A blight on God’s clean Earth #3 – Peugeot 3008

Peugeot’s designation of cars was doomed from the get-go. The 504 was followed by the 505. The 205 by the 206 and 207. The 605 by the 607. The 309 by the 306. It’s messy, hard to distinguish, and worst of all, limited. The number-zero-number may be snazzy and unique, but it’s confusing and will only last as long as Peugeot are willing to dexterously play with the combinations. But we can safely say they’ve utterly botched it when the 305 was succeeded by the 309 and now their current 308 model has no possible successor number vacant in the present format. So they’ve shot themselves in the foot and added an extra nought. 1007 and today’s car, are examples. It’s doomed to failure but who cares? Peugeots tend to be so bland and forgettable they could call a model the Pi-0-Pi or 123Brilliant and no-one would look up.

One of Peugeot’s latest brainfarts is to make a car, in Autocar’s words:

part SUV, part estate car, part hatchback, part MPV.

Wow, talk about a fudge, But the underlying logic is as thus:

As Nissan has done with the Qashqai, Peugeot seeks to appeal to buyers’ fantasies by offering a taste of SUV without the weight, expense and social opprobrium of the real thing.

And from the response of the public, who have flocked to Peugeot dealers, this has worked. So you could say “Well, if lots of people liked it, it must be good!” But let’s not forget, majorities freed Barabbas, elected George W. Bush, and made Coldplay successful. Ergo, large numbers of people adhering to something doesn’t automatically make it brilliant.

Now I have no idea how it drives, how spacious it is or if it goes 1000 miles on half a tank. This isn’t de facto car journalism so objectiveness doesn’t count unless it suits me. So let’s get to what matters: the 3008 is unbelievably ugly.

Because it’s made to be high (to appease the ego of short people, methinks) and roomy, the proportions are dismally out of balance. And then it’s a Peugeot. And as all current Peugeots, it has the aesthetic appeal of a run-over badger. The ridiculously large grill looks even more ridiculous with that square pattern, a sure sign that the designer simply couldn’t be bothered to give the matter a second thought. The result is a gaping maw with the space between the ugly grill struts so large it looks like it can suck in small children unwary enough to wander too close while the car’s idling at the traffic lights.

The 308, though still hideous and nightmare-inspiring, at least has some interesting tail lights, a simple dash of sanity in an otherwise disastrously horrendous car. The 3008 has no such redeeming feature, with its tail lights having the appearance of symmetrical tomato stains someone carelessly dolloped on the back.

It’s an atrociously designed car, yet it has won over many people. To me, it epitomises the downward spiral in aesthetics Peugeot has been suffering from for quite some time. I’ve praised the 308 RC Z, despite its ugly face and silly wing mirrors, but your heart sinks just looking at this 3008 monstrosity. Will things get worse? Perhaps not. As I’ll comment in upcoming posts, Peugeot know how to make not completely crap cars every now and then.


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