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Receiving the 'Most Improved Award' is surely one of the great backhanded compliments. The inference being you weren't all that crash hot to start with (growing up I received many).
It was with this thought in mind that I took the keys to the 2017 Peugeot 3008 GT, reportedly a much-improved effort over the vehicle it replaces.
Priced at $49,490, the GT sits at the top of the range with a laundry list of standard kit including quilted leather seats, Alcantara trim in the dash and doors plus a whole heap of cool tech. But more of that later.
Painted in cool Magnetic Blue and sitting on shiny 19-inch alloy wheels the 3008 GT is quite a looker and the numerous European and UK awards in its trophy cabinet suggest those good looks are backed up by a reasonable amount substance. In the hyper-competitive mid-sized SUV market it's going to need every leg up it can get to be noticed.
So, how will the 3008 GT handle the role of taxi to three kids for the weekend?
Our first destination for the 3008 was a treetops obstacle course located an hour and half north of Sydney. The kids were hyped and I was looking forward to giving the 3008 a run on the motorway.
As much as I like the exterior it’s the interior look, feel, fit and finish where this car shines. Sitting in the well-crafted cabin for the first time is a sensory treat with a myriad of design features to take in. A beautiful blend of hard and soft textured materials abounds on the dash and doors, contributing to a distinctly premium feel. It’s hard believe I am sitting in a mid-sized SUV.
The leather bound and quilted seats are a nice touch and provide ample amounts of comfort and support. Those sitting up front are treated to power-adjusted seats with heating, plus the added bonus of a massage function for the driver.
An immediate favourite of the kids was the the panoramic sunroof, which stayed open for the duration of the weekend.
Parking myself in the driver's seat I was greeted by a low-set, squared off steering wheel with Peugeot’s 12.3-inch i-Cockpit positioned high and slightly back on the dash. Replacing the traditional instrument binnacle, this digital dashboard is one of the standout pieces of tech in this car. Graphics are simple and clear, with information easily absorbed at a glance. Audi might set the benchmark here with its Virtual Cockpit but Peugeot is closing the gap.
The GT’s 2.0-litre diesel unit may sound a little agricultural at idle but cruising the motorway it was quiet and composed and never felt stretched – a real pleasure to drive. The engine is paired with a six-speed auto sending its power to the front wheels (no AWD available). At higher speeds, crawlers in the left-hand lanes were despatched with effortless efficiency. My only bugbear was that the auto's down shifts were a little sluggish at low to mid-range speeds.
During the trip the kids made good use of the centre armrest with two cup holders in the rear whilst my son tested out the 8-inch touchscreen upfront and discovered Peugeot’s Amplify system. It allows control of the cabin ambience from the lighting, sound and even the cabin smell, with a choice of three fragrances available. Coupled with the seat-massage function, it almost gives the impression of being pampered.
Driving for the remainder of the day was a combination of motorway and suburban with the ride comfort rarely wavering from excellent. The smaller steering wheel provided a sportier feel and made driving more fun.
The 3008 was on lighter duties today with only grocery shopping and a picnic on the cards.
At 4450mm, it’s 80mm longer than the previous 3008, with this extra length invested into the passenger compartment, meaning extra legroom for front and rear passengers. I note head room in the rear is somewhat compromised by the sunroof (I’m 180cm tall) with barely less than a centimetre between my head and the roof.
The boost in size is also a plus for luggage storage with the 591 litres (seats up / 1670 litres with seats down) easily swallowing up the kids overnight bags and pillows for the weekend. There’s an access panel behind the centre armrest to the boot (to carry skis), which also doubled as an obstacle course for my son. Under the boot floor lies the space saver and additional storage.
Storage upfront is catered via two cupholders, a cavernous bin in the console between the front seats and a hidey hole under the dash containing an induction-charging pad, USB charge point and 12-volt outlet.
Parking the 3008 at the cramped local Woolies carpark was a non-event thanks to a host of driver aids at hand to simplify the exercise, including front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree view displayed via the touchscreen. For drivers preferring to let the car do all the work, Park Assist is also available.
Returning to the car with bags full of shopping I simply waved the foot under the rear bumper to activate the motorised tailgate. Easy. Our picnic in the park was up next.
Turning attention to the touchscreen I go through my normal routine of selecting vehicle settings to turn off the start/stop function. Whilst the interface is well designed and incredibly straight forward to grasp, the air con always seems to require one touch too many to operate, particularly when on the move.
Safety wise the GT comes with a comprehensive list of standard gear, including AEB, active lane keeping, adaptive cruise with complete stop and active blind spot detection. The auto high beams, also standard kit, tended not to work all that well, requiring me to override numerous times.
My weekend test in the 3008 GT covered over 400km with the trip computer recording a fuel-consumption figure of 7 litres / 100km matching Peugeot’s claimed combined figure exactly. A rare treat.
The 3008 provides a genuinely pleasant driving experience and passed the taxi test with flying colours. It brings more to the mid sized SUV category than just good looks with plenty of practicality and cool tech for drivers and passengers alike. The 3008 GT should find favour with those looking for a premium SUV with something a little different.
|ACTIVE||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$23,895 – 35,990||2017 PEUGEOT 3008 2017 ACTIVE Pricing and Specs|
|Active 1.6||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$20,900 – 26,400||2017 PEUGEOT 3008 2017 Active 1.6 Pricing and Specs|
|Active 1.6 Premium||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$20,900 – 26,510||2017 PEUGEOT 3008 2017 Active 1.6 Premium Pricing and Specs|
|Active 2.0 HDi||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$22,440 – 27,720||2017 PEUGEOT 3008 2017 Active 2.0 HDi Pricing and Specs|