Four months into the year, and Peugeot South Africa, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Stellantis Group, has already unveiled its second new model, the C-segment 3008 SUV. Playing in the market against the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, and sister-brand Citroën C5 Aircross, the 3008 continues the onward march of the newly-energised French marque in South Africa.
Not too long ago, Peugeot was underperforming significantly compared to its peers in the local market, despite the brand’s strong showing in other countries. Years of lukewarm sales and reputational challenges left the nameplate – one of the oldest in the world – retreating in segment after segment.
However, it now seems that 2021 is the year of Peugeot’s return to glory, with products that once again inspire and excite. It began with the critically commended 2008, and now the significantly refreshed 3008 SUV.
THE LION ROARS AGAIN
If there is one element that brings all Peugeot SUV models – from the 2008 to the 5008 – together, it is beautiful design. Innovative, assertive lines and powerful symbolism in the brand’s Lion motif – visible from the signature daytime running light setup in the front to the three-claw 3D-effect taillight clusters – cement Peugeot’s positioning as an innovative, high-end generalist brand.
The most significant styling changes to the 3008 upgrade are visible at the restyled front, where a new frameless grille design and new LED headlights (and DRLs) underpin the return of the 3008 model designation to the bonnet – a styling cue of all Peugeots from yesteryear.
As mentioned, the rear light clusters have also undergone significant changes, with always-on 3D-effect light clusters and scrolling indicators standard across the three-model range.
Chrome roof trim strips and new wheel designs across the range complete the exterior upgrades for the 2021 model year.
The good news story continues inside the cabin, where upgrades include a 10” infotainment system on some models, dark limewood accents, and a frameless electro-chromatic rear-view mirror.
CAT (GRADE) WALK
The three-model line-up begins with the Allure, which is in no way left wanting for standard specifications. All three models get the surprisingly spirited 1.6-litre engine and six-speed automatic transmission combination that is good for 121 kW of power and 240 Nm of torque.
The Allure starts the grade walk with 17″ alloy rims, electric and heated mirrors with LED indicators and automatic headlights. An 8″ capacitive touchscreen forms the car’s infotainment command centre, while the driver gets a fully digital 12.3″ instrument cluster. Key driver aids include rearward park distance control and lane departure warning.
In addition to these features, the Active derivative boasts a forward collision warning and blind-spot detection system, advanced emergency braking, front parking aid, and high-beam assist. Keyless entry is also standard on this model and above, as is an electric and hands-free tailgate, heated front seats (with electric adjustment on the driver’s side), and a 180-degree “Visio” camera system.
At the top end, the GT model raises the bar with several top-model-only toys. A “black diamond” roof, 19″ alloys, and full matrix LED headlights enhance the exterior, as night-functioning radar detection is added to the emergency braking system of the Allure, as is adaptive cruise control.
Perhaps the most significant enhancements occur inside the cabin, where Nappa Mistral leather (available in red as a no-cost option), a 10″ infotainment touchscreen with 10-speaker Focal Premium sound system, a massaging driver seat, wireless smartphone charging pad, and onboard navigation complete the laundry list of standard specification items.
AN EXPERIENCE TO SAVOUR
It can be said that the 3008’s most alluring feature is its soft-spoken first-class driving experience. Peugeot places a premium on driver enjoyment, and this car showcases the best that the brand has to offer in this respect. Noise intrusion (wind and road) is kept to an absolute minimum, and ride quality from the supple suspension is firm enough to allow for brisk driving while being comfortable enough to cruise along the Cape Peninsula with effortless grace.
In its segment, the 3008 makes a very compelling argument that new car buyers and other brands will find hard to ignore. Backed by a significant five-year or 100,000 km warranty and service plan, the 3008 should evaporate any doubts that customers may have had regarding Peugeot’s commitment to their peace of mind. Peugeot may still have some way to go to change some negative perceptions that persist in South Africa, but there is an energy to the punching-above-its-weight brand that is hard to ignore right now. And this energy is backed by increasingly excellent product offerings such as the 3008.
Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © PEUGEOT SOUTH AFRICA