I have no idea just how many times I have heard, read and written about the ever expanding market for the Sports Utility Vehicle in South Africa and now with economic trends creating downsizing, the advent of the compact SUV has become a major player.
You cannot deny that this genre of vehicle has found a very solid place in car buyers’ hearts and minds.
It is as though the era of the station wagon has returned but in a far more stylish and flexible package. Take a look around you and the impact of SUVs is very apparent.
It has become almost de rigueur to have one as a second car for any family and with very good reason. The passenger capacity is well suited to the average family with luggage space to match. Don’t be fooled by many of the seven seater versions though, most reduce luggage space to the size of two wallets and a laptop.
Honestly, how often do you need that amount of seats? The compact SUV fits into a perfect slot and it is no surprise that virtually every manufacturer has at least one offering in the segment.
Last week Peugeot entered the arena with the company’s first ever SUV, the 3008.
The claim confused me somewhat, as the 3008 first appeared on the roads in 2009 and was acclaimed by the world’s press, winning several awards. Looking at images of the first generation, it is better described as an MPV than an SUV, but the second generation definitely fits into the latter category.
Revealed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, it followed its predecessor winning multiple awards including the coveted European Car of the Year 2017.
The new C segment SUV was well received with 100 000 orders between October 2016 and March 2017.
Available from launch there are three derivatives and five specification levels. The entry level Active, the Allure, the Allure+, the GT-Line and GT-Line+ topping the range.
All models use the same power plant, the proven four-cylinder 1.6 THP producing 121kW at 6 000rpm with 240NM at 1 400rpm. The turbocharged engine has a claimed consumption of 5.3 litres per 100km with emissions of 156 g/km.
Acceleration from 0-100km/h is claimed at 8.9 seconds and top speed is 201km/h. Power is delivered via a six speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.
Exterior styling features a very upright grille, carrying the Peugeot lion which is flanked by large headlight assemblies, these vary with model as does the grille finish.
A long bonnet with styling lines run into a high waist line which flows into the very neat rear treatment, the LED tail lights have three vertical lines running through them, apparently representing the lion’s claws.
Protective bands are fitted to the bumper skirts, bottom of the doors and wheel arches.
At the rear these house the twin exhaust outlets. All but the entry level Active sport 18 inch alloy wheels, the Active on 17 inch versions.
Although not a 4×4 the 3008 is certainly very capable on gravel roads having a very useful 219mm of ground clearance at its lowest point. The interior is stunning, being the first to employ the new Peugeot i-Cockpit which is certainly a tech enthusiast’s dream.
An eight- inch tablet style display rises from the central dashboard and utilises capacitive technology providing greater reactivity and practicality.
Six piano-key style switches give direct and permanent access to the main control functions such as radio, climate control, navigation (where fitted), vehicle parameters, telephone and mobile applications.
The so called heads up display has a 12.3 inch screen with advanced graphics which can be completely configured and personalized. Seating is supportive and covering is from cloth to leather depending once more on the model derivative.
A leather covered multi-function steering wheel offers both height and reach adjustment.
The cabin is extremely spacious and offers a very comfortable environment for five adult passengers with enough cargo space for all on board.
With the full seating in use, the 3008 still provides 520 litres of luggage space, and with the rear seats folded flat this rises to 1 670 litres.
That rear seat can also be split in a third two thirds configuration for different loads and the passenger seat is also a fold flat supplying a three metre long load space.
An aspect that really pleases me is the supply of a full size alloy spare wheel under the boot floor. I am no fan of the compressor and puncture repair foam that so many manufacturers supply.
Or of being stranded on the side of a road because the puncture damage was bigger than what the suppliers expected.
The specification level of the new 3008 is very high and the technology offered was way beyond me at first glance.
I would need a week in the driveway with the handbook to realise all the facilities offered.
The launch route incorporated a combination of good and reasonable tarmac to gravel roads of varying quality around the Hartbeespoort dam region and I was very pleasantly surprised at the 3008’s dynamics from a handling and comfort point of view.
The steering feedback was very good on all surfaces and the difference in comfort between good tar and rough dirt was barely perceptible.
As with all European offerings, safety is extremely well covered and the 3008 is no exception and has improved safety with the next generation of safety systems and state of the art driver aids.
A new entry level version will arrive next year using the award winning 1.2 litre engine with a manual transmission.
For the fans of diesel engines, the first quarter of 2018 will bring the introduction of a 2.0-litre version.
The Peugeot 3008 as a first SUV for the French manufacturer is an extremely well executed offering with a level of technology that will surely satisfy any who love indulging themselves in total connectivity, and yet providing a drive that will satisfy the old school purist who just enjoys the drive.
It enters a highly competitive market with some very serious opposition; it will be an interesting one to watch over the next few months.
- Peugeot 3008 Active 1.6 THP Auto R399 900
- Peugeot 3008 Allure 1.6 THP Auto R444 900
- Peugeot 3008 Allure+ 1.6 THP Auto R464 900
- Peugeot 3008 GT Line 1.6 THP Auto R499 900
- Peugeot 3008 GT Line+ 1.6 THP Auto R569 900
Pricing includes a four-year / 60 000km Service Plan, a three- year / 100 000km Manufacturer’s Warranty, three- year / 100 000km Roadside Assistance and an optional five-year / 100 000km full maintenance plan is available.