For some reason, the Peugeot brand hasn’t quite captured the imagination of the South African public. Whereas the old – very old – 404s and 504s had an unenviable reputation for Africa-beating reliability and go-anywhere ability, the re-emerged brand hasn’t established itself in the psyche of the public quite so successfully.
However, if there’s one type of vehicle that could improve any brand’s rep, it’s the mid-size SUV. This segment is burgeoning, and Peugeot’s competitor is the bewitchingly feline 3008 – tested here in GT-Line+ trim.
What can I expect from the 3008?
In almost every respect, the 3008 is like nothing we’ve seen from Peugeot before. Whereas its predecessor was bulbous and boring, this new 3008 is one of the most stylish, nicest-looking SUVs on sale today. Its angular lines are catlike – focussed eyes and snout up front, a sleek profile highlighted by muscular haunches, and a pert rear end.
Then there are the details: the LEDs in the headlamps, the “Coupe Franche” highlight over the glossy black roofline (the GT-Line+ has a full panoramic sunroof, too), the six rear light bars that look like a cat’s claw marks in the horizontal gloss-black bar that runs along the width of the car… The 3008 is easily the most stylish vehicle in its segment.
The designers didn’t rest on their laurels when it came to the interior, either. It’s a complete departure from, well, any other vehicle on the market, really. The two digital screens on Peugeot’s i-Cockpit sit above a soft-touch dash, underscored by a contrasting grey fabric-lined tier where you’ll also find eight “sensory” buttons that allow you to select various functions – such as the bi-zone climate control or satnav.
The small and chunky, two-spoke steering wheel is mounted low (but it’s a joy to use) and the seats are upholstered in exotic-sounding – but super-soft and super-comfy – Nappa Mistral Leather. It’s a sumptuous place to spend time on the road, this 3008.
Is it loaded with lots of safety features and other nice toys?
Peugeot’s i-Cockpit consists of a configurable 12,3-inch instrument panel and eight-inch digital touchscreen thorough which most of the car’s functions are controlled. Being top of the range, the GT-Line+ wants for very little.
The features list includes: LED headlights, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist; camera- and radar-guided advanced emergency brake system; front collision warning; active blindspot detection and driver attention alert. A 360° reversing camera (not of the best quality) is combined with front and rear parking sensors; while voice recognition, mirror link, Wi-Fi and wireless charging add to the high-tech infotainment system.
Oh, and the driver’s seat also features a massage function with a “Cat Paw” mode (and, yes, it feels just like a cat walking up and down your back).
What’s it like from behind the wheel
The model tested here is the 1,6-litre THP – a turbocharged, four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 120 kW and 240 Nm. The basic stats are that it’ll reach 100 km/h in a not-too-shabby 8,9 seconds and consume a claimed 7,0 l/100 km on the combined cycle. The 3008 is, however, much more thirsty around town…
(Happily, Peugeot recently expanded the range to include the 2,0-litre HDi turbodiesel).
Drive is to the front wheels only through a smooth-acting and quick-thinking six-speed automatic. For those who want to venture onto the rough stuff, the 3008 GT-Line+ can be had with Peugeot’s selectable Advanced Grip Control system.
Peugeot’s engineers managed to shed 100 kg from the previous model’s mass, and thus the new 3008 feels light on its feet and easy to manoeuvre. The ride, too, is cossetting, although the 18-inch rims fitted to this model can transmit some harsher thumps through to the cabin.
Should I buy one, or look around?
In a market segment that is continually growing, with competition that is so very accomplished, the Peugeot 3008 is the type of vehicle Peugeot needs to break poor brand perception. Sales really should be higher than they are.
At R519 900, it’s very well priced, too. Those who make the choice to put their money with the French brand will be happy in the fact that they’re getting a stylish, good to drive, well equipped and exceptionally competent vehicle.
CyberStoep rating: 8/10