Brian Joss – There was something about the Peugeot 3008 SUV that made me grin from year-to-ear whenever I took it for a drive, whether to the nearest shopping mall or fittingly to Franschhoek, that “French enclave” in the Western Cape.
There are seven derivatives in the range: five powered by the 1.6 Pure Tech turbocharged petrol engine and two models with the 2 litre diesel engine. The flagship is the GT Line, which has all the trim, but the test car was the 3008 Allure 1.6 Pure Tech automatic and it has plenty of allure. And lots of bells and whistles.
The two-tone black and white colour was eye-catching as was the elegant design that attracted a lot of attention even in the village where Porsches, Mercs and BMWs are two-a-penny.
You have to hand it to the French, their joie de vivre, enjoyment of life, is often reflected in the cars they build and the 3008 is no exception. It has that undefinable air and it shouts quality, inside and out. There have been quite a few changes since the 3008 was introduced in 2013 but they are so subtle that you would hardly notice them. I’m not going into detail but the 3008 SUV is built on a new modular base and it is longer at 82 mm, 15 mm lower and 3 mm narrower. And to get the technical stuff out of the way. The SUV puts out 121 kW between 5 200 rpm and 6 000 rpm with 240 Nm of torque between 1 400 rpm and 4 000rpm. According to Peugeot it can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.9 seconds with a top speed of 201km/h.
The interior is classy and boasts Peugeot’s famed latest generation i-Cockpit. The 8″ touch screen installed in the center of dashboard looks like a Tablet. There are six piano key “toggle switches” through which you can operate the radio, climate control, navigation, vehicle parameters, telephone and mobile applications. The head-up digital instrument panel features a 12.3″ screen with futuristic graphics that you can customise for your own use. The display offers various views ranging from gauges that show power, boost pressure, torque percentage, speedometer and rev counter; one that has Satnav (standard in the GT Line as is the rear view camera); another has dials for speed and rpm and one view which is just a digital speedometer. You can also change the ambient lighting and the colour screens; you can change the massage function which is built into the electrically adjusted seats. When the SUV is in Sport Mode you can amplify the engine to send the sound through the audio system. Best of all the i-Cockpit is easy to operate which you can do from the steering wheel.
The 3008 also has an “aroma” feature which offers three fragrances: Cosmic Leather, Aerodrive and Harmony Wood. I think it is a gimmick. But it is another one of those touches that the French are so good at.
Inside, it has oodles of sophistication: quality materials and finishes.
There’s an armrest with the ubiquitous cup holders: I would have preferred holders for Champagne glasses and a bottle of Moët & Chandon in the door pocket; a 12-volt socket, two seatback pockets and a courtesy lamp with individual map lights. There is plenty of headroom for rear seat passengers and three adults should be able to sit quite comfortably although taller people may find the legroom a bit cramped.
Boot space has also improved with a capacity of 520 litres, and with the second row of seats flat it expands to 1 670 litres, one of the largest in the segment, according to Peugeot.
Driving the 3008 is a delight. The six-speed automatic transmission is well matched to the 1.6 litre engine. It is a little different to your run-of-the-mill auto box and does take time to get used to. The short lever can only move forward and back, with the park selector button on top, and the unlocking button on the side. The electronic parking brake is manually operated. There is no hunting at all and if you’re going downhill the 3008 reacts quickly when you touch the brake pedal, by moving a gear to help with engine braking. The 1.6-litre turbopetrol has plenty of pep up and go.
Press the stop-start button, put the gear lever into drive and you’re away.
Going round corners, even at speed, the SUV feels firm on the road. It just Hoovers up the bumps and the ride is more than comfortable. The 3008 is equally at home in the city or on the open road. Braking is excellent too.
Oh, and did I mention that it is quiet. And economical: I recorded figures of just under 8 litres/100km in a town and country cycle, driving at the legal limits. It has a 53-litre fuel tank. There is also a handy icon on the screen that indicates the speed zone that you’re in. Helpful when you’re watching out for “Big Brother” or the many camera traps dotted around the Western Cape roads. Some of them are even disguised as mini electric sub-stations.
Safety features include an active safety brake and distance alert; active involuntary crossing line, a lane departure; audible warnings and active vehicle control, automatic high beam assistance; as well as an alert to the driver to take a break after two hours of continuous driving at speeds of above 65km/h, to name some. The 3008 has won numerous accolades including being voted a finalist in the 2018 Wesbank South African Car of the Year competition. The Peugeot 3008 won the SUV category in the 2017 edition of the Women’s World Car of the Year award, making it the 35th title awarded to the 3008.
The Peugeot 3008 Allure 1.6 Pure Tech ticks all the right boxes whether you’re going to use it for your daily commute or long distance driving. It also has that undefinable French something that will make you the envy of the neighbourhood and have the concierges at the poshest hotels rushing to open the door for you.
The 3008 SUV Allure 1.6 carries a price tag of R459 900. It comes with a four-year/ 60 000km service plan; a three-year 100 00okm warranty and a three year / 100 000km Roadside Assistance
CAPTION: The Peugeot 3008 Allure 1.6 Pure Tech: reflects the French enjoyment of life. Picture: Motorpress