Australia will be one of the first markets to get the Peugeot 4008 compact SUV, but may be one of the last to get a diesel drivetrain.
The lack of an auto in the Mitsubishi-based 4008 diesel range means the June launch will be only the petrol drivetrain. For now, that is.
“We’d like to get a diesel 4008, but we’d prefer to have an automatic and there isn’t one available in the range,” Peugeot spokesperson Jaedene Hudson says.
“It’s not worth it to bring a manual diesel because there’s no demand for it here in that class. We prefer to wait and bring the automatic drivetrain when it’s available.” She says there isn’t one on the immediate horizon, but we can expect more news in the near future.
While the 4007 it replaces is based on the Mitsubishi Outlander, the 4008 starts from the Mitsubishi ASX platform.
Overseas markets choose from the two manual diesels and two petrols. It will go on sale here with the larger of the latter: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder developing 110kW of power and 197Nm of torque. Output is delivered to either the front or both axles via the choice of two transmissions: a five-speed manual or a six-speed CVT with manual mode and paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.
It’s an economical little thing in every version, with official fuel figures ranging from 7.7L/100km for the 2WD manual and 7.9L for the AWD. The CVT is 0.2L more for each of the drive versions.
A console dial switches the all-paw’s on-demand system between 2WD/4WD/Lock, with varying serves of torque being dished up to each axle as requested – from 85 per cent maximum at the front in 2WD to 82 per cent maximum at the rear in Lock.
Pricing will be announced closer to June, but the entry is likely to be sub-$30,000 – a critical level in a highly-competitive field, about $5000 below the outgoing 4007.
Spec is yet to be finalised, but Peugeot says it will arrive in two trims: Active on all drivetrains and Allure on AWD only. Features will follow those already on the 3008 that arrived about 18 months ago with a decent helping of LEDs, auto lights and wipers, Bluetooth, parking sensors, cruise, climate control airconditioning, sunroof and 16-in alloys as standard fare. Upstairs can look for leather and heated seats, darkened privacy glass, 18-in wheels and a touchscreen satnav in the goodies bag.
It should also echo the 3008’s five-star ANCAP crash rating, with seven airbags, stability and traction controls and anti-skid brakes with extra help for panic stops and to compensate for uneven loads.
It’s a stunner. With the front a sculpture of lines and creases flowing back from the imminently-signature floating grille and onto the flanks, it’s got an air of motion even standing still.
But the shapely nose gives you no clue of where the corners are from the driver’s seat, and the protection of parking sensors will be a must.
The cabin turns the other chic with elegant contours and finely-judged amounts of accent in either metal or piano black finish.
The seats are contoured and comfortable, and it seems every surface and shape has been carefully decided. It’s styled-up but not overdone, accessorised but not ghetto-blinged. In a word, it’s French.
Too many offroader test drives never get off the road. Peugeot did this one proud, digging up some of the local scenery and sculpting it into a dirt fun-park, complete with steep – about 35 degree – slopes and a healthy layer of loose surface.
The 4008 took it with ease, proving the approach, breakover and departure angles handy for weekend warfare, and the AWD system skilled at finding the right torque division between axles. At the finish we were hoping the darkening sky would open so we could give it another shot garnished with le mud. We’re betting it would have been just as unruffled.
But to get to the great outdoors, most buyers will have to trek a great deal of highway, and we were concerned about the CVT drivetrain’s performance at higher speeds. A quick litmus test showed at 110km/h it still had more to give for overtaking, but some planning will be needed to tackle a long truck or tight joust with oncoming traffic.
There’s serious windrush around the A-pillars, and despite Peugeot’s extra work on sound-deadening, you’re always aware of the CVT’s low mooing soundtrack, with the engine chorus at higher revs.
The paddle shifters are beautifully shaped and positioned to invite the hand, but feel flimsy once you start flicking them to toggle gears – with the CVT system showing some run-on when you requested a lower cog for cornering on downhill slopes. The bends also produced a top-heavy sway at any enthusiastic speed.
None of that will likely bother the mostly urban owners, and – superficial as we are – we still can’t help but love the 4008 for its looks alone.
It’s a great prospect for dirt, less so for bitumen. But it will wow on any café strip, and we can’t wait to see a diesel join it here.