Peugeot says it wants to be Europe’s leading manufacturer of electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025, with nine passenger cars and three new light commercials on the way. But we’ve become tired of these grandiose statements about an all-electric future from car makers so let’s unpick this one a little.
For a start, Peugeot’s parent company, Stellantis, owns a couple of handfuls of non-premium car marques including Vauxhall, Opel, Citroën, DS, Fiat, Lancia, Chrysler as well as Peugeot. The group sold 5.84 million vehicles last year, which makes it the world’s fourth largest car maker after Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai/Kia.
Stellantis shares its platforms and drivetrains, and is a master of the black art of badge engineering, so Peugeot isn’t on its own here; its costs are shared.
The other thing is that Peugeot isn’t doing this out of the goodness of its heart. The UK’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate means that next year 22 per cent of cars sold by each manufacturer must be fully electric, a total that will rise to 28 per cent in 2025, 33 power cent in 2026 and so on, ultimately reaching 80 per cent in 2030 and a total ban on combustion engine sales in 2035. A car maker that isn’t preparing to meet these deadlines is dead in the water.
Meet the family
So, the new 3008 family SUV will be one of many models that share the group’s new STLA Medium platform. It’s actually one of the smallest on this platform, which makes it slightly heavy for its size – 2,114kg for a car that is 4,542mm long. The battery weighs 500kg, which means that the electric version is getting on for being half a ton heavier than the 1.2-litre 48V hybrid 3008, which arrives later next year.
From its launch early next year, the 3008 will come with a 73kWh battery that’s good for a 326-mile WLTP range, priced from £45,850 for the base Allure trim and £49,650 in top GT trim. There will also be a long-range, 98kWh model with dual motors for all-wheel drive and a WLTP range of 435 miles arriving later in 2024, along with that 1.2-litre full hybrid and a plug-in hybrid variant. So, by the end of next year, you’ll be able to buy the Peugeot 3008 as a full electric, plug-in hybrid or full hybrid, for the full line-up of electrification options to take on rivals like the Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, Renault Scenic E-Tech and Ford Kuga.
For this launch in Spain, our only choice was the front-wheel drive, standard range 207bhp E-3008 in GT trim, which managed a 270 mile real-world range on the relatively mild mountain route.
This means that efficiency on that day was just 3.7m/kWh against the published 4.47m/kWh, which isn’t terrible but isn’t great, either. Yet we know this spanking-new Stellantis Group battery/motor/inverter combination can be very economical, so are left wondering what the contribution of weight and steep inclines made to this only average figure.
Style and cabin
OK, so there’s a limited amount you can do to a family SUV to make it stand out in the car park and the fastback shape certainly helps make the 3008 a bit more exciting than the common herd. Apparently, it’s not a coupe as the more upright C pillars at the back of the cabin allow ample head room in the rear seats.
The front is also distinctive with a waterfall of cascading lights, a reverse sloping grille and those daytime running light “teeth”. Viewed from directly behind, however, the hatchback looks generic and – dare we say? – a bit boring. To these eyes, at least, the E-3008 doesn’t sell itself to the cars behind it in the traffic jam.
Climb in (and you have to climb) and you find a high seating position, a new curved dash layout with an oblong, curved instrument binnacle and touchscreen and some electronic ‘tile’ shortcut buttons protruding from lower down the dash.
While the screens and switches look a bit too shiny and plasticky, the rest of the fascia is lovely with a cloth trim base, meeting an upright, punched-aluminium wraparound trim panel. As you drive into the dusk the holes in the aluminium glow brighter and the effect is quite charming, giving the interior a far more upmarket feel than the competition.
The seats are quite comfortable and supportive at first, but there’s something not quite right about the lumbar support which, despite being adjustable, starts to feel uncomfortable after an hour or two.
With a big sunroof and windows, plus the high driving position, the views out to the front are not bad, but the huge windscreen- and B-pillars obscure views to the side, and the vestigial porthole window in the rearmost pillar is no help at all if you are over-the-shoulder checking.
In the back, there’s enough room for one six-footer to sit behind the other. The front seats sit low, however, so rear-seat passengers won’t be able to slot their feet under the front seats. The rear-seat backs fold in a 40/20/40 split onto their bases and the generous 520-litre boot space is nearly flat with a large space under the floor for cables.
We are now several generations into Peugeot’s i-Cockpit layout, which features a small, low-mounted steering wheel and an instrument binnacle that sits above the top of the wheel. I hated it, originally, preferring the wheel to be much higher than the layout allowed without obscuring the speedo; even Peugeot admitted that it was a “Marmite proposition” when it first appeared. Yet in this new model, the high seating position and high-mounted screen allows a clear view of the readout even if you’ve got the wheel in its top position, so full marks there.
As software is supposed to be the bee’s knees of modern motoring, Peugeot spent some time telling us of all the benefits. For sure this is an improvement on what’s gone before, with customisable toggle buttons and tiles on the screen which can access functions quickly. Once set up with your chosen shortcuts, you can get to the features and settings that you want with fewer keystrokes, but there are still levels of finger pointing, swiping and separate responses to two and three finger touches which are going to confound all but the digital ninjas in our world.
Safety is covered with the usual accompaniment of airbags and crash zones, but also a panoply of camera and radar systems, which brake and will even steer if collision is determined inevitable. There’s also the mandated lane-keeping systems (annoying) and bonging and binging speed limit alert (very annoying), which every manufacturer must now provide. Thankfully, with practice both these can be switched off fairly easily.
On the road
Brisk rather than super fast, the E-3008 has more than enough alacrity for family transport duties, so overtaking is easy and safe, with none of the scrabbling wheels that some rivals suffer from when you stand on the accelerator. There’s also little reaction to the motor’s torque at the steering wheel rim and the brakes are powerful and refined with a seamless mix of regeneration and friction braking and a firm pedal with a decent enough grab at the top of the travel. You can alter the lift-off brake regeneration via steering wheel-mounted paddles, slowing in three stages.
At motorway speeds the E-3008 feels stable, refined and quiet and the stereo sounds clear and precise.
On the GT’s 20-inch wheels, the ride feels soft at first, with well-managed body control in a straight line and gentle corners. There’s a lot of anti-roll in the chassis, though, so if you go faster or corner harder, the ride firms up and feels less well controlled.
While the steering is precise, the assistance is inconsistent with an over-light and disconnected feeling as you turn away from the straight ahead, followed by a firm resistance as the wheel is turned further. It doesn’t help you to place the car’s nose accurately into a corner, and if you just select the Sport setting, the weighting gets stronger, but this inconsistency remains.
Since its launch in 2008, and through two generations, the 3008 has kept the tills ringing at Peugeot thanks to its sharp design, decent ride and handling and good pricing. This all-new, third generation Peugeot E-3008 is pleasant enough to drive, but the use of the same platform that underpins the larger 5008 means that it’s heavy – especially the EV model.
While fleet buyers and those who run their cars through the books will find the tax advantages of the electric battery well nigh irresistible, private buyers might be tempted to save at least £11,200 and opt for the much cheaper hybrid version.
I, for one, wouldn’t blame them.
On test: Peugeot E-3008 Standard Range GT
Body style: Medium family SUV
On sale: Now, with first deliveries in early 2024
How much? From £45,850
How fast? 105mph/0-62mph in 8.7sec
How economical? At best 4.47m/kWh (WLTP combined), on test 3.7m/kWh
Electric powertrain: 73kWh (net) lithium-ion NMC battery; single synchronous permanent-magnet AC electric motor, front-wheel drive
Electric range: 326 miles (WLTP combined), 270 miles on test
Charge times: 20-80 per cent charge on 160kW DC charger, 20 minutes. 60mins on a 50kW DC charger. On a 7.4kW wall box 10-100 per cent in 9hrs 52mins
Maximum power/torque: 207bhp/253lb ft
CO2 emissions: 0g/km (tailpipe), 28.8g/km (well-to-wheels)
Warranty: 3 years / 100,000 miles
The headline price buys you a 48kWh battery and 234 miles of WLTP range. To get on terms with the Peugeot you need to spend at least £38,540 to get the 65kWh battery and 319 miles of range along with a 107mph top speed and 0-62mph in 7.8sec, rising to £43,040 for the top spec model. Nicely finished and well appointed, there’s also a five-year warranty on the vehicle and eight years and 100,000 miles on the battery.
Strange and heavy (2.2 tons), but quite effective combination of petrol engine and battery which always uses electricity to drive the front wheels. You don’t get the tax advantages of a pure electric though and fuel consumption is only 54.3mpg. It’s a sort of electric car for those that don’t want to charge up. Qashqai, however, remains one of the UK’s favourite cars and is also built in Britain.