Kia Sportage 2012 review: road test
Heaven help a family seeking a compact SUV. There are about 150 distinct SUV models in the small...
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Although it’s one of Europe’s longest-established brands in Australia, French carmaker Peugeot has been in the doldrums recently with a limited vehicle range, supply problems and an ageing buyer base suppressing sales.
The company is looking to stage a revival in 2012 led by two all-new models both aimed at younger buyers. We’ve just attended the launch of the first of this pair, the 4008 SUV. It will be joined later this year by the new 208 city hatch.
The 4008 is one of three vehicles produced from a joint venture between the PSA Peugeot Citroen group and Mitsubishi, being built on the same platform as the Mitsubishi ASX.
The other two are the slightly larger Peugeot 4007 / Mitsubishi Outlander and the all-electric Mitsubishi iMiEV and Peugeot iOn. Citroen variants of all three vehicles are also produced but we know of no plans for them to come to Australia at this stage.
PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
With a price range of $28,990 to $38,490 the Peugeot 4008 offers excellent value for a European SUV, or more correctly a European-styled SUV. Peugeot lists its main competitors as Nissan Dualis (from $24,990), Mazda CX-5 (from $27,800), Subaru XV (from $28,490) and Volkswagen Tiguan (from $28,490). Strangely its Mitsubishi ASX twin (from $25,990) is not seen as a direct rival, supposedly because of its lower equipment levels.
Adding to the Peugeot’s value equation is the Assured Service Plan that places a $330 capped price on all services during the first three years of its life. The plan applies to all buyers, be they private, business, fleet and or government and is transferable if the car is sold. Two equipment levels are offered, Peugeot 4008 Active (with 2WD and AWD, manual and CVT) and 4008 Allure (AWD and CVT only).
Standard on all models are seven airbags, ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Program, front foglights, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, reversing camera with a rear-vision mirror display, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth telephone and audio, USB and auxiliary sockets, climate-control air conditioning, coloured multifunction monitor and a full-sized spare wheel/tyre.
For an additional $5000 the Allure provides xenon headlights, leather trim interior, 18-inch alloys, power and heated front seats.
We found the styling of the ‘French’ SUV that much more appealing than the ‘Japanese’ one especially the large, vertical grille that gives it an imposing stance on the road.
Inside is a soft texture fascia and lacquered piano-black centre console which add a gentle ambience. The controls are large and well-placed with an instrument panel that’s back-lit day and night, unlike some others that, very inconveniently, turn off when the car enters a tunnel. There’s good head and legroom in all five seats. Maximum boot space is 416 litres with the rear seatbacks in place and 1193 with them lowered.
A little surprisingly for a company with a long history of diesel engines in this country, Peugeot 4008s only come here with a 2.0-litre petrol. The problem is that diesels are not yet mated to an automatic transmission, something the local Peugeot people consider all but essential for local buyers.
Incidentally, the larger Peugeot 4007 does come with a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with manual or DSG automatic transmission but only with 4WD.
The four cylinder petrol engine generates 110 kilowatts of power at 6000 rpm and 197 Newton metres of torque at 4200 revs and is mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT).
As is now the norm in the small SUV segment the 4008 comes with the choice of two or four-wheel drive. The former wasn’t available for our launch road test but we’ll report on it when we carry out our extended test in a few weeks.
The Peugeot 4008’s 4WD system comes with three modes: 2WD for urban conditions and lower fuel consumption, 4WD with electronically controlled torque distribution between the front and rear axles, and 4WD Lock for conditions that require maximum grip.
Our test drive took us on a 300 km route to the north of Sydney with an even spread of motorway, rural and dirt roads. The 4008 cruised smoothly on the freeway with the additional soundproofing above that on the ASX doing its job and providing a relaxed, comfortable trip. The next section of the route was on some enjoyable back-country roads where the Pug handled at least as well as other similarly sized SUVs that we’ve driven.
On the downside we found the steering to be a little too wooden for our tastes and we had our usual issues with the irritating noise from the CVT under hard acceleration.
With only AWD models available for our test, Peugeot included a moderately demanding 60 km section of dirt road between Wollombi and Wisemans Ferry to display the off-road credentials that the company feels should distinguish the 4008 from its softer competitors. Apart from a number of pot holes that send shudders through the car, it handled the conditions without any real problems.
Our biggest issue came in the latter stages of our test when we had to climb up the steep slope out of Wisemans Ferry on the Hawkesbury River and the little petrol engine was really found wanting. On two occasions we needed to drop back to first gear to keep it moving.
The Peugeot 4008 and Mitsubishi ASX share most of their mechanical components and underbody parts and have a similar styling theme, all external panels, with the exception of its doors and roof are different.
|Active (4x2)||2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$10,990 – 14,950||2012 Peugeot 4008 2012 Active (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
|Active (4x4)||2.0L, PULP, 5 SP MAN||$9,240 – 13,090||2012 Peugeot 4008 2012 Active (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|Allure (4x4)||2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$7,999 – 14,990||2012 Peugeot 4008 2012 Allure (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
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