Peugeot 3008

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The nice people at Hertz upgraded my rental car. A Peugeot 3008 – are you sure, I asked? Oh yes it’s a good car and it’s automatic, they said. That swung it for me – auto much easier on strange roads in southern Spain with lots of traffic and pedestrians running out etc.

As soon as I got to the car park, I knew it was a mistake, I mean ugly or what? It looks huge and well, weird, until you get inside when you realise it’s not that spacious, just bulky. The negative impression was reinforced when I tried to put the luggage in the boot. The boot is not only tiny, but it has a massive lip which means you need to go on a bodybuilding course to get a suitcase in it.

Slip behind the wheel and things seem better – auto lights, a rev counter, ok dash. But wait, as soon as you out your foot on the brake to edge out of the car parking space, the engine switches off – it has an economy function, which is cleverly programmed to create the maximum amount of angst – has it stalled or just switched off? And the first auto that I have driven without a P for park – no need as it has an electronic handbrake (this of course requires three attempts to switch in and off each time).

Swing out of the airport on to the motorway – the air conditioning is cold. But it seems to take most of the power from the engine. Gutless doesn’t describe it. I have gone on bicycles that felt faster, downhill admittedly. And every gear change is a drama, it changes up with a lurch that must be the worst slushbox since I drove one of the early production Smart cars. The fastest thing about this car was the windows.

It looks the part with the Ferrari-esque paddles, but I was not sure if the S was for sport mode or slug. Foot flat to the floor in first, it changes up at 4500 revs and again in 2nd – this for an engine which is quite cammy. Mind you there is no redline so who knows.

The Peugeot website hails this weird implement as a crossover – presumably shorthand for something which is designed to fulfil two purposes and manages neither. If anyone can please enlighten me as to what the purposes are, I would be grateful – a cross between the ugliest car and the worst to drive?

What Car apparently voted this best crossover of 2011 – I cant even imagine what it beat. Price as tried here was over £20k. Surely for this money even Peugeot, one of the worst current car makers around, could do better than this. I owned a Peugeot once – a 205  GTI, long time ago, when they knew how to make cars, What happened?