Big on Charm
The lion’s share of sales of the burgeoning sports-utility vehicle market may escape the Peugeot 3008; but it remains a solid option for buyers looking to add a bit of ‘joie de vivre’ to their daily commute.
I guess we can stop referring to the exponential growth of the SUV market, and how it solidly, and consistently, outperforms just about every other segment in the market. Sedans, and even standard hatches, are being replaced by ever more options in the small-, medium-, and large SUV market. Not to mention what the stats look like when crossover numbers are added to the mix as well.
WHAT IT IS
While the SUV story is mostly a tale of success, the not-so-newbie at the medium-sized end of the spectrum, the Peugeot 3008, consistently struggles to translate its unique approach to the SUV into bums in driver seats. It’s baffling when considering its attractive design and contemporary interior that positively bristles with tech. But, save for rival brand, Renault, South Africans still seem to scoff at the idea of driving French.
There is a lot to like about the 3008. The large cabin is positively luxurious and, unsurprisingly, well appointed. Almost all buttons and controls are customisable to suit the particular tastes of the driver, and the compact steering wheel – a Peugeot trademark – creates the impression that you’re driving a substantially sportier car. Granted, some may find the odd positioning of the wheel a little disconcerting (one peeks over the wheel to see the instrumentation, instead of through it), but this added to the car’s overall flair for me.
Speaking of flair, the Peugeot i-Cockpit system adds sensory stimulation to the driving experience with smart interior lighting, subtle scenting options, and front seat massage functions in our Allure test model. Adding to the feeling of sportiness, modulated engine sound is pumped into the cabin via the speakers when driving in Sport mode.
Seats are supportive and very comfortable, and legroom does not disappoint regardless of where you’re sitting. There are numerous stowage bins and boxes, and boot space of 591 litres (1,670 litres with seats folded away) beats its direct competitors’ hands down.
The 3008 undoubtedly has a tough time competing against established rivals, including the Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sportage, and Volkswagen Tiguan. But when it comes down to the numbers that matter, our 2.0HDi Allure tester fares quite well against its competition.
While there may be cheaper diesel-powered alternatives than the R491,000 of the 3008, none offer the same level of technology, standard comfort and safety features, and comparative power at the price. Coming closest to the mark is the Nissan X-Trail 1.6dCi at R501,500, with the Kia Sportage 2.0CRDi EX (R521,995) taking second place, and the VW Tiguan 2.0TDI Comfortline R-Line standing third in line at R526,450.
To be sure, the Peugeot holds itself in esteemed company, equalling or besting its rivals in most significant markers, including average fuel consumption (5.0 litres/100 km), maximum ground clearance (219 mm), and the zero to 100 km/h sprint (8.9 seconds).
The 3008 is a handsome creature that is beautifully put together with attention to detail visible both inside and out. Although a decent warranty (100,000 km) and service plan (60,000 km) are standard across the 3008 range, Peugeot should consider that its rivals offer better deals. Improving this offering alone will go a long way to finally beat the misguided perception that buying French in South Africa is a risk not worth taking.
Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © PEUGEOT SOUTH AFRICA