One smug Pug
It would be nice to think that the editorial team at What Car?, one of Europe’s most respected motoring magazines, logs on to Friends and alloys each week to see what’s what in the world of cars.However, word has it that their resources are somewhat greater than ours so when they named their 2010 car of the year it was us who took notice.This year, the Peugeot 3008 Crossover (pictured) has taken their top spot and Darren Webber, of AJ Blackler, Torquay, lent me one to find out why.A family hatch with the looks of an SUV, the 3008 runs the risk of being a jack of all trades, master of none. It avoids that trap by a country mile.Roomy, well-built and extremely comfortable, it’s also well-mannered on the road and a joy to drive.I don’t know what Peugeot has done to the 1.6 HDi diesel engine the 3008 shares with my Picasso but it’s like a different and much better unit altogether.Free revving and willing, together with the six-speed manual gearbox fitted to the test car, it makes a brilliant case for itself.Power, refinement and plenty of miles from each gallon.The electronic handbrake is also a marvel. Touch it once when pulling up and then just forget it and drive away again when ready.If diesel’s not your thing there’s a choice of petrols offering either 120 bhp (cheapest to buy) or 150 bhp if you want some real go, go, go.Practicality isn’t in short supply either courtesy of a split tailgate, easy-fold seats and a number of cubby holes.Touches of class are provided by such niceties as a panoramic glass roof, built in sat nav and a genuinely useful head up display which provides key information directly in the driver’s line of sight.A large central console between the front seats not only houses a huge air conditioned storage box but provides a wonderful arm rest immediately adjacent to the gear stick.Every time I settled down behind the wheel in the 3008 I found myself thinking just how great it would be to take the car for a seriously long run.In fact, given the job the 3008 is designed to do, it’s hard to fault at all.The looks? Well, beauty’s in the eye of the beholder and I’d say chunky was a fair enough description. And a pale grey cloth interior? Think I’d go for something a bit more family-friendly myself.Prices for the 3008 start at around £16,000 which is competitive enough; even the Exclusive I drove can be had for just under £19,000. My only worry about the car is that if I worked for Peugeot I reckon the job of trying to sell the similarly priced 308 SW estate has just got a whole lot harder.