Fleet innovator test: Peugeot 3008
If there is one car symbolises the reinvention – dare we say renaissance – of Peugeot, it must be the 3008. From a neither-MPV-nor-SUV excels-at-nothing, the C-segment model has transformed into a sophisticated cross-over with lots of industry firsts and a strong flavour. A change for the better? Absolument, but better also means dearer.
Incredible how fast PSA has moved from a carmaker in deep trouble a few years ago, to a strong group that recently acquired one of its major competitors. Under the Push to Pass strategy, Mr Carlos Tavares made some tough calls to cut costs and pilot the French megaship into less turbulent waters. One of the pillars of the strategy consists of reinventing the brands, giving them a clear identity, with technologically advanced models that appeal to the masses and yield more margin. The best example is the recently introduced all-important Peugeot 3008, which proudly carries the title Car of the Year 2017.
A new cross over is born
Design-wise the new 3008 clearly moves away from its kind of outlandish predecessor. The newcomer’s look is less polarising and exudes more adventure and sophistication, clearly drawing the dynamic SUV card. Built on the EMP2 platform, which is also used by the DS 7 Crossback, the Citroën C5 Aircross and the Opel Grandland X, the 3008 sheds 100-odd kilos, while the boot expanded by 90 litres. Peugeot says it paid close attention to material choices and to detail to deliver a high level of perceived quality.
That is indeed what strikes you most as soon as you open the door. Sumptuous, sophisticated, cosseting but also empowering: these are the adjectives that spring to mind. And then your eyes are wooed by the i-Cockpit, featuring a futuristic-looking, entirely digital and hence customizable instrument cluster. Different settings allow you to play with colour, look and type of information on display.
The wheel reinvented
The French manufacturer has its own philosophy as far as the steering wheel is concerned. Introduced by the 208 in 2012 and copied by the 308 in 2014, the tiny wheel adds a sporty aspect and is designed to make you look over it instead of through it when you want to read the gauges. For your average-to-tall driver, this set-up works ok, but if you are on the small side, chances are the top of the steering wheel will block your view on the dials.
That being said, the driving experience is nothing short of pleasing. The limited diameter of the steering wheel translates into a different feeling of control, which you can’t really put your finger on. The gear lever is just where you want it and yields a pleasant sensation as you change up and down. Evidently, driving fun is not the monopoly of a certain Bavarian manufacturer, even if it’s the front wheels that are driven.
Engine, efficiency, comfort and handling
Peugeot provided us with a 3008 powered by the 1.6 BlueHDi diesel outputting 115 hp. That might seem a bit meagre, but the opposite is true in practice. This modern four-cylinder is very well-behaved, smooth in operation and delivers satisfying performance, aided by the well-engineered gearbox. In spite of our eager driving style, our vehicle burnt a bit less than 6 litres per 100 km on average - convincing proof of its efficiency-oriented nature.
The French still know how to put a chassis together, too. Peugeot strikes a remarkable balance between comfort and road-holding, putting both driver and passengers at ease. The 3008 takes corners just as confidently as a 308, keeping the body nicely level and never losing its composure. Noise and vibrations are well contained as well, and front axle torque hardly ever travels up the steering column. Chapeau. Also hats off for the front seats, which offer support in all the right places - and feature massaging air pockets as an optional extra.
Safety and connectivity
Every 3008 features Lane Departure Warning and Attention Assist. Unfortunately, Autonomous Emergency Braking for pedestrians and other vehicles is not fitted as standard – in fact, you need to take at least the Allure version to gain access to this life-saving technology. Rather disconcerting, and so is the fact that Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and Active Cruise Control with distance monitoring are the privilege of the higher versions, too.
The impressive infotainment system is included as from the Active trim level, but the ‘connected’ navigation module with smartphone mirroring capability (Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink, Android Auto) and eCall (crash response) costs extra. The interface is rather intuitive to operate and the menus relatively logical. Nonetheless, the metallic toggle keys at the bottom of the centre stack are as useful as they are pretty to look at, as they offer direct access to important functions.
The bottom line
We were left with mixed, but overal positive feelings after a week of testing this promising, original, innovating C-segment cross-over. It hits the mark on so many levels, offering a convincing overall package that might even seduce a public until now focused on the German premium models, but you need to dig relatively deep in your pockets to gain access to safety and connectivity equipment that this Peugeot needs to strike you with awe.
Looking at the lease rates, the 3008 is in the same league as the (expensive) VW Tiguan, while the Renault Kadjar, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage come at a more reasonable price. Contrary to the latter four, the Peugeot does not offer all-wheel drive as an optional extra, which might be a drawback for some markets. On a positive note: 104 g/km of CO2 is lower than most of its rivals, and the Pug does feature some pretty interesting goodies unavailable elsewhere.
Innovative features, impressive interior quality
Enjoyable and fuel-efficient 1.6 diesel
Balance between comfort and handling
Advanced safety and connectivity kit not standard
Relatively expensive when well equipped
Tiny steering wheel not fit for everyone
|Key specs 1.6 BlueHDI 115 hp S&S|
|Engine||1.6-litre 4-cylinder diesel|
|Power output||85 kW/115 hp @3,500 rpm|
|Torque||300 Nm @1,750 rpm|
|NEDC fuel consumption / CO2||4.0 l/100 km / 104 g/km|
|Transmission||6-speed manual, front wheel drive|
|Length/width/height (mm)||4,447 / 1,841 / 1,624|
|Boot capacity (litres)||520 – 1,482|
|Standard wheel size||215/65 R 17 V|
|Main competitors||Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, VW Tiguan, Renault Kadjar|
|Most interesting fleet model (EU5)||1.6 BlueHDi 115 hp S&S Allure with Pack Safety Plus|
Picture copyright: Peugeot, 2017