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Peugeot's recent history is starting to look like a proper renaissance. The 208 was a solid start, the 308 is a genuine (if expensive) belter, and now we have what is probably Peugeot's most important new car; the 3008 mid-sized SUV.
Released in Europe last year, the 3008 leaves a trail of impressive silverware in its wake. It's packed with technology, too, and it's properly individual-looking - and not in the pejorative sense.
This car also marks the first model launched by the brand's new importer, Inchcape, which has a proven track record with another brand most Australians see as a bit quirky in Subaru.
So does the 3008 continue the French carmaker's recovery from over a decade of duds?
|Peugeot 3008 2017: Active 1.6|
|Engine Type||1.6L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
This new car couldn't be any more different from the car it replaces, save the fact it shares the same number of doors and wheels. The exterior sheetmetal is sharply drawn, the only miss-step being the corporate headlights, which look out of place, as though grafted from the older, more conservative 2008. The rest of the car, though, is terrific, albeit with strong Range Rover influences that include a blacked-out C-Pillar, as well as just being gosh-darn good looking.
The light, airy cabin takes some of the more interesting uses of materials found in the compact 2008 and has a lot more fun with them. The dash is split horizontally, a splash of fabric breaking up the plastic. Through the cabin that same fabric is matched on the seats and doors, and where useful it is coated to make it harder wearing.
The digital dash looks terrific and is configurable to look like a normal dashboard, but you can cycle through display options, reducing the amount of information available all the way down to the point where it just shows the important stuff like speed. It isn't as slick and smooth as the Audi Virtual Cockpit, but you only notice when you're switching modes.
In a gigantic departure from French-ness, the 3008 not only has proper cupholders, it has four of them. Two up front (in front of a surprisingly deep central console bin) and two in the rear centre armrest. Bottle holders grace each door, too.
The front also has two places for your phone; a dark space under the dash or in a slot beside the gear selector. Only trouble with that slot is it fits the larger iPhone...but only if it doesn't have a cover.
The boot handles a mildly startling 591 litres, and when you fold the 60/40 seats down you'll have 1670 litres to work with. You also get a ski port, darling.
It's very clear, Peugeot is aiming at the premium end of the market, with the "base" model 3008 starting at $36,990, which is well above the entry point of its Japanese and Korean competition.
The 3008 arrives in Australia with four trim levels - Active, Allure, GT Line and GT. Eagle-eyed readers will recognise the poverty-pack Access model that's offered in Europe is missing from the local lineup. That's because, according to Peugeot, nobody here buys entry-level cars anymore.
In short, though, this thing is loaded.
We had the mid-spec Allure for the week, which starts at $39,490. That lands you with the 12.3-inch digital dashboard, 8.0-inch touchscreen, sat nav, wireless phone charging (accessories required, but uses the widespread Qi standard), dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, 18-inch alloys, around-view cameras, reversing camera and a substantial safety package.
You'll also find front and rear parking sensors, auto parking, partial leather trim, digital radio, power everything, auto wipers and headlights and a space-saver spare.
Really, the only things missing are LED headlights (which you can live without) and AEB (which you shouldn't have to), but the latter can be optioned.
Options include the $1500 Advanced Safety Pack (adds AEB, lane keep assist, blind spot sensors and active cruise), a massive panoramic sunroof ($2000), electric tailgate ($500), black leather trim ($2500) and premium paint ($690-$1050). Our car had almost all of these and more, arriving at $43,880.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen runs a newer version of Peugeot's formerly terrible media and control system. It's still not a world-beater, but with more shortcut buttons, a far better design and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it's far better. The pain of having to run the climate control from the screen continues, however, and remains a sticking point with me.
Motivation comes from the PSA Group's 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, developing 121kW and 240Nm - both competitive numbers in the segment.
Power is fed to the front wheels only via a super-smooth six-speed auto, and it will the car's 1371kg (tare) to 100km/h in a leisurely 9.9 seconds.
Braked and unbraked towing capacity is set at 600kg.
Official figures suggest the 3008 will empty its 53-litre fuel tank at the rate of 7.3L/100km on the claimed/combined cycle (cars without Peugeot's AWD-aping Grip Control are rated at 7.0L/100km). It's only a slightly optimistic figure, with our week in the car returning 8.9L/100km.
This car is nothing like the first generation. That was a wheezing, roly-poly mess that I once had the misfortune of hiring from a windswept rental lot at an airport. The company I hired from just sent punters out into the cold to pick any car they wanted. The 3008s were the last chooks in the window. I quickly found out why. Ugly, slow and noisy, it rode like a tank, steered like a cow and had all the appeal of a picnic in Pyongyang in winter.
The new one looks better from a mile away. Open the solid-feeling door, step in and it's all change for the good. The squared-off steering wheel is set low so you can see the 12.3-inch digital dashboard, identical in size to Audi's excellent Visual Cockpit. While it clearly doesn't have the same NVIDIA horsepower behind it, it's a fine piece of work. It looks great, works well and you can configure it in a variety of ways, including the futuristic-looking satnav set up. The only real blot is the 8.0-inch media screen, which works well but is too bright at night, and if there's a way to turn it down, I couldn't find it.
Peugeot's i-Cockpit seems a lot more sensible here in the 3008. As you're sitting higher, the relationship between you, the pedals and the dashboard display seems to work a lot better so you don't feel like you're craning to see the speedo and/or driving a Falcon. The small steering wheel also contributes to the feeling that the car is agile and sporty.
Like all new Peugeots, the 3008 is a lovely place to be. Quiet, calm and just quick enough (the zero-100km/h figure is only part of the story), the 3008 is a great place to spend time. The engine is a distant whirr, the tyre noise more distant still and there's barely a rustle from the wind passing over the body. It adds to a feeling of solidity the old 3008 thought was for Other People.
The engine is reasonably flexible and, allied to the accomplished six-speeder, rarely raises a sweat. It's best once rolling, with quick smooth shifts. Grip is good and in plentiful supply while the body is kept in check by exceptionally well-judged springs and dampers.
Avoid the sport mode, it just adds weight to the steering and makes the shifts jerky. I never once felt the need to resort to the paddle shifters, such is the well-judged nous of the transmission programming.
I also never felt the need to hustle the 3008. It's not that kind of car.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The 3008 arrives with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, forward collision warning, lane departure warning with steering assist, speed-sign recognition, driver attention detection and reversing camera as well as around-view cameras. ANCAP awarded the 3008 the maximum five stars in August 2017.
Restraints for child seats come in the form of three top-tethers and two ISOFIX points.
Irritatingly, AEB is optional on the Active and Allure and really should be standard, as it is on most other cars at this level. The new importer agreed with CarsGuide's Andrew Chesterton at launch, so hopefully this will be fixed before long.
Peugeot offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assist for the duration. Also offered is assured pricing, which means you can look up scheduled service pricing for the first five years. Prices bounce between about $477 and $845, meaning overall you pay around $600 if you average the services out across those five years.
You only visit the dealership once a year or at 20,000km, whichever comes first. It's not cheap, but it's not terrible either.
|ACTIVE||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$25,955 – 29,995||2017 PEUGEOT 3008 2017 ACTIVE Pricing and Specs|
|Active 1.6||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$22,660 – 27,940||2017 PEUGEOT 3008 2017 Active 1.6 Pricing and Specs|
|Active 1.6 Premium||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$23,760 – 29,370||2017 PEUGEOT 3008 2017 Active 1.6 Premium Pricing and Specs|
|Active 2.0 HDi||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$23,760 – 29,370||2017 PEUGEOT 3008 2017 Active 2.0 HDi Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||7|
“I'm going to stick my neck on the block and declare the 3008 a French Evoque (slightly ironically). It has a similar feel, while its devotion to style and substance also ticks similar boxes. While the pricing seems steep at first, the brand is committed to an upmarket customer. It's loaded with tech, looks great and drives beautifully. ”
Are you willing to spend $40,000 on a French SUV? Or are the usual suspects too good to ignore?