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THE PEUGEOT 3008 was first in­tro­duced at the 2008 Paris Mo­tor Show and to the Bri­tish press in Croa­tia where­upon ini­tial re­ports were al­most uni­ver­sally praise­wor­thy, but many seemed a lit­tle un­sure about ex­actly what they’d been driv­ing.

It looks like a con­ven­tional mini-MPV but its man­u­fac­tur­ers seemed keen to po­si­tion it as one of the trendy cross­over ve­hi­cles pop­u­larised by the Nis­san Qashqai.

When the 3008 went on sale in the UK it sold in steady if not spec­tac­u­lar num­bers, buoyed by press re­views and word of mouth from own­ers. Sized half­way be­tween a 308 hatch and es­tate car, the 3008 is built on Peugeot’s Plat­form Two chas­sis, which is the ba­sis for the 308 and the big­ger 5008 MPV.

One of the more tan­ta­lis­ing show cars was a diesel elec­tric hy­brid model, dubbed the Hy­brid4. This was re­vealed as a pro­duc­tion model in late 2011, with a 2.0-litre diesel en­gine pow­er­ing the front wheels and a tiny elec­tric mo­tor pow­er­ing the rears. It also fea­tured a new grille which re­duced the 3008’s ric­tus-like grin a lit­tle. The 3008 is cer­tainly an in­ter­est­ingly de­signed car. The rear tail­gate is split like that of the 4007 SUV, so while the top sec­tion lifts up like a hatch, the bot­tom one drops down to form a con­ve­nient load­ing plat­form that can hold 200kg.

To­tal boot space is a very large 512-litres, up to 1,604 litres when the rear seats are folded down.

The seat­ing is raised up higher than that of a nor­mal hatch­back, mim­ick­ing one of the traits that’s most pop­u­lar with buy­ers choos­ing com­pact 4x4 ve­hi­cles. There’s also a large glazed area to as­sist fur­ther with vis­i­bil­ity. An op­tional glass roof like the one found on the 308 SW es­tate can fur­ther in­crease the amount of light mak­ing its way into the cabin.

Peugeot is par­tic­u­larly proud of the air­con­di­tion­ing sys­tem on the 3008. It fea­tures an air-qual­ity sen­sor that closes off the in­flow of air from out­side the car if high lev­els of pol­lu­tion are de­tected, re­cal­cu­lat­ing the air that’s al­ready in­side. The 3008 should be a rea­son­ably re­li­able propo­si­tion. There have been a few re­ports of is­sues with the au­to­matic hand­brake and the rear park­ing sen­sors but oth­er­wise it seems a solid pur­chase.

Check for the usual ur­ban scars of kerbed al­loys and park­ing dints and make sure the ser­vic­ing record is in check and the ba­sic flu­ids are in range and the tyres aren’t un­evenly worn as the 3008 is sus­cep­ti­ble to front sus­pen­sion mis­align­ment if it’s banged up and

down kerbs. Peugeot put the best of its en­gine range from the 2009 to 2014 pe­riod to work in the 3008. That means 2.0-litre and 1.6-litre HDi diesels plus 1.6-litre VTi and THP petrols.

If we take the diesel op­tions first, there’s a 112bhp Euro5 1.6-litre unit at the base of the range that’s avail­able with the stan­dard sixspeed man­ual gear­box or Peugeot’s clever elec­tron­i­cally-con­trolled clutch­less sys­tem.

Next come the 2.0-litre op­tions pack­ing 150bhp and 163bhp. The more pow­er­ful of th­ese comes with a con­ven­tional sixspeed au­to­matic.

Petrol buy­ers can take either the 120bhp 1.6-litre VTi en­gine and its fivespeed man­ual trans­mis­sion or step on to the tur­bocharged 1.6-litre THP which de­vel­ops 150bhp. The Peugeot 3008 works ex­tremely well. The longer you spend with the car, the more you’ll re­spect its qual­i­ties.

The prob­lem is putting bums on seats in the first place, as the styling cer­tainly di­vides opin­ions and has less SUV cues about it than Peugeot per­haps re­alises.

As a used buy it makes a good deal of sense, be­cause resid­ual val­ues are a lit­tle soft, es­pe­cially in the face of dis­count­ing from new, so you should be able to turn up a bar­gain.

A well looked af­ter car that hasn’t been rav­aged by pro­longed kids-just­wanna-have-fun ex­po­sure should make a very smart pur­chase.

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