The Peugeot 3008 SUV is something else. It has racked up numerous awards (in excess of 35), not least among them the European Car of the Year 2017 and Women’s World Car of the Year. And not for nothing.
We spent some time driving the 3008 1.6 GT-Line Auto and I’d love to say ‘we’ fell in love with it instantly, but as with all things bright and beautiful, falling in love a 100% subjective. I certainly did, head over heels within one day, however our Ed was a little more aloof when it came to such a ‘fancy’ vehicle. His magnum opus would be the Nissan Patrol. Fair enough, it’s a good choice, it certainly is the perfect African adventure vehicle. However, for daily driving, largely on tar (for most people that equates to 98% on tar) the Peugeot 3008 is a marvel of function and design. A pièce de résistance.
And based on the acclaim that this spunky SUV has received internationally, I’m not the only one that feels this way.
Forget all the bells and whistles (and there are plenty of them), when you look purely at the performance of the four cylinder, 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, mated to the six-speed auto transmission most folks won’t be left wanting. The 121kW of power with the 240Nm of torque delivers a pleasant punchiness. The medium-size SUV responds swiftly, accelerating beautifully as it switches gears through the auto transmission almost imperceptibly. No, it’s not a nine-speed ZF transmission, but it does the job quite admirably, making it easy and pleasant to drive.
The Peugeot 3008 GT also has paddle shifts for those who prefer some manual control, although its easy to become complacent and just let the 3008 make the changes. It is perfect as a compact family cruiser or as a nippy, city-sleek ride.
For those who want a high-performance sports SUV that they intend to put through its paces, well then look somewhere else.
Having said that, the 3008 GT does have a sporty edge, with a sport setting. When we switched into sports mode, after driving it in the economical mode, it gained just enough extra oomph to make flying uphill enjoyable, even a tad exciting, without being wild. We did notice how much thirstier it became in its sporty guise, however with a good mix of driving we averaged just under 11-litres per 100km, – without driving in sport mode it would have been considerably lower we suspect.
Acceleration, braking and cornering were all good and the steering was sharp enough with an incredibly comfortable and distinct steering wheel, making the job just that little bit more effortless. The rectangular shape feels natural and easy to hold on to in the corners, helping with grip overall when you turn the wheel.
The front-wheel drive 3008 does not pretend to be what its not and it’s not punted as an off-road vehicle. With 219mm of ground clearance, some solid plastic scuff pads on the sides and front corners, it has a little protection for driving on your regular dirt road that’s in reasonable condition. Weekends away to a farm guest cottage won’t be a problem despite the 19-inch alloys, although this certainly won’t be the vehicle’s playground of choice.
The Peugeot 3008 rides on the EMP2 platform which is lighter than the previous generation’s platform and and between the chassis and the suspension it delivers a comfortable ride without body roll or bounce and yet it’s certainly not too rigid.
The inside of the Peugeot 3008 GT is simply sublime. The quality of the finishes are exquisite and the design is refined, elegant and futuristic without being off-the wall. My first impression when climbing into the cabin was that the level of refinement was very much in line with Jaguar Land Rover’s top-of-the-range HSE derivative of the new Discovery, which is more than double the price. Of course for that price you get a lot more, the stellar 4×4 capability, a large amount of extra space, the aforementioned nine-speed ZF transmission and the list goes on. We’re not holding the two vehicles side by side, other than to say that the 3008’s feel when it comes to luxury inside the cabin is comparable on a smaller scale.
The derivative of this French SUV that I had came with leather seats with stitching that divides the leather into beautifully elongated, octagonal panels that are joined in pairs. The seats are firm and supportive with adjustable lumber support, the font seats have heating and the driver’s seat even has a massage function. We liked the dark roof lining; not only does it enhance the interior but it is practical (I currently have a mountain-bike tyre mark on the pale roof lining of my own vehicle). The Peugeot’s automatic gear lever is sleek with a smooth tactility that is pleasant. The famous piano key knobs in the centre console are well-crafted and sturdy and a pleasure to interact with.
What really impressed me was the modern, digital display’s functionality, as well as the intuitive infotainment system. Yes, we could all read instructions a little more often before we complain, but it’s a real bug bear of mine when I climb into a new vehicle and I can’t figure out for the life of me how to get my phone synced or how to work the navigation…and being a digital content manager, I don’t consider myself to be technically challenged. With the Peugeot system, not only does it look good but the user experience is a positive one.
From the steering wheel you can change the display in front of you from classic dials to one that displays your navigation directly in front of you, while pushing the speedo and rev counter to either side by changing their design. You can also view you information at the touch of a button, such as current fuel consumption, fuel levels and more. Although some people may find this gimicky and unnecessary, I couldn’t help but loving the way in which the console changes design. It’s modern vehicle tech at its best.
The bells and whistles
Besides things like heated seats and massage functionality, the Peugeot has what we consider a very French oooh-la-la feature. The Amplify version of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit has, as described by the brand itself a selection of fragrances to choose from:
With Amplify, occupants are treated to three exclusive fragrances from internationally renowned perfumer, Scentys and Antoine Lie. This includes ‘Cosmic Leather’, a vibrant and sensory fragrance, ‘Aerodrive’, a lively and stimulating fragrance, and ‘Harmony Wood’, an authentic and relaxing fragrance. Fragrance diffusion is adjustable, with three levels of intensity.
I tested this novel feature out, naturally. The fragrances don’t assault the senses and take about 20 seconds before you can detect them. My family and I found the ‘Harmony Wood’ scent to be the most agreeable, but also the most distinct. You can adjust the amount of perfume that wafts into the cabin from low, medium and high intensity. Even the high setting wasn’t too strong but I didn’t use this feature too often as wondered how long it would take to drain the perfume tanks and exactly how much a refill would set you back. I am yet to inquire.
Somehow, I imagine a French monsieur genie appearing out from one of the air vents, wearing one white glove and a look of disdain and slapping me though the face with the other, in contempt. “How much zou ask! How can zou put a price on zomezing so full of joie de vivre! If zou can’t afford, zen zou zhould not be driving zee Peugeot!”
Alright, clearly I’ve been breathing in enough French perfume (or is it cologne?) for one day. Perhaps that explains the love affair with this sublime vehicle.
Text and photos (other than one interior shots supplied by Peugeot): Elise Kirsten
Active 1.6 THP Auto R399 900
Allure 1.6 THP Auto R444 900
Allure+ 1.6 THP Auto R464 900
GT Line 1.6 THP Auto R499 900
GT Line+ 1.6 THP Auto R569 900
The Peugeot 3008 comes with a four-year/60 000 service plan, a three-year/100 000km manufacturer warranty, three-year/100 000km roadside assistance and an optional five-year/100 000km full maintenance plan is available.