2017 Peugeot 3008 review – International first drive
Paul Horrell’s international first drive 2017 Peugeot 3008 review with performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
IN A NUTSHELL: PEUGEOT MOVES THE 3008 INTO A CONFIDENT NEW GENERATION, WITH A SMART NEW CABIN INSIDE, MORE ASSERTIVE CROSSOVER STYLING OUTSIDE, AND A DYNAMICALLY COMPETENT PLATFORM UNDERNEATH
PRICING TBA WARRANTY 3 YEARS 100,000KM ENGINE 1.6L TURBOCHARGED PETROL 4 CYLINDER POWER 121KWat 6000RPM TORQUE 240NM @ 1400RPM TRANSMISSION 6 SPEED AUTOMATIC DRIVE FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE BODY 4447MM (L); 2098MM (W INC MIRRORS); 1615MM (H) TURNING CIRCLE Not Supplied SEATS 5 TARE WEIGHT 1300KG FUEL TANK 53L FUEL CONSUMPTION 6.0L/100KM COMBINED CYCLE FUEL PETROL 95 RON SPARE TBA TOWING TBA
PEUGEOT IS PUSHING hard in Australia these days, and it’s a good time to be spending the marketing $ because the cars are definitely on the up. This is the new 3008, and it’s a major change from the old one.
When they launched the old car, the French didn’t really ‘get’ SUVs. So they made their 3008 a fairly ugly and bulbous-looking thing, because it majored on interior versatility like the MPVs that were the French industry’s comfort zone.
But this time around, the new 3008 has the bluff, muscled, heavily jewelled looks of the snowballing global SUV fashion. It also has a very striking new dash design. Underneath it’s new too, with the basic platform and suspension being borrowed from the 308 hatchback’s – and that’s a very good place to start.
Peugeot has confirmed it’ll launch in Australia in early 2017 as a 1.6 turbo petrol and 2.0 diesel, both with six-speed autos. Prices and equipment will be confirmed nearer the time. We tested the 3008 with both powertrains at the world launch in Italy.
WHAT’S THE INTERIOR LIKE?
In a word, lush. The French have always had a liking for distinctive cabin design. But they never nailed the quality feel of the Germans. Here, Peugeot has pulled off a bit of a triumph.
There are two TFT displays. One above the steering column bears the usual driver-relevant info.
And one in the centre of the dash carries fuller info on the infotainment and navigation. Both have high resolution and good graphics, and the centre one is a responsive touchscreen.
The driver’s display is mounted high up and close to the windscreen, in a similar position to the instrument pods of the 208 and 308. It’s almost like having a head-up display – you don’t have to shift your eyes’ aim or focus much to check the readouts. And the 3008’s readouts are big, clear and configurable, so you can have the system display what you want to see – for instance a big rev counter on a winding road, but a digital speedo and large navigation instructions in town, or driver-assist info on the highway.
The central tablet-style screen sits above a row of lovely metal piano keys. These shortcut to each main function: navigation, phone, entertainment, climate control and other connected apps. Such hard keys make it far easier to navigate the system, saving you one or two jabs at the screen each time you want to visit a new menu. The system offers phone mirroring (Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink or Android Auto).
This all sits in a stylish modern cabin architecture. Overall touch-quality of the rest of the cabin is terrific, helped by well-chosen materials and upholstery. You get plausible metallic decor strips, soft-touch plastics, and in some versions bits of genuine matt grey oak or grey cloth on the dash and doors. Plus you can opt for leather and Alcantara upholstery with diamond stitching.
Front seats are comfy and supportive. There’s decent storage space too, including door bins, pockets behind the seats. A tray with Qi wireless phone charging plate lies ahead of the transmission lever, a phone-sized bin alongside it and behind it two cupholders – with, on most trim levels, LED rim lighting.
Out back there are more cupholders in the arm-rest, and a ventilation outlet and 12V socket in the console, plus reading lights. But rear foot-room is only average for a mid-size crossover. Also if you specify the glass roof be aware its surround cuts into rear headroom.
The boot is class-average with 591 litres of storage which expands to 1670L when the rear seats are folded down, and has a two-position floor and tie-down hooks, and a flap so long slim objects like skis can poke forward into the passenger area. An electric tailgate with foot-swipe activation is fitted to high-end versions, but it’s even more slow and annoying than these universally slow and annoying gadgets.
WHAT’S IT LIKE ON THE ROAD?
The petrol engine is a 1.6 turbo, from a well-proven family that’s motivated many Peugeots including the 308GTI, and also most last-generation Minis. Here the power is pegged at 121kW, developed at 6000rpm, with torque of 240Nm at 1400rpm. Those figures speak of an engine that does its best work at comparatively low rpm, and so it proves.
That’s ideal for day-to-day driving, though if you fancy coming over all sporty and screaming it round the dial you don’t get any encouragement. It’s reasonably alive to your accelerator inputs, but its sound is a bit of a drone. Hit the ‘sport’ button and there’s some extra synthetic sound overlaid through the car’s speakers, but frankly it just sounds like there’s a hole in the exhaust. Performance is adequate though not sparkling: 0-100kph takes 8.9 seconds according to Peugeot.
The diesel is marginally more powerful, a 2.0 with 133kW and a stout 400Nm. It’s noisier than the petrol, with a bit of an old-fashioned diesel knock. Still, it’s going to be more economical than the petrol across pretty well any kind of use, and the extra torque compared with the petrol will make it feel less stressed if you’re hauling heavy loads or towing a small trailer.
The autobox is smooth enough in normal driving, but can be a bit hesitant and indecisive when you’re cracking on. If it starts to bother you, just use the over-ride paddles.
The small steering wheel might make you expect a nervous and flighty handling set-up, but in fact it’s an easy and intuitive car to steer smoothly. Turn it into a corner and the roll builds up progressively, and there’s more than adequate grip. On bouncing roads the suspension breathes nicely but stays well-damped. And the comparatively supple springs keep things comfortable over pretty well any tarmac, only getting slightly stiff at low town speeds.
Even if the engines can be noisy, in other ways it’s a refined car, pushing tyre and wind noise well into the background. Which is good because the optional Focal stereo is well worth hearing.
Want to go off-road? Look, it’s a FWD soft-roader so take it easy. That said, the soft suspension and decent clearance won’t make it a total laughing stock. Beyond that, an optional package consists of more robust tyre spec, and a ‘grip control’ that reconfigures the stability and accelerator settings for different off-road conditions. The hill descent control has some new interface strategies, and I found it easy to manage down a grassy but dry slope of around 40 degrees. Next year in international markets, Peugeot will release a plug-in hybrid petrol version. This will have an electric drive to the rear axle, giving a form of 4WD (see the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine for a similar system).
WHAT ABOUT THE SAFETY FEATURES?
You can read the European NCAP crash-test results here but in summary the 3008 came off strongly, getting a five-star overall result and protecting the most parts of the dummies well in all impacts tested. It has full-length curtain airbags plus side airbags front and rear.
As for active safety equipment, all versions have autonomous emergency braking, which mitigates urban-speed crashes into the rear of the car in front, and also spots pedestrians and if the speed is less than 50kph will jam on the brakes if the driver fails to. The camera also reads speed limit signs and warns the driver, and with one touch will set the cruise control to that speed. And there’s lane departure warning.
You don’t have to go high up the range (though we don’t yet have confirmation for the Oz market) to get lane-keeping assistance in which the steering nudges you into the centre of the lane, radar cruise control, blind-spot warning and a reversing camera.