Mahindra XUV500 VS Peugeot 3008
- Cheap way into seven seats
- Petrol/auto combination a winner
- Hugely spacious third row
- Underwhelming safety
- Steering that requires plenty of guesswork
- Cheap-feeling interior
- Great ride comfort
- Beautiful exterior styling
- Clever interior packaging
- Driving position won’t be to all tastes
- Expensive compared to mainstream rivals
- Pricey ownership plan
Just in case attacking Australia's crowded SUV market with a virtually unheard of Indian brand wasn't a high enough hurdle to leap over, Mahindra had made its task even harder - think a Bollywood version of Mission Impossible - by launching its XUV500 SUV here with a diesel engine (which nobody wanted) and a manual gearbox (which few could even remember how to use).
Fortunately, it fixed one of those issues late in 2016, finally adding an automatic transmission to the line-up. And now, at long last, it's fixed the other.
For one, it's a ferociously cheap way into a new seven-seat SUV. For another, it's pretty well equipped, even from the base level. There's a long warranty, an equally long roadside assistance offering, and there's capped-price servicing, too.
So, should the mainstream SUV players be looking over their shoulders?
Spoiler alert: no.
|Engine Type||2.2L turbo|
I’ve always thought the Peugeot 3008 deserves to be seen in more Aussie driveways than it is. More than just a striking looking mid-size SUV, the French high-riding model has always been practical, comfortable and an intriguing alternative to the mainstream brands.
And for the 2021 Peugeot 3008 - which has been updated with new, even more arresting styling - the brand has also improved the specs and safety features to make this also-ran arguably even more appealing.
But will a high price and questionable ownership costs count against it? Or is this semi-premium brand offering a product that’s premium enough to justify its high cost over mainstream branded rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester?
|Engine Type||1.6L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
This petrol-powered and well-priced XUV500 W6 might mark Mahindra's most convincing effort at cracking Australia's congested SUV market, but we're still not completely convinced.
That said, it's certainly cheap, the ownership credentials stack up and it's a very comfortable way to transport seven people.
Will this Mahindra's low price and upgraded spec win your SUV vote? Tell us in the comments below.
The Peugeot 3008 2021 model range offers some alternatives to the mainstream SUV crowd, even if the pricing is edging more towards the luxury SUV realm.
At odds with the brand’s approach is that our pick of the range is actually the base model Allure, which is the most affordable (though still hardly cheap) but has a lot of the equipment we think you’ll appreciate and a drive experience that is on par with the more expensive GT petrol.
There's no getting away from the fact the XUV500 is not the sleekest, prettiest SUV in the pack. But it's not ugly, either. More that it looks like it's doing its best with a design philosophy hatched a generation or two ago.
Its best angle by far is when viewed straight on, where the piano-black grille, dual bonnet bulges and complicated (read: a little weird) headlight clusters all add some road presence to Mahindra's only SUV.
A side-on viewing, however, is less satisfying, where a combination of strangely placed and super-sharp body creases (including one over the rear wheelarch, which adds a Harbour Bridge-style crescent to the otherwise-straight window line) and serious rear overhang give the XUV500 an inescapable awkwardness.
Inside, expect a vast collection of rock-hard (though nicely patterned) plastics, with the ambiance rescued somewhat by the clean-looking and vertical central control unit, which is home to the media screen and air-con controls.
Ready for some hashtag real talk? There are better-looking and better-feeling seven-seat SUVs out there. But there aren't many that start at $25,990 drive-away. And I think that's Mahindra's point.
It’s close to a 10/10 for design. This is not just beautiful to look at, it’s smartly packaged and thoughtfully configured. And according to me and everyone I spoke to, it doesn’t look like a mid-size SUV. It’s almost petite.
That’s even considering it’s 4447mm long (on a 2675mm wheelbase), 1871mm wide and 1624mm tall. Meaning, it’s shorter than a VW Tiguan, Mazda CX-5 and even a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, and it really does manage to fit a mid-size SUV level of space into a more compact SUV’s dimensions.
More on the interior practicality soon, but let’s just bask in the beauty of that revised front end. The old model was already attractive, but this faceilfted version ups the ante.
It has a new front end design that makes it look as though the car is moving, even when it’s parked. The way the grille shreds away, with the lines getting wider towards the outer edges - it’s reminiscent of what you see in an outer space movie, when the captain hits warp speed.
Those little lines may be hard to clean over a bugsplattered summer drive. But the redesigned headlights with huge, sharp DRLs help the front end stand out even more.
In side profile, there are 18- or 19-inch wheels, and depending on the model, you’ll see chrome around the bottom edges or the GT Sport’s heavily blackened look. The side design hasn’t changed all that much, which is no bad thing. I just wish the wheels were a bit more interesting.
The rear sees a new tail-light design with LED lighting and a smoked finish, and the back bumper is revised. All grades get an electric tailgate with kick-to-open functionality, and it actually worked on test.
The 3008’s interior design is another talking point - and it could be for all the wrong reasons. The recent raft of models from the brand have adopted what the brand calls the i-Cockpit, where the steering wheel (which is tiny) sits low and you look over the top of it to a digital driver info screen (which isn’t tiny).
I love it. I can easily find a position that is appropriate for me, and I like the novelty of it. But there are plenty of people that struggle to get comfortable with the idea of having the steering wheel set low - they want it high, as that’s what they’re used to - and that means they mightn’t be able to see the instrument display.
Have a look at the interior images and tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
Pretty damn practical, actually, regardless of whether you want to carry people or cargo. Carrying both at the same time, however, is tricky.
But let's start with people. There is a huge amount of room in the third row of the XUV500, a space with enough head and legroom to put plenty of its competition to shame.
Thanks to second-row seat backs that fold flat, before the the entire seat lifts up and pushes forward, climbing into seats six and seven isn't too big a drama, either.
We rarely say this about seven-seat cars, but at 175cm, I'd feel plenty comfortable back there on a longer drive. There are two air vents in the third row, too, along with bottle storage and side-seat storage for thin items.
The space in the middle row is ample as well, and you'll find three ISOFIX attachment points, one for each of the three seats. There's also a door pocket in each rear door and storage nets on the rear of the two front seats. A pull-down divider that separates the back seat is home to two cupholders, matching the two for front seat riders.
The only downside to all this people-lugging happiness is that, with the third row of seats in place, there is absolutely no room for luggage. Mahindra doesn't quote a litre storage figure when seven are seated (mostly because it would probably be embarrassing to write "one litre"), but trust us, you'll be lucky to squeeze a soft backpack in the boot with all seats in place.
Things improve considerably when you drop the third row of seats, though, which unlocks 702 litres of storage, and that number climbs to 1512 litres with the second and third row folded down.
It’s a special feeling place, the interior of the 3008.
I’ve already mentioned above that it mightn’t be to all tastes in terms of the seating arrangement, but the comfort and convenience is excellent. Yes, excellent convenience and a surprising amount of thoughtfulness has gone into the interior here.
And it’s gloriously finished, with a very high standard of perceived quality - the materials all look and feel plush, including trim on the doors and dashboard which is soft and attractive. There’s a little bit of hard plastic below the dashboard beltline, but it’s a better quality than some competitors.
Let’s talk cup and bottle storage. Lots of French cars have poor storage available for drinks, but the 3008 has good sized cup holders between the front seats, big bottle holders in all four doors, and a flip-down centre armrest with cup storage in the rear, too.
Plus there is a huge centre console bin between the front seats, with is much deeper than it looks. There’s also a usable glovebox, big trenches in the doors, and a storage section in front of the gear selector that doubles as a wireless phone charging bay, too.
The front also scores a new larger 10.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, and there’s built-in sat nav as well. The usability of the media screen isn’t as simply as it could be, though.
The ventilation controls are all done through the screen, and while the phone mirroring part takes up the middle section of the monitor, and the temp controls are shown either side, it still means you have to go away from whatever you’re doing on the smartphone mirroring, jump to the HVAC menu, make whatever changes you want there, and then go back to the smartphone screen. It’s just a bit too finicky.
At the very least there is a volume knob and a set of hot keys below the screen so you can jump between menus, and the processor used seems to be a bit more powerful in the last 3008 I drove, because the screen’s a bit quicker.
But one thing that’s not improved is the reversing camera display, which is still very low res, and also requires you to fill in the blanks using the 360-degree camera. It comes up with grey boxes either side of the car, and when you reverse, it records the image it collects rather than just actually showing you what's outside the car, as you would see in most cars with surround view camera systems. It’s really not all that helpful, and I found myself just wanting a better resolution rear camera because there are parking sensors around the car.
The rear seat has reasonable space for someone my size - I’m 182cm or 6’0” and I could fit behind my own driving position with just enough space to be comfortable. Knee room is the main limitation, while headroom is good, and so is toe room. The flat floor in the back makes it a bit more amenable to have three across, though the centre console eats into middle seat kneeroom, and it’s not the widest cabin in the business.
There are rear directional air vents, two USB ports for charging, and a pair of map pockets as well. And if you have younger children there are dual ISOFIX and three top-tether child seat attachment points fitted.
Boot space is exceptional in the 3008. Peugeot claims that somehow this rather compact mid-size SUV can take 591 litres (VDA) of cargo in the back, and that’s the measurement to the window line, not the roof.
In practice - with the boot floor set to the lowest of its two positions over the space saver spare wheel - there was easily enough space for the CarsGuide luggage set (134L, 95L and 36L hard case), with room for another set on top. It’s a huge boot, and a good shape, too.
Price and features
Make no mistake, this Mahindra kills the competition on price. The entry-level W6 version will cost you a lean $25,990, while the fruited-up W8 version will set you back $29,990. You can even have an AWD W8 for $32,990. The best part? All of those are drive-away prices.
Go for the W6, and you can expect 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats, air-con with vents (powered by a second compressor) in the second and third row, cornering headlights with DRLs, front and rear fog lights, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a 6.0-inch multimedia screen linked with a six-speaker stereo.
The Peugeot 3008 range is expensive. There. I’ve said it.
Okay, now let’s consider Peugeot as a brand. Is it a premium player, to be considered against Audi, Volvo and co? According to the brand it is. But it is playing a weird game, because it’s not quite premium-priced to the point that it is going to be cross-shopped against those makes.
As such, it’s way over the money to compete against mainstream makers, with an MSRP/MLP kick-off point of $44,990 (before on-road costs) for the base model Allure. The range also has the GT petrol model at $47,990, the GT diesel at $50,990 and the flagship GT Sport comes in at $54,990.
So does the equipment fitted help justify the cost? Here’s a spec breakdown of all four grades.
The 3008 Allure ($44,990) comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights with integrated LED fog lights, LED rear lights, roof rails, body colour rear spoiler, auto lights and wipers, cloth interior trim with fake leather accents, manual seat adjustment, a 12.3-inch digital driver info display, a 10.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite navigation, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth, ambient lighting, wireless phone charger, leather steering wheel and gearknob, electric park brake, push-button start and keyless entry, and a space saver spare wheel.
Step up to the GT petrol ($47,990) or diesel ($50,990) and you gain a few different items to justify the extra expense. The 18-inch wheels are a different design, the LED headlights are adaptive (meaning they turn corners with the car), the rearview mirror is a frameless design, the steering wheel is perforated leather, the roof lining is black (not grey), and you get black roof and mirror caps on the outside as well.
Plus the interior sees Alcantara door and dashboard trim, sports pedals and there is vegan leather seat trim with Alcantara elements and “copper” stitching.
Then the GT Sport ($54,990) model essentially adds an exterior black pack with 19-inch black alloys, dak finishes on the grille, badges, bumper trim strips, side door and front wing trims and window surrounds. And it also includes the interior leather package, which is optional on the other grades, as well as a Focal 10-speaker sound system and laminated front door glass. This grade also has Lime Wood interior trim.
The GT grade models can be had with a sunroof for $1990. The 3008 GT petrol and GT diesel variants can be optioned with leather seat trim fitted standard to the GT Sport, which comprises Nappa leather, heated front seats, electric driver’s seat adjustment and massage - that pack costs $3590.
Picky about colours? The only no-cost option is Celebes Blue, while the metallic options ($690) consist of Artense Grey, Platinum Grey and Perla Nera Black, and there are also premium paint choice ($1050), being Pearl White, Ultimate Red and Vertigo Blue. There is no orange, yellow, brown or green paint option available.
I’ll reiterate - for a non-luxury brand selling a front-wheel drive SUV, no matter how nice it is or well appointed it may be, the 3008 is too expensive.
Engine & trans
There's a diesel engine currently available, but the clock is ticking - Mahindra expects it to be phased out within six months. But the big news here is the new petrol engine, a turbocharged 2.2-litre unit good for 103kW/320Nm. It's paired exclusively with an Aisin-developed six-speed automatic transmission, and will send it's power to the front or all four wheels.
Mahindra doesn't quote official performance figures, but those engine outputs hardly scream excitement, do they?
The Peugeot 3008 range has a complex engine line-up. Many brands are going with a “one engine will do” approach for their standard model range, and that’s likely to only increase as the world moves towards electrification.
But that said, the 2021 version of the 3008 has three engines available at launch, and there’s more coming!
The Allure and GT petrol models run a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine (known as Puretech 165), producing 121kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1400rpm. It is available only with a six-speed automatic and it is front-wheel drive, like all 3008s. The claimed 0-100km/h time is 9.9 seconds.
Next up the engine specs list is the petrol-powered GT Sport, which also has a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo, but with a bit more grunt - as the Puretech 180 name might suggest. There’s 133kW of power at 5500rpm, and 250Nm of torque (at 1650rpm). This engine uses an eight-speed automatic, is FWD/2WD, and has engine start-stop tech. It can do 0-100km/h in a claimed 8.8sec.
Then there’s the diesel model - the GT diesel’s Blue HDi 180 - which is a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder unit producing 131kW of power (at 3750rpm) and a huge 400Nm of torque (at 2000rpm). Again, there’s an eight-speed auto and FWD, and it seemingly struggles to put that grunt to the road, with a 0-100 speed of 9.0sec.
The 3008 range will be bolstered by plug-in hybrid versions in the latter part of 2021.
It is expected there will be the Hybrid 225 model, using 2WD with a 1.6-litre petrol engine teamed to an electric motor and a 13.2kWh battery pack, with a resulting 56km range.
The Hybrid4 300 model packs a bit more power and torque, as well as the inclusion of all-wheel drive by way of a rear-mounted electric motor in addition to a front-mounted electric motor and a 13.2kWh battery pack, said to be good for 59km of electric range.
We look forward to sampling the PHEV versions later in 2021. Stay tuned for coverage.
Official combined cycle fuel consumption figures vary across the engine range. In fact, it even varies across the variants!
For instance, the 1.6L Puretech 165 four-cylinder in the Allure and GT petrol models is not identical. The official figure is 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres for the Allure, while the GT petrol is said to use 7.0L/100km, which could be down to tyres and some aero differences.
Then there’s the GT Sport, the most powerful petrol (Puretech 180), which has an official consumption of 5.6L/100km. It’s so much lower because it has engine start-stop technology, where the other 1.6L doesn’t.
The Blue HDi 180 engine has the lowest official fuel use figure of 5.0L/100km. It has start-stop tech, too, but no AdBlue after treatment.
I filled up after a few hundred kilometres of testing and had a real-world at the pump return of 8.5L/100km in the GT petrol.
The petrol models both require 95RON premium unleaded fuel.
Fuel tank capacity for all models is 53L, so theoretical driving range is very good for the diesel.
About as old school as rocking a pair of button-up tracksuit pants with a Run-DMC cassette stuffed into your Walkman.
On a straight and unchallenging road, there's stuff to like about the petrol-powered XUV500. The engine, while gruff under heavy acceleration, doesn't feel too wheezy when you're not asking a great deal of it, and nor is the cabin overly loud at suburban speeds. It's a comfortable space for driver and passengers, too, and the gearbox performed seamlessly on our short test drive.
But that's about where the good news ends. There's an unshakeable agricultural feel to the way this Mahindra SUV goes about its business, and nowhere is that more obvious than through the steering wheel, which has only a vague and difficult relationship with the the front tyres, making it seriously tricky to approach twisting roads with anything approaching confidence.
The steering is slow and cumbersome - light when you first begin turning the wheel, with a ton of weight appearing by surprise midway through the cornering process - and it has a tendency to fight back should the front wheels find a bump or corrugation in the road, too.
The body lolls about when challenged, too, and the tyres are quick to give up their grip on tighter corners. All of which would give it a certain retro charm if it wasn't so very new, and I must admit I was cackling maniacally on some of the more twisting roads.
But it's simply not a car I could live with.
The Peugeot 3008 GT petrol I drove was a nice, comfortable drive. Not amazing in any particular way, but a really good balance of things you might want in your mid-size SUV.
The ride is particularly well sorted, with a nice level of control and composure over most bumps at most speeds. There can be a bit of side-to-side body wobble at times, but it’s never too flimsy feeling
The steering is quick, and the small steering wheel exacerbates that. You don’t need to make much movement with your hands to affect a prompt response, though there’s not a whole lot of feel going on, so it’s not super fun in the traditional sense despite being easy to steer.
You might look at the engine specs and think, “a 1.6-litre isn’t enough engine for a family SUV like that!”. But you’d be wrong, because it turns out this engine is a zesty little offering.
It pulls hard from a standstill, and offers good power progression up the rev range, too. The engine is urgent enough in its response in roll-on acceleration as well, but the transmission has a real appetite for eating away at the fun you’re trying to have by constantly upshifting in an attempt to save fuel.
There are paddle-shifters if you want to put it in manual mode, and there’s a sport drive mode as well - but really, that’s not the kind of SUV this is. It’s a really competent and comfortable family option, one that is very easy to drive and would certainly be easy to live with.
Another really nice thing about the 3008 is that it’s pretty quiet. There’s not much in the way of road noise or wind rustle to contend with, and I experienced almost no tyre roar from the Michelin rubber of my test car.
My biggest gripe was actually the engine start button. It seemingly requires a lot of pedal pressure on the brake and a fairly good press of the button to ignite the engine, and I also found the shifter could be a touch frustrating when shifting between drive and reverse, too.
Those are hardly dealbreakers, though. This is a very likeable car.
Expect dual front, front-side and curtain airbags (though the latter don't extend to the third row of seats), along with rear parking sensors and ESP. Stepping up to the W8 trim adds a reversing camera with dynamic guidelines. The XUV500 was awarded a four-star (out of five) ANCAP assessment when tested in 2012.
The Peugeot 3008 range was awarded a five-star ANCAP crash test safety rating back in 2016, and while that was half a decade ago (can you believe it?!), the updated model is even better equipped with safety technology and features.
All models come with auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection including low-light scenarios, plus all grades come with lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and intervention, a surround view 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors, semi-autonomous self parking tech, auto high-beam lights, and adaptive cruise control with a speed limiter.
The GT grade models all have added lane keeping assistance technology to help steer you in your lane at speed, too. Where the Allure has Peugeot’s Advanced Grip Control system, adding off highway driving modes with Mud, Sand and Snow modes - remember, though, it’s a front-wheel drive SUV.
The 3008 is fitted with six airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain) and there are dual ISOFIX and three top-tether points for baby seats.
All XUV500s are covered by a five year/100,000km warranty (though the final two years apply only to the drivetrain), along with five years of complimentary roadside assistance.
The XUV500 is also covered by Mahindra's capped-price servicing program for the first three years of ownership, and will require servicing every six months or 10,000km.
There is a five-year capped-price servicing plan, too. Maintenance intervals are every 12 months/20,000km, which is generous.
But the service costs are high. Worked out over the five year plan, the annual average price per servicing for the Allure and GT petrol models is $553.60; for the GT diesel it’s $568.20; and for the GT Sport it’s $527.80.
Worried about Peugeot 3008 issues, reliability, concerns or recalls? Check out our Peugeot 3008 problems page.