PEUGEOT 4008 REVIEW
Vehicle style: Small SUV
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol four-cylinder
Power and Torque: 110kW at 6000rpm; 197Nm at 4200rpm
Transmissions: Five-speed manual or six-speed CVT automatic
Fuel consumption (claimed): 8.1 l/100km
Fuel Consumption (on test): 12.3 l/100km (CVT through mountain sections) | 10.1 l/100km (manual highway and city driving)
Front and rear, its strong clean lines work.
The arresting grille and deep swage-line rising to a neat rounded tail and high-set rear lights give it quite a presence in the carpark. Especially with the guards filled by the 18-inch alloys of the higher-specced Allure model.
In reality, and quite well-known, the 4008 is based on Mitsubishi's ASX and built by Mitsubishi in Japan with a Peugeot badge.
But, sharing just the doors and roof panel with the car whose platform and drivetrain it borrows, it's a much tidier design. Its track is slightly wider (by just 10mm), and it doesn't have the fussy kicked-up-the-arse look of the ASX (which, overall, is one we don't mind).
It's also well-specced - the feature list for the Allure has everything - and has a sub-$30k entry price for the 2WD variant.
And then there's the suspension. Crikey Moses it's hard - too hard, in fact. But more about that shortly.
Open the doors and the news is good. Inside, the 4008 is very nicely trimmed and finished.
Both Active and Allure models get a premium interior with soft-textured surfaces, piano-black facings, brushed metal garnishes and chrome highlighting on instrument bezels and rotary controls.
The multi-function wheel, with perforated leather trim, is comfortable and sporty, and all switchgear is clear, easy to follow and falls nicely to hand.
The brushed aluminium paddles for the CVT automatic are also right where you need them under the fingertips.
Whether at the wheel of the Active or Allure, the seats are comfortable and well-shaped with ample movement to get easily set at the wheel (which adjusts for reach and rake).
Active models get cloth and 'leatherette' trim, the better-specced Allure comes in supple fine-grained leather - a $3000 cost-option for the Active.
Front seats are electrically-adjustable on the Allure, with manual adjustment for Active grades.
Targeted to "young urban professional couples" who, Peugeot says, "want a car that has all the extras as standard", both Active and Allure models come fully-featured.
Standard is cruise control, power windows, tinted rear windows, height and reach-adjustable steering wheel, chilled glovebox and driver's foot rest.
Also standard add fog-lights, LED daytime-driving lights, automatic headlights and wipers, six speaker sound system, steering-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, electro-chromatic mirror, leather-trimmed steering wheel, automatic air-con, cargo cover, colour multifunction display and a full-sized spare.
The Allure adds Xenon headlights, a very nice leather interior, 18-inch alloys (the Active sits on 16-inch), heated power front seats and height-adjustable passenger seat.
There's not much missing from that spec-sheet. But if you want a little more, there's the option of an integrated sat-nav system (and which also includes Bluetooth functionality, USB connectivity and DVD player) with a full-screen rear camera for $1495.
Standard safety features include seven airbags, a reversing camera (displayed in the mirror), ESC, ABS, emergency brake assist, pretensioning and force-limiting front seatbelts, three-point seatbelts all round and three rear-seat child restraint anchor points.
So it looks good, inside and out, and it's fully featured. All good news to this point for Peugeot's new 4008.
On The Road
This is where things get problematic.
For the launch, Peugeot put us on a reaching run of over 300 kilometres through the Blue Mountains north of Sydney in both Active and Allure models, and in both manual and CVT.
This took us across long sections of rough gravel roads, through water crossings and on some decent climbs and descents on narrow rutted bush tracks. There were also highway sections, and a poke through peak hour traffic, getting there and back.
There is nothing wrong with the engine; producing 110kW at 6000rpm and 197Nm of torque at 4200rpm, it's no fireball, but it spins freely, is nicely balanced and is responsive above 4000rpm.
It works best with the five-speed manual which has a nice throw and a precise feel through the gate. Performance however is not as crisp with the CVT automatic, even when using the paddles to keep revs high.
With tall 'ratios' and not a lot of torque to call on, we were often down into first dragging ourselves up sharp inclines and out of shallow river fords.
And, on the highway, overtaking in the CVT takes a bit of planning and manual control if you're to get 'out and around' quickly.
But, manual or auto, the 4008 is ample quick enough for safe, sensible driving.
It's also got the ASX's switchable driving modes, with the default 2WD setting and two 4WD modes - one for when the going gets tougher. This puts it at the top end of light-duty SUVs for off-road versatility.
This then brings us to the suspension. Peugeot Australia says that spring and damper rates have been recalibrated for a firmer and more sporting ride.
But it's simply not right.
Firm? It's as hard as a rock. On anything but a table-top surface it judders and jars.
On broken bitumen it bangs and thumps; it crashes over potholes fit to shake your eyeballs out of your head and on truly rough roads it's like riding a jack-hammer.
Worse, it crashes on both the front and rear suspension (which has the tail pitching and banging over stretches of heavy corrugations). The only alternative is to pick your way along, but even then it's uncomfortable.
The electrically-assisted steering too has its problems: it's fine on smooth tarmac though a little wooden (there's no graduation to the weighting as it moves from lock to lock) but is marred by rack-rattle on corrugated corners, especially apparent if accelerating out. This is also common to the ASX.
I've not driven a car for years with such an ill-suited suspension tune for Australian roads. How did Peugeot get a suspension so right in the 508 (which, incidentally, we think is super buying) and so wrong here?
First Drive Verdict
Look, the 4008 is a really handsome and well-finished car, but there's no getting round that hard-as-nails suspension.
For plusses, count the smart interior, the premium feel to the fit and finish, and the fully-specced feature list. Also count the appealing urban style and guards-filling alloys.
Lastly, count the capped-price Peugeot Assured Service Plan as a big plus. Over the first three years, or 60,000 kilometres, scheduled service costs are capped at $990 in total, with free intermediate services.
But if the 4008 is on your short list, put it over a rough road before you buy, otherwise you could find yourself in the wrong car. I couldn't live with it as it is.
The XV and CX-5 in particular manage to combine a nice connected sporting feel with sensible suspension compliance.
- 2.0 4008 Active 2WD manual - $28,990
- 2.0 4008 Active 2WD CVT - $31,490
- 2.0 4008 Active AWD manual - $30,990
- 2.0 4008 Active AWD CVT - $33,490
- 2.0 4008 Allure AWD CVT - $38,990
Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
The 4008 is covered by Peugeot's Assured Service Plan, with servicing costs capped at $330 a year for three years.
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