear.

While it’s not the roomiest for passengers, it is one of the most practical in terms of boot space.

There’s 591 litres with the rear seats upright. That beats the Nissan Qashqai (430 litres), Renault Kadjar (472 litres) and Seat Ateca (510 litres).

A two-tier boot floor is standard, so the floor can be level with the tailgate for easy loading with hidden storage, or set lower for one large space.

Running costs

The list price of £27,345 puts this particular model up against some very capable competition.

For example, for just £615 more you could buy a high-spec Seat Ateca with another 30bhp and four-wheel drive.

The stiff list price makes it all the more important that you should haggle. According to What Car?, you should be able to get it down to £26,014.

At least you won’t spend much at the pumps. The Peugeot 3008 has an official combined economy figure of 65.7mpg – we achieved an excellent 32.4mpg while towing on A-roads and motorways.

Your money buys a comprehensive list of standard kit, including dual-zone climate control, heated door mirrors, cruise control, a rear-view camera, DAB digital radio, a six-speaker stereo, wireless phone charging and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The car also comes with a lengthy roster of safety kit, which has earned it a five-star rating from Euro NCAP.

After three years and 36,000 miles on the road, What Car? estimates the car will be worth 44% of the original list price. That’s a reasonable return.

The 3008 is a well equipped, safe and economical car, but the price is stiff in this spec.

Technical specs

Engine size1560 cc
Kerbweight1375 kg
85% KW1169 kg
Towball limit80 kg
Maximum towing limit1500 kg
Power118.0 bhp
Torque221.0 lb ft
Official MPG65.7 mpg
CO2104 g/km
30-60mph15.8 seconds
30-0mph10.1 m

Verdict

The Peugeot 3008 is an excellent crossover and an able tow car. So, why only 3.5 stars?

In this specification it’s heavy on the wallet but light on the road, which means the Peugeot is a suitable match for a relatively narrow choice of caravans.

However, if you own a caravan that can be sensibly matched to this 3008, the BlueHDi 120 will tow it well.

The engine performs impressively given its relatively modest output, and the fuel economy it achieved makes it one of the most fuel-efficient tow cars we’ve tested recently.

It’s stable, too. It handled a 1106kg caravan comfortably at 10mph more than the legal motorway limit on our test track, which suggests that a slightly heavier van wouldn’t tax the 3008 unduly at legal speeds.

In everyday driving the Peugeot 3008 is relaxed and comfortable. The suspension combines a cosseting ride with tidy handling.

The likes of the Seat Ateca may be more engaging on a twisting country road, but otherwise we think the Peugeot’s more pliant ride quality will suit more drivers more of the time.

Inside, the 3008 makes most rivals look old-fashioned. Not everyone will take to the tiny steering wheel and ultra-modern cockpit design, but it actually works very well.

Rear-seat space is a little way off what some rivals offer, but luggage room is very good.

The price might be high, but the Peugeot comes with plenty of kit, both in terms of toys and safety equipment.

Weight and price aside, it’s one of the best crossovers.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Boot space is excellent
  • It's a stable, secure tow car
  • Fuel efficiency is good

Cons

  • It's front-wheel drive only
  • For the spec, it is pricey
  • It is quite light
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