Note to oneself: be careful of press photographs.

2017 Peugeot 3008: source
2017 Peugeot 3008: source

Admittedly, night had fallen and the surrounding city-centre lights could have been confusing. And the vehicle wore dark paint. These might not be ideal studio conditions. Yet, my experience of the new Peugeot 3008 provided grounds to remember never to jump to conclusions. Despite being a tall hatch masquerading as an off-roader, the 3008 manages to look rather good. And it looks much better than the press photography or publicity material.

The images I have seen show a very intense, dark, shadowed world with a strong whiff of CGI and computer games. Much the same problem applies to a lot of print photography now (I have said this before). The effect of this that some important qualities are hard or indeed impossible to read.

In the case of the 3008, the bodyside has a subtly-shaped mane surface which looks as guided by principles of simplicity. It has tension though. The wheel arch surrounds then make for a meaningful contrast. The trailing edge of the metal-effect roof provides an entertaining bit of jewelry. The grille and lamps are still too much for me – it seems to be a widespread phenomenon though and Peugeot’s effort is far from the worst. From this instance, I feel that in contrast to analogue photography which tends to flatter, the current tech is underselling designs.

If this were music, the performance is being played back with the wrong balance. It might also be that in the studio the designers are thinking in terms of what will still look good when turned into press and review photography. The images are strident but unrealistic and many cars today are strident and overblown. As a counterpoint, images of classic cars taken using the same principles of deep shadow, high contrast and exaggerated saturation lack a lot of the charm. The glossy paint takes on a matte-effect; the subtle curvature is flattened.

I could change my mind again about the 3008 when I see one in daylight. So far I only have a city-centre night-time scene to go on. And the car might present another character in other colours (if there are any other colours). What is true so far is that the press photography has undersold the shapes.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

12 thoughts on “Re-Appraisal”

  1. I saw one (in broad daylight) in Paris before Christmas and was pleasantly surprised.

  2. Overall, I like it enough to say I think it’s the most relevant and appealing Peugeot for years. The main negative relates to an over busy frontal aspect, especially those ‘clawed’ headlamps. The side profiling is quite Audi-like, especially in this new Lichte era. And I love the treatment of the rear lamps built into that black panel. The interior is attracting real plaudits from the motoring press, and although I have not seen one in the real world yet, it does look impressive from the photos I have seen – assuming that one can get over the low set, small and near-hexagonal steering wheel.

  3. Believe it or not, but I had almost exactly the same kind of experience as you, Richard. I’d even go as far as calling the rear lights ‘delightful’.

  4. I was very pleased too as i saw the first new 3008, especially the backside is fantastic. The car looks elegant and not overstyled or fat (as the new Tiguan does).
    The taillight-panel is a really fresh design detail, which looks very premium and unique. And it avoids to make the car looking overstyled (like the old 3008, the 208 or 308 or the new Megane), Audi-like (because many cars have the rearlamps-theme of Audi, even Maserati – shame on them!) or just as another example of uninspired european industrial standard design (as the 508, the Astra or the Kuga). They look simple but solid and posh at he same time. The solution for the reversing lights is very elegant too !

    I think, it is the best new taillight design since years. i was expecting this from RangeRover, Jaguar or Alfa, but not from Peugeot.

    1. All in all, the car seems to be getting a hefty dollop of approval. The flanks and the roof stood out most for me, plus the proportions which indicated stability. I shall have to look into the nuts and bolts of the product.

      What´s wrong with the Astra? I don´t like it as much as the last one though I feel it´s a more than credible entrant in the looks department plus it is lighter and better to drive; reviews point out that the Focus-to-Astra gap has narrowed to nearly nothing. I had a quick look: the 3-door is gone but the saloon is still there but it´s the outgoing car not the new Astra. That means as soon as demand falls there will be a five door and estate only. And the the GTC is also based on the old Astra.
      This is news to me: the Astra family is now made up of the outgoing and current Astra generations, depending on bodystyle.

  5. I have to say this car erodes my SUV/CUV aversion. I’ve driven past some examples already, but too quickly to make any statement on the design as seen in reality. Maybe I’ll have to stop next time.

  6. I suspect Peugeot will have a hit on their hands with these 3008/5008 twins. Or to put it another way, I will be flabbergasted if they don’t. I view them as modern day successors to the big Peugeot Familiale’s of the 60’s-’80s. They should be huge sellers in France, but I think will appeal further afield as well. Possibly the first aspirational Peugeot and certainly the first truly convincing styling theme in a generation. These cars also seem to have been receiving quite decent write ups from the gentlemen of the press as well. PSA are now in a position to cover the pure MPV market with the Citroen Picasso and the CUV segment with these two. Quite smart. Which does make a change for them.

    I’m quite keen to see one in the flesh – that might take a little time in West Cork, but anyway…

  7. Can someone enlighten me about what’s so special about the rear lamp treatment? It’s hard to get a good read from photos. From here in the colonies it looks a bit like a current-gen Mustang ripoff.

  8. As someone who last week wrote with authority “Avoidable or not, Peugeot lost that sweet spot of compromise and will probably never find it again”, I should point out that you’re all talking through your arses. Except I sort of see what you mean. Were I wanting an SUV, this would certainly be a very strong contender. It even handles extraneous body creases in a novel and cohesive way (Honda take note). So I’ll just point you to our strapline … again.

  9. I’m certain that the designers of the 1961 Dodge Polara 500, if alive today, would be amazed at the modern, smoothed-out reactivation of their tailfins by designers today. This Peugeot is even closer to the original concept than the Nissan Murano and sibling Renaults. Still, with the typica; modern lack of outside visibility, running body-panel sails up the C-pillar seems a little, er, shortsighted.

    Notwithstanding all that, this does seem like the first half-decent looking crossover in the view shown. Very nice. Most of these two box CUVs are fairly dreadful, because there’s not much scope for doing anything new, and the giant ground pounders with aesthetically challenged fastback roofs from BMW and Mercedes are just gross.

    Thumbs up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: