Mazda CX-5 2020 review: Akera turbo-petrol
There are a few things you should consider before making the Mazda CX-5 Akera the newest member of your family.
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Peugeot's stylish 3008 has been a firm design favourite of mine for as long as it has been around. When I first saw it at the Paris Motor Show a few years back, I was convinced Peugeot would pull a Subaru on us and make a butt-ugly production version.
Turns out I was looking at the production car.
There's a facelift on the way, but I still maintain the 3008 is one of the most underrated mid-size SUVs on the market. That's partly Peugeot's fault for putting too high a sticker price on it but it's also down to Australians falling out of love with French cars in a precipitous manner.
The 3008 asks a lot of you - $47,990, as it turns out, which is a lot of money for a mid-size SUV. Heck, it's a lot of money for a larger SUV. The similarly stylish but much bigger Kia Sorento comes with a lot of gear for the same money.
You do alright for your money, though, the standard equipment list including, 19-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, interior ambient lighting, front and reversing cameras, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, digital dashboard, auto parking, sat nav, auto LED headlights with auto high beam, partial leather seats, leather wheel, power tailgate, power lots of other things, a space-saver spare and a wireless charging pad for your phone.
The stereo is run from a central screen with slow hardware and shortcut buttons down either side as well as the lovely array of alloy keys beneath.
It's still dodgy to use and one exercise in futility is trying to quickly choose the strength of the massage function (I know, dahling). The system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but still does that thing where you sometimes have to disconnect the USB and reconnect to make CarPlay work.
Apart from the slightly off-kilter headlights, Peugeot's design team hardly put a foot wrong on the 3008. The mildness of the forthcoming facelift (which addresses my only complaint) leads me to believe that Peugeot thinks so too.
It's a bold design, without being wacky, and has a great consistency in its lines that makes the car feel like its been hewn from a single block. That's a silly way of saying it just works.
Inside, which again, is barely touched for next year's model, is still one of the all-time great interiors. The 'i-Cockpit' driving position is definitely an A/B proposition. Anderson likes it, Berry hates it, as we discussed in a recent podcast.
Anderson is, of course, on the right side of history and, for this particular set-up, the right side of six-foot tall (below, if you're unfamiliar with either of us). The digital dash is a bit on the clunky side on start-up and when you're switching between the display modes, but then settles into a smooth presentation.
The expensive optional Nappa leather interior is absolutely lovely but you're gonna want it for the $3000 impost.
The interior is lovely to look at and competitively roomy for its class. It is missing a few useful extras like USB ports, that really should be everywhere at this kind of money, but you can't have everything, I suppose.
The front seats really are very comfortable and with the fancy-pants massage function going, along with heating in winter, you're well looked after. They look pretty racy but are not at all grabby or uncomfortable, at least not for me.
The rear seats are well-shaped for two, the middle seat may not be to anyone's taste for longer journeys.
The cupholder count is four (unusual for a Frenchie), with bottleholders to match. A few slots and cubby holes as well as a medium-sized console bin take care of the loose items.
The boot, accessed by a gesture foot-wavey electric tailgate, can take up to 591 litres and when you fold the 60/40 seats down you'll have 1670 litres.
That's not bad for a car this size. The cargo space is also very wide and flat, with straight sides to the aperture, so you can get a lot in there.
The 3008 ships with Peugeot's 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder, spinning up 121kW and 240Nm, both handy if not outstanding figures.
You'll see 100km/h in a scooch under 10 seconds, which isn't quick. If you want a fast 3008, there isn't one, but given the car's looks, there should be.
The 53 litre fuel tank drains premium unleaded at the rate of 7.0L/100km on the combined cycle. Well, that's what the sticker says.
A week in my hands delivered a respectable (indicated) 8.7L/100km, which is not bad going, if not outstanding. That translates to a 600km range between fills on normal duties.
The 3008 arrives with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, speed limit recognition, forward collision warning, forward AEB (low and high speed), drive attention detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and blind spot detection. The only piece missing is reverse cross-traffic alert.
You also get three top-tether points and two ISOFIX anchors for the kiddies.
The 3008 scored a maximum five ANCAP stars when tested in August 2017.
5 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The assured price servicing program runs for up to nine years and 180,000km which is unusually generous.
The servicing itself is hardly a bargain. Every 12 months/20,000km you'll be up for between $474 and $802, with prices published up to the fifth visit.
Five years of servicing will cost you a stout $3026 or roughly $600 per year. I'm not gonna lie, that's a lot, and lands another punch on the 3008's value proposition.
I've had a lot of experience with the 3008. As well as weeks in GT-Lines past and an Allure, I drove a diesel GT for six months. It is in no way a perfect car, but is a lovely car to drive.
The already mentioned i-Cockpit's centrepiece is the small and I mean fully hectic, late '90s, boy racer small.
The idea, if you're new to this scheme, is that the dashboard is higher up in your sight line, giving you a kind of pseudo head-up display. I quite like it, but it takes a while to get used to having the steering wheel set reasonably low, although I will say it's far less of a compromise in Peugeot's SUVs than in its hatches and sedans.
The light steering combined with the small wheel makes the 3008 feel quite darty. Body roll is well-controlled but never at the expense of an almost unflusterable ride.
The grippy Continental tyres stay quiet underneath you unless you're really going for it, but that's when the weight of the car taps you on the shoulder and says calm down, tiger.
In normal every day driving, it's serene. I spent a lot of time pondering whether the more powerful diesel is worth the the extra dollars and I'm reasonably sure it probably isn't.
The 1.6 petrol is so smooth and quiet and does without the significant turbo lag of the oil burner that it's worth the torque deficit and swifter overtaking.
There aren't many SUVs that look this good (a neighbour asked if it was a Range Rover), drive this well, and have a genuine feel-good vibe to them. Every surface, every crease, every material choice inside and out is finely judged and it really feels like a work of automotive art. It doesn't seem to suffer from French foibles and as it stands today is a terrific car with a few rough edges like, the media system.
If that doesn't bother you and you like the way it looks as is, get on it. It's not cheap, and it's not perfect, but you're not buying a 3008 with your head, you're buying it with your eyes and your heart.
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