New Peugeot 3008 Crossover is so much more

Every now and then a car that offers a different perspective comes along. The new Peugeot 3008 Crossover is the latest example. Peugeot place it at a crossroads among an SUV, an MPV, and a hatchback, which probably is not too far off the mark. Yet, that does not even paint the full picture. You see, if you or I were to picture our favourite model in each of those segments and try to roll them into one vehicle, I bet we couldn't, and that why this new car is more than a crossover.

The architecture of the 3008 successfully combines a single-compartment body shape with elements borrowed from the world of the SUV, such as its lower tailgate, its plunging side windows, and raised driving position. The vehicle remains compact with an overall vehicle length of 4,365m, width of 2,113m (mirrors open ), and height of 1,639m.

Sure it is practical and versatile too, as well as delivering a very nice drive. But to top it all, it has been styled to get our attention - more as a new style icon than a chunky new model.

Inside the higher driving position is excellent. There is high level of perceived quality, both visually and to the touch. The cabin offers generous space, is extremely comfortable, and is bright and airy thanks to the optional large glass roof. The “multiflex” seat configuration can be converted at will to offer a perfectly flat floor from the lower tailgate to the fascia panel to house bulky objects.

Access to the 3008 boot space is made easy by the split tailgate. The boot area can easily be compartmentalised thanks to the cleverly designed floor with its three adjustable positions. The load area has an uninterrupted width of 1,030mm and a capacity of 512 litres or 1604 litres with the rear seats folded.

The 3008 features both Peugeot’s new dynamic roll control and grip control systems. The DRC is fitted to the rear suspension, a first for this segment which will set new standards in terms of body roll control. Interestingly, the GC system consists of an advanced traction control system and special mud and snow tyres, optimising traction of both front wheels for off-road driving. The driver controls the system by means of a knob with five settings: standard, snow, off-road (mud/dirt/wet grass ), sand, and ESP off.

The 3008 benefits from good active and passive safety features combined with the latest technology to provide the best possible protection for all its occupants. The structure and restraint systems are designed to achieve a five-star rating under the strict new 2009 Euro NCAP standards. Six airbags are available combined with five three-point inertia reel seatbelts and an audible fasten seat belt warning system. The two outer rear seats are also fitted with Isofix child seat mountings.

To add to the safety of all its occupants, the driver can benefit from technology that is rarely seen in this market segment to include a head up display, distance alert (helps the driver respect a safe distance between the vehicle in front according to speed ), automatic electric parking brake, hill assist, as well as a range of telematic systems with satellite navigation.

To minimise emissions, fuel consumption, and running costs, Peugeot’s most efficient petrol and diesel engines have been chosen, while the vehicle weight has been kept to a minimum thanks to the use of lightweight materials. To further reduce weight, the thickness of the panoramic glass roof has been reduced to just 5mm without compromising safety - laser welding has been used instead of normal spot welding and the front overhang minimised with the introduction of an innovative new type of impact absorber.

I drove both the 1.6 litre petrol and diesel versions over a two-day global press launch. Both were excellent and complemented the size and weight of the 3008. It handled really well and ride comfort did not disappoint.

While admitting there is no direct competitor, Peugeot is targeting the big selling Quasqai with a proposed Irish price somewhere between €1,000 and €2,000 more than the compact Nissan Crossover. Peugeot believes its more up-market interior and comfort levels will more than make up for that level of premium. Other models being targeted include the Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Renault Koleos. Even Mazda CX-7 owners could look at trading down dramatically.

The 3008 Crossover will be the group’s first vehicle to be equipped with diesel hybrid technology. The commercial launch of this four-wheel drive hybrid Crossover with a 2-litre HDi diesel is planned by 2011.

Exact Irish prices and specifications (probably two levels ) for the new Peugeot 3008 Crossover will be announced closer to the launch. I apologise for whetting your appetite to see and get behind the wheel of the new 3008 Crossover, because it will not get here until the final quarter of this year. Keep an eye out for it and just in case you forget, I will remind you.

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