PEUGEOT 3008 REVIEW
In a curious move, Peugeot, who once shunned SUV-style vehicles, now offers a choice of two.
And, typical of its individual approach to the market, one of that pair, the newly-introduced 3008, carries a rugged ‘adventure ready’ style, but comes without an all-wheel-drive option.
Instead (depending on powertrain choices), it gets an optional multi-mode Grip Control, or multi-program ESP for when conditions get marginal.
For everything else, the 3008 carefully blurs the line between hatch-back driveability, SUV versatility and MPV practicality. A family car for all seasons perhaps.
2010 Peugeot 3008 XTE 2.0 HDi
Peugeot has debuted some useful new technology with the 3008.
Range-topping XTE models get Dynamic Roll Control. This is a hydraulic system that works on the rear axle to minimise body roll through corners, helping to deliver handling not expected of a tall-bodied wagon.
Also new is Peugeot’s Distance Alert system, which monitors the distance of the car in front and alerts the driver if the gap should become too narrow using a preset driver-defined distance.
Unlike similar radar cruise control systems, the Peugeot system won’t intervene or control the car’s braking. It does however monitor constantly, even without cruise control set, for an arguably more-useful driver aid.
What’s the appeal?
Lavish levels of equipment, room for growing families and distinctive 'thoroughly European' styling help the 3008 stand apart in the crowded SUV segment.
By adding an extra layer of people-mover versatility and ditching the (let’s face it) often unnecessary all-wheel-drive hardware, the 3008 will appeal to families after the look, but not the heft, of a compact SUV.
What features does it have?
Inside the 3008 there’s dual-zone climate control, head-up display, a fixed panoramic glass roof with electric blind, and underfloor storage for rear seats and in the cargo bay.
Entertainment comes courtesy of a six-speaker single disc MP3 compatible CD player with iPod input, Bluetooth capabilities and steering-column mounted controls.
Rear park assist, 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome mirror caps and lower trims, approach and departure lighting and a split tailgate with a 200 kilogram load-rating cap off the exterior.
What’s under the bonnet?
We tested the 2.0 litre turbo-diesel, which comes linked to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Other engine options include a smaller 1.6 litre turbo-diesel linked to an automated, or clutchless, six speed manual box and a 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine combined with an automatic transmission.
In 2.0 litre guise Peugeot’s HDi diesel engine produces a respectable 120kW at 3750rpm and punches out 340Nm of torque at 2000rpm.
It also features an over-boost function for additional punch during overtaking manoeuvres.
For the 3008’s intended purpose the six-speed automatic is a near perfect match, able to cope well with the lazy power-feed from the 2.0 litre HDi engine.
That’s not so say the engine isn’t strong, the levels of torque delivered ensure it is.
The Peugeot’s engine may be slow to build revs, however, its strong low-down power means it is has no real need to do so quickly.
Mated to an automatic gearbox that picks its ratios well makes the 3008 a relaxed cruiser and quite effortless on the road.
The available sport program is only a novelty and best forgotten about. So too the manual shift gate, which stubbornly ignores driver inputs – likely in the interests of preservation of the drivetrain components
How does it drive?
You have to hand it to the French, or their suspension engineers at least - they know a thing or two about making a car handle.
Now before we get carried away, the 3008 doesn’t boast corner-carving ability combined with a magic carpet ride.
However, the Dynamic Roll Control operating on the rear axle does a surprisingly good job of limiting lean angles when punting through bends.
Considering the 3008 also carries a little extra ride height and a little extra weight over the 308 in which it’s based, the achievement is certainly a tangible one.
Even on the XTE’s 18-inch wheels and across some pretty poor tarmac surfaces, the 3008 has no trouble keeping its occupants unruffled.
Also commendable is the smooth operation and quiet running of the diesel engine right through the rev range. There was almost a moment of “what engine was this again?” at first start up. The lack of “diesel noise” is obvious from both within and outside the cabin.
Others of the 3008’s features also help enhance the driving experience. Cruise control with speed limiter is a godsend when shifting from highway to city driving. Distance Alert also helps keep the driver alert and aware.
Of course, nothing takes the place of an attentive driver, but the digital readout in the head-up display proves superbly useful for monitoring a safe following-distance on the road.
Perhaps not so great is the head-up display itself which, instead of projecting onto the steeply raked windscreen, has its own pane of clear acrylic. We found it annoyingly large and capable of causing some distortion of the road ahead.
It’s also not terribly handy when parking, but thankfully easily folded away when not required.
While the engine delivers a smooth and consistent flow of torque, and the gearbox behaves mostly unnoticed, the 3008 could never be described as quick.
In most situations however it is up to its role, but allowing plenty of room for overtaking is advised.
Communication from the steering wheel is all but non-existent, which helps maintain the unruffled ambience but does little to excite the keen driver.
Thankfully, distractions like wind noise and tyre roar are kept at bay meaning long trips can be carried out effortlessly and conversations easily swapped between front and rear passengers.
What did our passengers think?
Front or rear, our passengers found little to squabble about in the 3008. Comfortable seats all round with long-distance cruising comfort, and a cosseting ride, were appreciated by all.
Rear seat passengers agreed that it’s an environ best enjoyed by those in their early teens, although adults still fit, albeit with limitations on legroom.
The glass roof however, was a hit with all and allowed an added dimension for games of “eye-spy” (crows, clouds and stuff – don’t knock it).
Unfortunately, for comfort, the driver probably fares worst ergonomically speaking, with a seat that can’t quite be lowered enough and a steering wheel that protrudes a little too far.
The result for most shapes and lengths is the adoption of a compromised position at the wheel.
Interior quality and feel?
The style of the dashboard of the 3008 is a departure from the likes of the 207 or 308, although there are plenty of familiar elements.
The look, with chrome accents and the sweeping, almost ‘Audi-esque’ centre stack, carries a premium air, particularly when mated to the optional leather trim of our test
Sadly a few elements let the overall interior quality down, with hard plastics on the door trims yet a soft-touch dash, scratch-prone door pull surrounds and a remarkably low rent audio system nestled amongst an otherwise intergrated centre stack.
Doubts were also raised about the longevity of the passenger assist-grip on the side of the console. Its leather trimming won approval, but its flimsy loose feel did not.
Throughout the cabin the 3008 offers a range of storage options. There are door pockets with bottle holders, although the armrests interfere with taller bottles.
The glovebox is tiny, cut in half by a relay-box housed within, and the owner’s manual lives in a dedicated compartment beneath the steering column.
There’s also a cooled centre console, but the side-hinged lid opens towards the driver (a carry-over from the 3008’s left-hand-drive origins), making it awkward to use.
With the available space stretching to beneath the gear lever though there’s plenty of room in there, just as long as you’re not in a hurry to access items stowed there.
Thankfully the boot atones for some if the storage sins, offering an easy-to-use three-position floor with release handles for the folding rear seats in the boot walls. Storage space measures 512 litres with seats up, or 1604 with them folded.
How safe is it?
Safety equipment includes ABS brakes incorporating Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist and Electronic Stability Control with traction control.
Three-point seat belts are fitted in all seating positions with load-limiting pretensioners used on the front belts.
Euro NCAP testing awarded the 3008 a 5-Star score with Australia’s ANCAP test yet to be conducted on the 3008.
Fuel consumption and green rating
Official fuel consumption for the 3008 is rated at 6.7 l/100km, although Peugeot also claim that adding 18 inch wheels (as worn by the XTE specification on test) adds 0.2 litres to that figure.
On the road we returned 7.9 l/100km, and although it doesn’t quite match the factory figure, our highway trip was hampered by some variable speed limits.
Carbon emissions are 176g/km and the Green Vehicle Guide rates the 3008
XTE HDi three and a half stars out of five.
How does it compare?
It’s a little difficult to know what to compare the 3008 to. Despite officially competing as a compact SUV, the 3008 is perhaps the biggest change to the formula yet, with its front-wheel-drive only chassis and mono-volume body.
Subaru has just launched a turbo-diesel Forester, which in Premium trim comes in at $3000 less than the 3008 XTE, with a closely matched engine (7kW less, 10Nm more) and all-wheel-drive, but no automatic option.
Volkwagen’s Tiguan diesel lists from $3800 less when teamed with an automatic (DSG) gearbox, but to match the XTE’s specification some pricey options need to be included.
The Tiguan carries a more conventional look and superior dynamics however.
X-trail itself is cheaper as a mid-spec TS but $2250 more expensive and much better equipped as a top of the range TL. It is also more suited to off-road forays than any of the others.
Adding petrol-powered models into the mix opens up opposition from RAV4, Outlander, Dualis and CR-V. Our view though is that none of the 3008’s competitors, with the possible exception of the Tiguan, can match the interior quality and panache of the 3008.
warranty coverage is three years or 100,000km with passenger cars also covered by 12 years corrosion warranty.
Exterior colours include Abyssal blue, Shark grey, Perla Nera black, Hickory brown, Vapor grey, Aluminium grey, Hurricane grey, with premium finishes Pearl white and Babylon red also available.
Interior trim is available in light-grey or black fabric, with optional leather.
As the premium-spec model, the 3008 2.0 HDi XTE is priced from $42,990 (plus on road costs).
Additional features on the version we tested included leather trim ($2500) with heated front seats, rear seat entertainment system ($1200) and premium paint ($1000) adding up to somewhat less comfortable ($47,690)
In a number of subtle ways, the 3008 is a return to the days when French cars were quirky innovators. Certainly the ovoid looks of Peugeot’s new SUV signal that convention is being defied.
The drive however is not nearly as polarising, with the 3008 proving that excessive ride height, and even a rear differential isn’t a requirement for the SUV class.
Most are, of course, destined to spend more time in Ikea’s car park than scaling mountain ranges.
That said, putting a foot in the MPV camp and one in SUV territory is both a strength and a weakness.
It means the 3008 carries compromises compared to more-dedicated ‘crossover’ competitors – it is not one to take off-road – but it also offers increased versatility in a very user-friendly package.
It is certainly one for the list if you are looking for a premium feel, a very nice drive, and more than a dash of individuality.