WHEN I take delivery of the Peugeot 3008 SUV (sports utility vehicle) I have a schedule planned.
It is going to Chichester, only 30 minutes from home, down the M27 and after that a more gruelling trip to Cornwall, some 240 miles away. This should give me a good idea of what this vehicle is about. Throw into the mix a trio of trouble: Harriett (6), Heidi (4) and Henry (1).
My little rascals get really excited when a vehicle is delivered and when they see the 3008 their eyes light up. The burgundy finish gets a thumbs up and we all like the black roof and smattering of chrome. Looking closer the rear section reminds me of the Range Rover Evoque but there’s also a hint of the ‘70s about it with the way the panel under the glass swooshes up in a sort of curve.
The chunky chrome exhausts at the rear and the black privacy glass, the large chrome grille at the front and the sizeable bonnet all help to give this mid-range SUV character.
And even some drivers of more expensive Land Rovers and Range Rovers double take, I notice. Inside it is dark due to the black roof fabric and dark interior trim. This is only really emphasised if, like me, you have been driving cars with large glass roofs. There’s a comfortable driving position and, as my son Henry makes me realise when he stands in front of it, it sits quite high up. Therefore, the driver enjoys a good view of the road ahead. All controls are close to hand and the finish of the 3008 is good although the bonnet feels a little tinny to me.
Equipped with engine start/stop this function pleasingly kicks in on a regular basis when stopping at traffic lights or when stuck in endless traffic jams but more of that later.
Our treks to Chichester go by without a hitch except for perhaps the reversing out of a tight parking space with a brick wall on the driver’s side. It becomes clear that there are blind spots and although the reversing camera does undoubtedly make life easier the driver still needs to proceed with extra caution when making tight manoeuvres.
It soon becomes clear that the load carrying capacity is not large enough for the Saunders family, which is disappointing in a vehicle of this size. The boot just isn’t big enough for the various paraphernalia required for little Master Saunders: pram, pushchair and travel cot. It might be best, like in some Volvos, if the thin spare emergency tyre were removed and replaced with a puncture repair kit. This would certainly make for a deeper boot. The pushchair, which folds pretty tightly, slides in beneath the girls’ feet in the rear while the pram and travel cot together with only two sets of luggage and some other smaller bags are crammed into the boot (with the parcel shelf removed). This tight space makes us travel lighter but it’s still a struggle.
We set off for Cornwall at 10am on a Monday morning and it quickly becomes clear that this is a bad decision. We have never seen so many roadworks and traffic jams. It takes three hours for us to travel the 70 miles from our home in Hampshire to Dorchester in Dorset. It is only meant to take us four hours to travel to Cornwall. So we are eventually able to stop to stretch our legs on the outskirts of Dorchester. And boy do we all need it.
For the past 30 minutes little Henry has been exercising his larynx and my head is about to explode. He sits in his car seat in the middle of the rear seats and has discovered that he can pull his shoes and socks off and throw them at the poor old driver. I don’t blame him at all; this traffic is hell on earth.
We watch as motorists ahead of us get out of their cars to do stretches or have a cup of tea. In fact one looks like they’re having a picnic. Britain’s roads just cannot cope. We really do start to wonder whether we should continue to Cornwall. After a nappy change and a quick feed Henry is shoehorned back into his car seat… begrudgingly. Back on the road we go. So far we have not had chance to see what the 3008 is capable of and hope that the traffic is now freer flowing. It is for a bit. We get into sixth gear and it starts returning over 50mpg. I discover the cruise control on the bottom left behind the steering wheel and quickly find it easy to operate.
We finally get to Portreath in Cornwall after travelling for eight-and-a-half hours, absolutely shrivelled. During this time we have sat in more traffic jams and experienced sunshine, driving rain and high winds. The latter does buffet our French friend but we arrive unscathed. During our time in this fine county, where we enjoy the odd pasty, we visit a number of fabulous beaches at Porthtowan and Portreath. During these travels we encounter Cornwall’s typically narrow and often hilly roads and the 3008 really has to be worked hard to get up some of them. On occasions it is such a struggle there is nothing for it but to use first gear.
Overall we have enjoyed our time with the Peugeot and although it is not perfect it does cope with family life and like an old friend, we all miss it.
Facts at a glance
Peugeot 3008 SUV GT Line BlueHDi 120 M6
Top speed: 188kph
Economy: 3.36 l/100km
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