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The new-look Peugeot 3008 has arrived in Australia, repositioned to cash in on the boom in front-drive compact crossovers.
After all, the 3008 — for all its quirk — has scarcely made a dent on the sales charts here since its local launch in 2010. It averaged fewer than 10 sales a month last year.
Considering it’s execution as a left-field, highly practical hatch/crossover that stacks up against a number of similar models with booming sales, this paltry sum is clearly unacceptable.
Peugeot’s strategy with this updated version, replete with softer frontal styling, has been to trim the range back to a single specification level, cut the pricing by $1000 and add equipment.
It has also lobbied industry body VFACTS to re-categorise the 3008 as an SUV rather than a small hatch, and will re-direct its marketing dollars and dealer training in that direction too.
“To he honest we got the positioning wrong,” Peugeot Australia director John Startari acknowledged this week. Obviously the company hopes some clarity on where the segment-straddling 3008 sits will put it onto more Australians’ consideration set.
It’s patently obvious that the 3008 is a left field French answer to a litany of front-drive crossovers and MPVs out there, with its expansive dash, tallboy styling and practical cabin. It’s about the same length and width as a Nissan Qashqai.
While still not the most affordable option out there, at $35,490 plus on-road costs for the petrol and $38,990 for the diesel, it now represents significantly better bang for buck. That said, it still costs more than the average FWD medium SUV, such as the Mazda CX-5 or Subaru Forester.
Intriguingly, it’s also similar is size to the $40,990 Citroen C4 Picasso, a funky front-drive MPV from Peugeot’s sister brand. Buyers after something practical, niche and French have options, in other words.
The Active specification level is now all you can get, but it’s now an entry level in name only. New standard equipment includes a pop-up 7.0-inch screen with satellite-navigation and a reverse camera (sensors also), LED daytime running lights, an Arkamys sound system and under-floor storage bins.
Buyers can also add a new Premium Pack for an additional $3500, which adds full leather seats with heating, a colour heads-up display projected onto a pop-up glass screen, rear window sun blinds and a panoramic glass roof.
See full 2015 Peugeot 3008 pricing and specifications here.
The 3008’s cabin is an even mixture of highly impressive and highly old-hat.
The interior is practical but also exceptionally clever in parts. There’s a split rear tailgate with a bottom piece that acts as a bench, a split floor that can be adjusted to two height settings, a full-sized spare wheel underneath (on petrol models only, oddly, while diesels get a space-saver), and levers in the rear that make flipping the back seats forward a breeze.
You can flip the front passenger seat forward too, giving you a 2.5-metre long area. Cargo space is 435 litres with the seats in place, and up to 1604L with them folded flat — greater than the CX-5. Peugeot also claims the various door pockets and other cubbies total 50L.
In the front, you get an expansive dash and a large glasshouse that, paired with small A-pillars, lends good forward visibility. The bubble shape and big side windows also assist in this area, though the fat C-pillar doesn’t — good thing there’s now that reversing camera. You also sit up nice and high, in proper SUV style.
Rear seat headroom is excellent, though knee room is a little tight and the back of the front seats are coated in cheap plastics. This cheap material carries over to contact points on the doors. You get rear vents and big door pockets, as well as a ski port with small cup holders.
There are two child seat anchors that are compatible with ISOFIX, and there are six airbags including full-length curtains. The 3008 scored a five-star NCAP safety rating in 2010.
The cabin design, beyond its cleverness, is showing its age. This design dates back to 2008, and even new features such as the revised pop up screen look and feel every bit that aged.
The operation of the navigation is via a rather unintuitive array of buttons near the stereo, while the ventilation controls are partially obscured by the gear lever. The screen’s positioning is also faaaaaaar away from the driver.
Modern Peugeots such as the new 208 and 308 have chic and intuitive designs, but the 3008 has a legacy layout that has a few too many quirks for one’s liking. It all feels relatively well-made, though some of the shinier plastics surrounding the fascia and gear lever felt a little low-end.
Our time at the wheel of the 3008 was very limited on this week’s local re-launch.
The entry engine is a 1.6-litre high-compression turbocharged petrol with 115kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1400rpm, which until recently was also used in the 508 sedan and wagon. Peugeot claims combined-cycle fuel consumption of 7.7 litres per 100km.
It can get a little strained under load, but revs out cleanly enough towards 6000rpm and offers a fairly broad — if not surging — slab of torque under moderate throttle, such as what you would use in urban conditions.
There is also a 2.0-litre direct-injected turbo-diesel with 120kW at 3750rpm and 340Nm of torque at 2000rpm, with claimed fuel use on the combined cycle pegged at 6.7L/100km. It’s greater torque output makes this the pick for those ferrying car-loads of people or gear, or those that rack up big-mile drives.
Both engines offer a legal braked-trailer towing capacity of 1500kg, though the diesel would do it easier. Both engines are also matched to a six-speed automatic transmission that seemed intuitive enough.
As mentioned, both are also only offered in front-wheel-drive configuration. This is a crossover for those staying on the black stuff. Oddly, the petrol’s 11-metre turning circle is better than the diesel’s 11.8m figure.
Both versions ride on MacPherson struts up front and a deformable U-shaped cross-member with two arms and a hollow anti-roll bar at the rear, and both sit on 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/50 tyres.
The ride quality over patchwork b-roads and smoother urban surfaces felt assured and compliant, geared towards softness and comfort, but with sufficiently controlled damper rebound dialled in to reduce floating or bobbing after larger ruts or level changes.
The body control is generally well-sorted in other circumstances, meaning the 3008 — while not a notably agile high-riding hatch — is at least controllable if you go for a cruise to the country.
The steering is light around town, though at higher speeds is vague about centre and doesn’t load up all that much. You might say it’s fit for purpose.
From an ownership perspective, the 3008 gets five years of capped-price servicing with increments of 12-months or 15,000km. There’s also a three-year/100,000km warranty that falls short of stablemate Citroen’s six-year term.
At the time of writing, the costs of each visit on the petrol are pegged at between $355 (first service) and $575 (fourth service), and $355 (first service) and $685 (fourth service) on the diesel.
As we mentioned, our time at the wheel of the revised 3008 was limited on the launch, but it was enough to remind us of its practical cargo area and oddball charm despite that aged cabin.
But it also has its work cut out for it, given the ferociously competitive segment in which it now competes.
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