- Attractive appearance
- Solid European quality and refinement
- Available in front-wheel-drive only
- Space-saver spare wheel
Peugeot’s all-new 3008 is aimed at discerning buyers who want a premium medium-size SUV with a touch of individuality. As the 2017 European Car of the Year, the French-built 3008 comes with good credentials but it’s up against some strong competition in models well proven under Australian conditions.
For a start, the 3008 is two-wheel drive only, whereas many other SUV line-ups have a range of all-wheel-drive versions. And Peugeot has taken an upmarket approach in kitting out its four-model line-up, with the entry-point car (the Active, from $36,990 plus on-road costs) priced at about what you’d pay for a mid-spec model from most mainstream makers in the class.
The second-tier Allure we drove is $39,490 plus on-road costs, and Peugeot expects it to be the top-selling version. It comes with an interesting array of standard equipment and some advanced safety features, which can be augmented by a $1500 option pack that contains safety systems found as standard on the higher-grade GT Line ($43,490) and GT ($49,490) models.
A new breed
This second-generation 3008 is a totally different breed to the first version, which was an awkward blend of people mover and crossover SUV that missed the mark. The new model focuses on what current buyers want: a practical-size, five-seat, urban-style, family-friendly SUV.
The Active, Allure, and GT Line grades are all powered by a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine, while the GT has a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine. All employ a conventional six-speed automatic transmission.
Our test vehicle’s distinctive body lines attracted plenty of positive comments, while the interior presentation, featuring Peugeot’s i-Cockpit, has a unique style and character that sets it apart. Technology abounds in the configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and an 8.0-inch touch-screen.
In the front, the large centre console and high waistline create a slightly enclosed, cockpit feel. This unique presentation is capped off by a small, unusually shaped sports steering wheel that has flat sections top and bottom, allowing a good view of the high-mounted instrument panel. The set-up mostly works well but occasionally you need to go hunting for a function, and the slow engagement of the stop/start button on our test car was a little frustrating.
Rear-seat leg and head room is respectable for this size of vehicle, while the centre position is more of a squeeze. Luggage space is good, and the 60/40-split rear seat folds almost flat. For a second-tier model, the Allure’s trim materials give the cabin quite a premium look, while the quality of the fit and finish is high.
Peugeot’s petrol engine has 121kW of power and 240Nm of torque on tap. The transmission is well matched and it’s not lugging around as many under-utilised components as its all-wheel-drive peers, so the 3008 is lighter and there’s ample performance to do the job.
Fuel consumption is competitive. The official figure is 7.0L/100km but our test car averaged 8.9L/100km. It requires premium-grade petrol.
Slight wheel spin under hard acceleration on a wet road is a subtle reminder that the 3008 is only 2WD, but the electronics quickly bring everything under control. The handling has a surefooted feel and the ride is comfortably controlled.
Advanced grip system
While the 3008’s lack of all-wheel drive precludes any pretence of making it an off-roader, Peugeot does offer an optional Advanced Grip Control system for when conditions get loose and slippery. This provides five levels of traction control that the driver can select to suit the road conditions: Normal, Snow, Mud, Sand and ESP (stability control) Off, plus a new Hill Descent Assist Control.
So to those who may ask, “Do you really need all-wheel drive in this type of vehicle?” we think probably not. In normal use, a vast majority of drivers will not miss it.
Australian distributorship for Peugeot and Citroen was recently taken over by Inchcape, which has a long and well-proven track record importing Subarus, and it is promising to further develop Peugeot’s profile and the customer experience.