The Peugeot 3008: A bloody awful car

The Peugeot 3008, big car and big bills!

Depending on when you read this, I either own a Peugeot 3008, or I used to own a Peugeot 3008. Regardless of when you read this though, you will find out how good this car is to live with in the long term. If you’re considering buying one of these, then skip to the conclusion if you want the TL:DR;. 

When I was growing up, my Dad would buy a Haynes manual whenever he bought a new car. If a light bulb needed changing or something else, he would study the book and then give it a crack himself. After I bought my first car (which was a lovely green Peugeot 306) I bought a Haynes manual for it. For any car I’ve been serious about, or had for any length of time, I’ve always bought the Haynes manual for it. Except for when I bought the Peugeot 3008, and God knows I could’ve done with it. 

In 2014 when I bought the car I could not understand why Halfords didn’t stock a manual for my Peugeot 3008. I went online afterwards, and still no joy. Even going on to the Haynes website resulted in zero matches for the car. I decided to send Haynes an email and ask why they didn’t make one. They replied: theres not enough Peugeot 3008’s on the road to justify publication of a manual. 

This should’ve told me everything I needed to know about the Peugeot 3008. But no. After 5 years of ownership I’ve come to the moment where I can cut my loses and get rid of it. And I’ve decided to tell you why you shouldn’t be like me and walk away from owning one.  

The following is all based on my experience of owning a 2010 Peugeot 3008 1.6 HDi Sport. I will do my best to go through the issues I had with it from the first issues to the last. So let’s get going.

Ergonomics? What’s the French for “Heard of it”?

The centre console of the Peugeot 3008 has a storage bin, which is problematic if you're in the UK.
Ah! A handy storage area! Well let me just open this…

The thing that attracted me to the car in the first place was how the driver is more or less cocooned while driving. The dashboard swoops down to the centre console and separates you from the passenger. A few reviews I read compared this to flying a jet, but I’d say it’s closer to the same experience you’d get driving a bus. The reviewers talking about the jet-like feeling were referring to the top of the range model. It comes complete with a head-up display unit and a row of switches like you’d find on a jet. My 3008 Sport is around about the base model of these cars, and has no such fancy options. 

But this wasn’t a deal breaker. It’s a nice place to be, comfortable, good view of the road in front of you. It’s the storage compartment in the centre console which is a killer. Peugeot designed this to open on a hinge, and for their domestic market it works. The driver opens it and the lid travels towards the passenger. They didn’t change the hinge for the UK market! So the lid opens towards the driver. This makes it problematic as you have to open it towards you, then contort your arm around the lid to find your CD. It was silly of me not to check this before I bought it. I didn’t even think because the first time I opened it I thought it opened backwards. You know, like any other normal car.  

The storage bin lid of the Peugeot 3008 opens up towards the driver, meaning it's difficult for the driver to see what's in there.
What do you mean it opens towards me? I can’t see what’s in there!

So at first it annoyed me. Now, though, it’s such a ball ache that I throw stuff in there that I never need to see again. But it’s also the home of the AUX port, which itself is a pain in the arse. I noticed, when I first bought it, that it didn’t work. It’s a 3.5mm jack, and the previous owner had closed the lid with a lead plugged in to it, breaking the socket. I got it fixed soon enough, but the lead can come loose for a multitude of reasons. Then you’re back to opening the lid up, not seeing what you’re doing, and fiddling with the lead to get it to work again.

“Build Quality” and “Peugeot”, never seen together before – or since

The car itself makes all the right noises. You close the door, there’s a reassuring dull thud. It sounds like a quality item. The steering wheel is leather which gives it a feel of luxury. The indicator stalks operate in a lovely, reassuring way. Everything, when you touch it to begin with, gives you confidence that this is a quality motor. Because of this, you should consider this Peugeot 3008 like an ex-partner. They promise you the world to begin with. Everything is new and exciting. But then the longer you’re together, the more you realise it’s all a sham. They have a secret gambling addiction and love vodka far more than they love you. It’s a waste of a life when you’ve made your bed, you’re laying in it, and you notice the cracks in the ceiling. 

It started when I notcied that the rear doors have small areas that were getting scrated. I couldn’t work out what it was, but it turns out the culprit was the rubber/plastic trim of the door. It’s such a silly thing, and it’s not something you notice in a 3 year old car. It’s only years later when that exposed metal turns brown to you notice the issue. This turns out to be a common problem as well, so Peugeot know about it but did nothing to it. A bit of tape could’ve fixed it, or better plastics and trim. But no, why would they do that? Far too much of a good idea to do that. 

Crap build quality and design is everywhere on this car. The gear knob, even after the stated 30,000 miles it had done when I got it, had worn thin. It’s the build up of dirt that hid this fact for a few weeks before I realised what had happened to the leather. And remember that lovely leather steering wheel I mentioned? Oh yeah, that delaminates from use. The top layer of material peels off like sunburnt skin. It ruins the look of the car inside and it ruins the feel of the car as well. Silly as it sounds, it went from feeling like a premium product to something cheap very, very quickly.

Dual Mass Flywheels – Not a Christian Rock Band

This particular incident left me incensed. Not 2 years in to ownership of this vehicle, and at about 59,998 miles, I’m tootling up a hill and the revs start going mental. A classic sign of imminent clutch failure. At 60,000 miles?! What the bleedin’ hell?! The perils of modern car ownership I suppose. It’s when I called Peugeot for a quote on fixing the clutch – £1,400. It wasn’t even April 1st! What made it worse was that I was buying a house at the time, so a knackered clutch was all I needed. I was then told about a backstreet place that would do it, and it cost me £600 in the finish. Still £600 more than what I had – or even expected to pay – on this car but it got it fixed.  

When I got back the car back, the mechanic didn’t seem very happy. Not only was the clutch buggered, but the Dual Mass Flywheel (DMF) had failed as well. The job, in the end, cost him money. But with clutches and flywheels, you don’t know the depth of the job until you can see them.

Powered Arsehole Steering

This single thing annoyed got me to the point where I dumped the car at the foot of the driveway for 6 months. I was hoping some chav would take pity on the car and give it £5 of petrol and a lighter for it’s misery. But nope, didn’t get touched. But you would hope for such a thing if the car tried to kill you, wouldn’t you? 

Whilst performing a 3 point turn in a carpark, every single light on the dashboard came on. Even the ominous STOP light was flashing. On the little LCD screen on the centre console displayed the words “Steering Failure”. EH!? What? Why? I manhandled the car straight with all the beeping etc because I was in the way of everyone. I parked the car up and turned it off. Everything went silent. So I turn the car on again, and everything’s fine. Steering’s light, no error messages. That didn’t help explain why it was moaning like it was. 

I get back home and I pull up on the pavement to let the wife out, and I go to pull out again when again the warnings scream on! Steering’s gone dead, again. Except this time I’m halfway across the road and in actual danger. The car weighs about 1,500kg. For comparison, I own a Lada that weighs 1,000Kg with no power steering. Even with flat tyres that Lada was easier to steer than this big lump of scrap. I turned it off and on again, steering comes back and I turn the car around. The steering goes haywire for a THIRD time as I turn on to the driveway. I park it up and call a mechanic to sort it out. 

The first mechanic identified the issue that the steering pump had failed. He called Peugeot up and they demanded £800 for a replacement unit! Er, no. I can’t afford that. So I go online, I find the identical Peugeot and order a second hand unit for £80. Good bit of business I thought! I’ll take it to a second mechanic who MOT’s the car, and have him swap them over.  

Nope. It was the wrong one. Adding insult to injury, Peugeot demand you use a specific type of fluid costing £19 a litre. You need 2 litres of the stuff! You can notice a pattern here, can’t you? 

But, dear reader, it gets better! This mechanic identifies the specific issue with the car. The power steering pump in the Peugeot 3008 has an ECU attached to the power steering pump, and that’s on the fritz. The cost of fixing it? As in, not replacing it with an £800 or an £80 part from the wrong car? £350.  

I’ve had enough of this car now. I thought I’d just stick it on the bottom of my driveway and forget about it. It can rot there until I can get rid of it. That was until I stumbled on a forum post from someone with the same issue I had with the power steering. They suggested checking the front tyre pressures, and make sure they’re the same. The passenger side was slightly lower than the drivers side. I pumped them up to the same pressure, and guess what happened? The problem hasn’t occurred since!  

Think about this though. Think about the bright spark at Peugeot who designed the power steering system. They decided it was a good idea for the ECU should shut the unit down if the pressure between the two tyres wasn’t equal. That’s completely safe isn’t it?

No light at the end of the tunnel

Headlights bulbs. This Peugeot 3008 bloody loves headlight bulbs. It goes through them at a rate of knots. I end up changing them every, single, year. I’ve changed them with rubber gloves. I’ve changed them with the little bits of foam they come in. They still fail, so skin contact isn’t an issue. The brand of bulb isn’t an issue. Osram, Lucas, cheap bulbs from The Range, no difference. For whatever reason, every year without fail I will turn the car on at some point and a bulb will have blown.  

And that’s only on the front. At the rear, there are side lights that sit on to the boot lid. These have blown for bloody ages! But will remain blown for the rest of the time I own this car because of the trim I have to remove to get at the bulbs. Sure it ruins the look of the car, but I’m always in side it so I never see it. And it’s not an MOT fail, so who the hell cares?

Don’t tell the Americans, but I’ve got oil in my turbo

This is a long standing gripe of mine, and due to the costs involved I’ve never had them addressed. I’ve only ever owned one turbo car, and that was my first car. Coincidently, a Peugeot 1.9 XLdt (Registration P432 WFG – if you own it or know where it is, let me know!). That was a great machine and I should never have gotten rid of it. Anyway, the turbo was perfect on that car. This Peugeot, not so much. 

I’ve always thought there was something odd with it, and then I realise that the turbo has oil on the intake side. God knows why, it’s a seal or bearing, I don’t know and I don’t care. Well I cared enough to enquire how much it would be to get fixed, and it would cost the thick end of £1,000! But he also said it seemed fine, and I’d know it needed fixing long before it exploded. He never quite told me how I’d know, but so far it hasn’t done anything wrong. Bit of smoke, yes, but nothing has gone bang or sounds like it’s going to go bang yet. But it doesn’t instill confidence in the car when you’re on a long drive.

Three little words no one wants to hear: Diesel Particulate Filter

Now in fairness to this Peugeot 3008, this hasn’t been too much of an issue. But it’s like that tax bill you dread to find on your door mat. Or the thought of your faithful dog passing away at some point. It’s alright at the moment, but it could happen to turn round and bite you on the arse. That spectre of fear reared it’s head one night when I was driving home from work.  

The car became a bit sluggish, then suddenly a million lights lit up on the dashboard! The message on the centre console told me the particulate filter has become blocked. I slowed down to 40mph (which on a fast dual carriageway was about as slow as I dared). Like any sane person I kept driving until I got to a junction.  

I was in a queue for this junction, and the engine was still running. So I thought, if the DPF’s blocked, how much more damage could I do by revving it hard in the hope of clearing it? That’s exactly what I did, and in my rear view mirror I saw a cloud of black soot come from the back, covering the car behind me. But – everything was fine. The lights had gone and it hasn’t happened since.  

I even took it to a specialist to have some sort of liquid checked, but the fluid check was fine. And, for the record, the Peugeot gets a good kicking daily driving to and from work, so it gets a good thrashing!

Dietry requirements: Lots and lots of TYRES!

This has a little to do with how I drive the car, and more to do with it being a heavy front wheel drive car. But this Peugeot 3008 chews up tyres like no ones business. In the previous 12 months I’ve driven about 10,000 miles. In the depths of winter snow we received in February 2017 (yeah, I know) I put two brand new tyres on this Peugeot. Fast forward 12 months, they’re at the wear bar and need replacing. This happens yearly, regardless of what brand of tyre goes on it. I’ve had no name Chinese brands on the front, Michellin tyres on the front and Falken on the front. They are all spent by at least 10,000 miles. One year I had a pair of Imperial tyres on there that lasted 15,000 miles, but either way it’s a poor return on the vehicle.

It’s the economy stoopid! Or is it more that the computer says no?

The onboard computer of my Peugeot 3008 reckons I was averaging 41.4 mpg, but the reality was quite different.
41.4? Yeah, in your bra.

My final point in this long sorry saga of 5 years of Peugeot 3008 ownership, is the economy it provides. It’s a diesel, and it’s the 1.6 HDi 110 lump that PSA provide you with. The “official” figures Peugeot provide for this engine say that it returns 55.4mpg on a combined cycle. Around town, that drops to 43.5mpg – which is fair enough. Peugeot, as lovely as they are, provide an onboard computer that tells you what your fuel use is. After 6,000 miles of combined driving the computer tells me I’m averaging 41.3mpg. On the face of it, that’s not too bad. But I decided the one week to do it the ol’ fashioned way. The result? 35mpg. I owned a 20 year old 2.0 litre petrol Subaru Legacy that returned the same amount of economy! What gives?!  

The issue is two fold. The first is that the computer lies, it can’t tell you what your economy is. From speaking to a few people who have similar aged Peugeots, the computers just can’t count. The second issue is the car itself. I have more oil than the whole of Libya in my turbo. It’s not beyond doubt that there is a mechanical issue with the engine causing this sort of economy. Or lack of economy.

In Conclusion

Side on shot of my Peugeot 3008.
Comfortable, until you need something breaks. Or you need tyres. Or the power steering decides to stop working…

The TL;DR of this is just don’t bother your arse with such a hateful piece of French engineering. Sure, these are getting cheaper and on the outset look like good value for money. But remember the headline figures! £1,200 for a clutch and flywheel. £800 for a new power steering pump or £300 for your power steering pumps ECU to be refurbished. Yearly visits to Halfrauds to get your headlight bulbs replaced.  

This car just doesn’t return that sort of investment it’s looking to get from you. There are much better, reliable, cheaper to fix cars out there than this. Christ, even £500 for a crusty Jaguar would offer better value for money than this thing. 

Just avoid it.

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Peugeot 3008: A bloody awful car - Why you shouldn't buy one.
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Peugeot 3008: A bloody awful car - Why you shouldn't buy one.
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For over 5 years I owned and maintained a Peugeot 3008. In that time I came to loath it. I saw how much of a bodge job of design it was. And through that experience I tell you why you should leave this car well alone.
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My Wife Hates This Car
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