Can handsome looks, an impressive turn of speed and 50km of electric-only running justify the 3008 PHEV’s $80K price?
There is a wealth of midsize SUVs on the market right now and many of them could be accused of being rather dull. Not so the Peugeot 3008, which after its facelift in early 2021 looks seriously dramatic especially from the front where the French carmaker appears to have employed a giant robotic cat to slice its claws across and down the 3008’s fascia.
The 3008’s facelift also saw updated specification levels including the addition of the GT Sport trim level that has matte black exterior badging, gloss black 19-inch alloy wheels and dark grille trim – but the biggest news for 2022 was the arrival of the Peugeot 3008 GT Sport plug-in hybrid, which promises 56km of electric-only driving range (WLTP) from a 10.4kWh battery paired to front and rear electric motors – making the PHEV the only 3008 with AWD.
The 3008 isn’t the only new plug-in hybrid from Peugeot to land in Australia: the 508 large car ($76,990) which shares EMP2 underpinnings with the 3008 also scores an electrified powertrain. The 3008, which kicks off at $47,240, has the bigger potential though, with 1172 sales in 2021 it was easily Peugeot’s most popular model.
So does the hybrid system make the 3008 a bonafide Toyota RAV4 hybrid killer? Returning just $10 from an $80,000 cheque – not really. It’s more of a rival to the plug-in Lexus NX 450h+ ($89,900) or the Volvo XC40 Recharge ($76,990). Peugeot is a slightly upmarket French brand but not a luxury car company, so how does the 3008 play at this much higher price point?
Working together, the 3008’s 1.6-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder engine and two electric motors produce 222kW of power and 520Nm of torque. That’s good enough for a claimed 5.9sec 0-100km/h sprint, outgunning the Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI R-Line by 0.7sec.
With all that grunt you might expect the Peugeot to have an edgy character but around town the 3008 is a total puppy dog with relaxed throttle response that soothes the driver.
Especially impressive is the pace in EV mode with the front (81kW/320Nm) and rear (83kW/166Nm). Some PHEVs feel very weak in electric-only mode thanks to super-modest motors – not so the Peugeot, which is more than grunty enough to keep up with traffic when running only on electric power.
Only when you shift the toggle switch into Sport and nail the throttle does the 3008 reveal a hidden personality which is not so much eco-warrior but a bit of a maniac you could almost call a performance SUV … At least when there’s charge in the battery.
In essence, the 3008 – and any plug-in hybrid – requires diligent charging to extract its best aspects. You can drive a 3008 PHEV with a depleted battery, but it’s a slower, louder, thirstier experience.
With no juice left in the hybrid battery, the 3008 relies mainly on its 147kW/300Nm 1.6-litre turbo – nearly halving its performance potential. Regenerative braking provides a trickle of power to the hybrid system but it’s nothing like having a replenished battery.
That means the PHEV doesn’t outdo the torquey 3008 diesel for those regularly doing long distances, but the 3008 hybrid will suit suburban and city-dwellers who can commit to regular charging.
The 440kg of hybrid gubbins may have dulled acceleration in combustion-engine-only mode, but a successful suspension retune means this hasn’t harmed the Peugeot’s signature silky ride. This is one of the key reasons to buy a French car after all, and the 3008 delivers, dispatching inner Sydney’s pot holes, speed bumps and concrete expansion joints without protest.
Soft rides tend to equal floppy handling, but the 3008’s damping is exquisite and this midsize SUV stays composed on testing country roads. Reach deeper into its talents through the finger-light hexagonal wheel and you’ll find some remains of the 205 GTi’s (1984-94) soul as the 3008 pivots its rear end out to help trim the line through a tightening corner.
For the plug-in hybrid 3008 Peugeot used the multi-link rear suspension from the 508. This has the benefit of giving each rear wheel greater independence to track the road and gives the hybrid an even better ride than the torsion beam-equipped GT Sport 1.6 ($59,840).
Perhaps surprisingly then, the 3008 hybrid is a true driver’s SUV, one that gets better the harder you drive it… Except for the brake pedal that has a wooden feel at the point of transition from maximum energy regen to physical caliper-biting-rotor retardation.
The 3008 scored a five star ANCAP result in 2017 with adult and child occupant protection scores in the high 80 percent range. However it was marked down for its lack of high-speed AEB and scored 58 percent against the safety systems criteria.
The GT Sport hybrid is equipped with a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise, lane-centering system, blind-spot monitoring and city-speed AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection. The smart driving tech is tuned well and is rarely intrusive, but at this price, we would expect to see features such as junction and reverse AEB fitted standard to the 3008.
The 3008 has all of the technology on paper to be competitive with the Kia Sportage GT-Line ($50,990 driveaway) including a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display with navigation, a 10-inch central touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a wireless charging pad.
Peugeot’s software isn’t very user-friendly or powerful, and the low resolution maps are hard to use, so you end up relying mainly on smartphone mirroring. The HVAC controls are also in the touchscreen, but there is a handy shortcut button (shaped like a cat’s claw – a theme Peugeot has really committed to) just below and temperature controls for the dual zone climate control flank Apple CarPlay at all times.
Because the 3008 PHEV is only available in high-spec GT Sport guise, buyers also nab a 10-speaker Focal stereo which has attractive silver garnishes on the speakers and while it had powerful bass, we found the audio quality somewhat thin and tinny in the upper registers.
The cabin materials are really excellent though and the 3008 has a feeling of sturdiness and class that was not associated with French cars of a decade ago. There is a soft dash topper, fairly convincing wood trim and even the hard plastics below the beltline have a pleasant-to-touch grain.
With space for a 1.5-litre and 1.0-litre water bottle to sit together in each door card and deep centre bin perfect for handbags or more water bottles the 3008 is also extremely practical.
The 3008’s seats are ensconcing, supportive and upholstered in classy nappa leather with heating for both front passengers, though only the driver gets (a rather excellent) massage function and electric adjustment, while the passenger makes do with lowly manual fore-aft and backrest with no lumbar. We also reckon fan-cooled seats should be included at this price.
One thing you’ll need to get used to is Peugeot’s driving position with the 3008’s digital instruments up high in the eye-line (which goes some way to making up for a lack of head-up display) and tiny hexagonal steering wheel that makes sense in practice, if not when you first sit inside.
The rear quarters are dark owing to the GT Sport’s black headlining and privacy glass but space is generous with plenty of head, leg and toe room for someone up to 188cm tall. The standard panoramic sunroof also reaches far enough back to give the middle seat passenger a headroom boost so the 3008 is a five-person friendly SUV.
A flip-down armrest with a pair of cup holders, two USB-A ports, a 12-volt socket and adjustable rear air-vents are all nice touches, but it’s a shame the 3008’s door tops revert to hard plastic.
The boot offers 529-litres of space which is enough for 36 soccer balls though it’s smaller than the GT Sport 1.6’s 591-litre space. Unfortunately, the snazzy bag that Peugeot includes for the home charging cable does not fit under the boot floor (though it could be 5 percent smaller and fit no problem!) With the batteries under the rear seat and floor there is no spare tyre in the 3008 hybrid.
The 3008 hybrid’s fuel consumption is rated at 1.6L/100km in ADR 81/02 combined protocol. With the 10.4kWh battery charged, that’s pretty accurate and we averaged 1.2L/100km in a 50km hybrid run.
When the battery ran out and the 3008 ran in self-charging mode the fuel consumption dropped to 5.1L/100km over a 200km run. That’s roughly equal to a RAV4 hybrid in similar conditions.
Additionally, the 3008 has the benefit of being able to cover about 50km (in our real-world testing, 56km according to the WLTP cycle) on electric power alone. We recorded 29.9kWh while running in electric mode.
Those cars also charge far more quickly than the 3008 hybrid which is limited to just 3.7kW AC charging using a Type 2 plug. That means a 0-100 percent charge time of 5.5 hours so you’ll really need either a place at home or work to charge the 3008 as public charging won’t suit its extended charging times.
Most buyers that gel with this car will have three-pin or AC wallbox access in their home garage or in an office carpark.
Unlike Tesla and Polestar electric cars, which work on condition-based servicing models, the 3008 needs to visit the dealer every 12 months or 20,000km for a total cost of $3108 over five years or 100,000km.
Compare the 3008 to a Toyota RAV4 Edge hybrid ($1150) or the Mitsubishi Outlander ($995) (which will offer a PHEV powertrain soon in Australia), and the Peugeot starts to look rather expensive to run.
The warranty is five years/unlimited kilometres for the 3008 and the battery warranty runs for eight years/160,000km.
The Peugeot 3008 plug-in hybrid isn’t just gruntier than its petrol-only siblings: it’s more sophisticated and refined too, thanks to its silent electric-only running potential and independent rear suspension.
Yet the 3008 is a difficult sell when it comes to value. Not necessarily because of its $79,990 list price, but because it lacks the luxuries that $50K rivals offer such as front seat ventilation and electric adjustment for the passenger.
But the 3008 GT Sport PHEV hits back with a tremendous driving experience that boasts plenty of suspension compliance without sacrificing control or enjoyable dynamics. The seat comfort and cabin build quality are also excellent.
Clearly, then, the 3008 plug-in hybrid isn’t meant to be a volume rival to Australia’s favourite RAV4 hybrid, but it is a worthy and slightly more affordable alternative to luxury PHEVs like the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Lexus NX 450h+.
Lexus has mastered ‘self-charging’ hybrid powertrains – so how does the luxury brand’s first plug-in hybrid perform? We test the new NX 450h+ SUV to find out
Toyota has expanded its updated 2022 RAV4 line-up with a Hybrid version of the adventure-flavoured Edge – taking the number of RAV4 Hybrid variants to nine
Key specs (as tested)
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