What constitutes a ‘premium’ offering these days? It’s a question worth pondering while approaching the 2017 Peugeot 3008 GT-Line.
The likes of UberX could be now classified as such, despite being cheaper than, say, Silver Service, because these days saving time via tech is seen as a high-end attribute. And likewise Air BNB, which can deliver a stunning view on your holiday that might elude that of the nearby posh hotel.
Yes, premium quality and dollar quantity have become more mutually exclusive than ever. In the automotive world, French brands have long been a whisker costlier than mainstream models, while being cheaper than premium – read German – products.
This new 3008 promises to mix the pragmatism of the former group, with the ‘premium-ness’ of the latter. So could that make it pitch-perfect for the times?
Vehicle Style: Medium SUV Price: $43,490 (plus on-road costs)
Engine/trans: 121kW/240Nm 1.6 four-cylinder turbo petrol | six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 7.3 l/100km | Tested: 10.6 l/100km
The 3008 range starts with the $36,990 plus on-road costs Active, then rises to the $39,490 (plus orc) Allure, then the as-tested $43,490 (plus orc) GT-Line, all of which use a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic.
For $4000 over the Allure, the GT-Line gets – in addition to already-standard 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, keyless auto-entry, around-view camera and auto park assistance – full LED headlights, foglights, part-leather trim, electric-fold door mirrors with puddle lights, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), active cruise control, blind-spot monitor and lane-departure warning with lane-keep assistance.
Options include full leather, with heated front seats and electrically adjustable driver’s seat ($3700), a panoramic sunroof ($2000) and electric tailgate ($500), all of which hikes the price to $49,690 (plus orc).
The trouble is, a brilliant Mazda CX-5 Akera is $46,990 (plus orc) with near-identical specification, plus all-wheel drive versus front-wheel drive featured here. Perhaps, though, the Peugeot is a closer rival to the size-smaller, but similarly priced Audi Q2? The next section reveals why that could be the case.
- Standard Equipment: Keyless auto-entry, multi-function trip computer, power windows and mirrors, dual-zone climate control, active cruise control, leather steering wheel and gearshifter, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto on/off wipers and full LED headlights with auto up/down high beam. Infotainment: Full colour driver display and 8.0-inch centre touchscreen with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring with induction charging, USB input, digital radio, satellite navigation with voice control and eight speakers.
- Options Fitted: Panoramic sunroof ($2000), electric tailgate ($500) and Grip Control ($200).
- Cargo Volume: 591 litres.
Whatever the definition of the word ‘premium’, the Peugeot 3008 achieves it inside. The biggest compliment that can be given to this medium SUV is that the GT-Line needs not a single option box to be ticked in order to feel suitably upmarket.
It starts from the moment the door mirrors electrically unfurl on approach, and at night they beam a Peugeot lion badge onto the ground. The driver’s seat is among the most snug and supportive in the segment, with the standard leather side bolsters also feeling like the highest grade of cow-hide has been used.
Leather also drapes both the door trim handles, the gearshifter and the tiny steering wheel that sits just below the all-colour widescreen driver display. The graphics of the i-Cockpit are first class, soundly eclipsing Volkswagen’s equivalent available optionally in the Tiguan, and coming within earshot of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit in Q2.
While the centre screen could employ higher-grade graphics for the navigation, which also lacks voice control functionality for Australia despite being available overseas, its speed and intuition is far better than the unit in the older 308 hatchback.
The alloy-look shortcut toggles below the screen work a treat, allowing a driver to easily flick between phone, media, map, climate and settings. Add in the smartphone wireless charging and great sound system quality, and it’s a real treat to use.
A swathe of textured soft-touch plastic material also cloaks even the lower dashboard, and across the tops of the door trims, all flanked with soft mood lighting. The only downside is that fit-and-finish of our test car was ordinary, particularly around the variable shutline of the glovebox and a squeaky driver’s door handle.
And it’s in the back-seat where this Peugeot steps most away from being a direct CX-5 or Tiguan rival.
It is noticeably more cramped for headrooom and legroom than those vehicles, although the bench is comfortable and rear air-vents are included, and it bests a Q2.
Unlike any of those rivals, however, the 3008 has not been engineered for all-wheel drive, and what that means is a compact wagon-rivalling low floor and, ultimately, extra luggage space as a result. With a capacity of 591 litres, this is one of the biggest boots around.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 121kW/240Nm 1.6 4cyl turbo petrol
- Transmission: six-speed automatic, FWD
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear
- Brake: ventilated front and rear disc brakes
- Steering: electrically assisted mechanical steering
It’s perhaps little surprise that the Peugeot 3008 feels a bit like a compact wagon in the boot area, because it shares its platform with its 308 hatchback sibling.
That means a space-friendly torsion bar rear suspension design, in lieu of the more sophisticated independent rear suspension used in all rivals, bar front-drive versions of the Q2.
It also scores a lighter kerb weight overall than most competitors. The GT-Line’s 1371kg mass is beaten only by the 1280kg Audi mentioned above, while it comes in well below a 1633kg CX-5 petrol with all-wheel drive.
Petite and nimble behaviour unsurprisingly defines the way this Peugeot drives, then. Its steering is immediately responsive and consistently light – milky rather than creamy in weight – while urban ride comfort is cushy yet composed at urban speeds.
Although the 1.6-litre turbo only delivers 121kW of power at 6000rpm, and 240Nm at 1400rpm, it remains refined yet spritely around town, aided by a decent six-speed automatic transmission that for most drivers will be smooth and slick enough.
Indeed, this Peugeot is one of the most impressively nimble SUVs to drive through city laneways and backstreets.
Only beyond city limits does the 3008 expose a slight lack of sophistication. At higher speeds the auto can be slow to respond, then frantically over-rev the engine to deliver the required response. On really craggy country roads the ride can turn a fraction bouncy and noisy, while the ($200-optional) mud and snow 18-inch tyres (fitted to our test car) sorely lack the grip to capitalise on the responsive chassis.
In this way a CX-5 simply offers a greater depth of ability – or yes, even premium-ness – thanks to a smarter auto, more supple ride and unwavering dynamic ability.
Beyond the metro areas, then, the GT-Line is a good rather than great effort.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars – the Peugeot 3008 scored 32.9 out of 38 possible points when tested by ANCAP in 2016.
Safety Features: Dual front, front-side and full-length curtain airbags, ABS and ESC, 360-degree camera with front and rear parking sensors and automatic reverse-park assistance, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitor and lane-departure warning with lane-keep assistance.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/unlimited kilometres.
Servicing: Superb annual or 20,000km intervals come with a capped-price cost of $477/$833/$477/$845/$489 to five years or 100,000km.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
A $41,500 (plus orc) Q2 1.4 TFSI Design need an optional virtual cockpit, active cruise control and auto high-beam/lane-keep/reverse-park assist package to match the Peugeot, which is roomier and classier anyway.
The $47,200 (plus orc) Mini Countryman S is slightly better to drive and similarly specified, meanwhile, but the 3008 GT-Line is still thousands cheaper (albeit slower).
The danger for the GT-Line comes in options pricing, because it can get too close to a CX-5 Akera that is roomier and better to drive, and also a Tiguan 162TSI Highline that delivers 2.0-litre turbo power for $48,490 (plus orc).
- Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI Design
- Mazda CX-5 GT/Akera
- Mini Countryman Cooper S
- Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline/162TSI Highline
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Despite intense competition, there are clear reasons to choose the Peugeot 3008 GT-Line over either premium-small or mainstream-medium SUV rivals.
Stay away from the options list, firstly, and the GT-Line feels special enough and well-kitted enough for the price. Its superb interior design and part-leather trim speaks for itself without needing to spend thousands on full leather, electric-adjust driver’s seat, and a sunroof. Tick an electric tailgate ($500) and it would be all set.
For $43,490 (plus orc) the 3008 feels more premium than a Q2, while also being roomier and better equipped. Yet it further delivers just enough of the sort of pragmatic virtues of a CX-5 or Tiguan to win over both ‘lifestyle’ and family buyers.
Most importantly, this Peugeot feels like its own thing. It could be more polished on rough roads, with better options pricing and a smarter engine/auto, but these are few blots on the copybook of a firmly semi-premium package.
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