Peugeot 3008 Review
Peugeot is on a roll with some of the most exciting product in the company’s 200 year history to be rolled our over the next decade.
The hugely anticipated Peugeot RCZ two-door sports car is just months away and we can expect a shipment of the new 308 GTi in due course.
Then there’s the stunning ‘5’ concept, seen testing in Madrid last week and rumored to become the ‘508’ and the replacement for the 407 model.
What about the magic 908 Concept, said to be powered by a road going version of the V12 diesel that powers Le Mans LMP1 car, now that we would like to see.
Also pictured on Peugeot’s website is the SR1 sports car concept, a halo car for the brand and said to be capable of sub-five second times for the 0-100km/h sprint.
First cab off the rank for Peugeot in Australia though, is guaranteed to polarise opinions, at least as far as the styling goes. Think of Peugeot’s new 3008 as part SUV, part MPV, part hatch, and if you go for the optional ‘Grip Control’ you can add light 4 X 4 duties to the mix.
Up close and in the metal, it's a smart looker and somewhat futuristic, with its enormous grille and bulbous front-end.
Prestigious is another adjective I would use to describe the 3008, with multiple chrome highlights, including the door mirror housings and doorsills as well as a full-length panoramic glass roof (take note this is not a sunroof) with sunblind.
Inside the cockpit Peugeot have also lifted their game, providing an interior fit out far more salubrious than anything from Japan in this compact crossover SUV category.
If you’re having trouble working out exactly where the Peugeot 3008 fits into Peugeot’s current stable, consider it big bother to the current 308 model lineup although, with its decent size load space of just over 1600-litres with the rear seats folded flat, it’s still smaller than the 308 Touring, which offers over 2000-litres capacity.
That said the 3008 had more than enough load space to swallow a reasonable size load with out resorting to the clever automatic rear seat folding buttons. You’ll also appreciate the split tailgate feature (the bottom section extends out and can take up to 200 kilograms) and the convenience of a ‘3-Position Boot Floor’, which allows for stowage in three separate compartments.
If you like the idea of an on board chiller in your daily ride, then look no further than the 3008. This would have to be the largest unit I have seen in any vehicle, including Toyota LandCruiser Sahara. Just be careful as to what you drop into this ‘fridge’, as you may never find it again, such is its depth and size.
Peugeot have also introduced a host of new techno gadgetry in the 3008 including an odd, but yet effective head-up display, electronic park brake, Distance Alert and Directional Bi-Xenon headlamps to its inventory of comfort and convenience features.
You also get to sit high above the traffic in the 3008, which so many drivers seem to consider mandatory these days, given the sheer explosion of city based SUV’s and four-wheel drive vehicles over the last decade.
Frankly, Peugeot’s newest family member offers one of the most commanding driver positions in the business, with a level of all round vision and ergonomic design superior to any other vehicle in the compact SUV segment.
While the French carmaker has a reputation for building quirky cars, much like it’s sister company Citroen, the one thing that Peugeot’s have always had going for them, is their perfect balance between performance and handling and the 3008 is no exception.
We kicked off our test drive program with the top spec XTE 2.0-litre HDi FAP, most powerful engine in the model range and what a treat this unit is. Redesigned specifically for the 3008, the diesel produces 120 kW at 3750 rpm and 340 Nm from 2000 rpm.
While it’s not the powerful 2.0-litre oil burner on the market, it is however, one of the most refined and quietest diesel poweplants in the game today and refreshingly close to anything out of Germany at this point.
From anywhere on the rev range above idle, I would defy anyone to pick that they’re driving a diesel and that goes for anyone inside the automotive business, in addition to punters and enthusiasts alike.
Peugeot have proven to be the masters of turbo diesel power with the indomitable success of its 908 HDi FAP LMP1 racer powered by a 5.5-litre V12 turbo diesel putting out a staggering 540 kW (730 hp) and a mind blowing 1200 Nm of chassis twisting torque, almost 10 percent more than what Audi’s R10 TDI produces.
Punch the throttle in the 3008 and acceleration is not quite in the same league as the 908, but it’s swift and there’s minimal turbo lag. Keep your right foot into it though, and the variable geometry turbocharger spools up, making overtaking at the speed limit, both effortless and equal to any similarly powered petrol equivalent. The only difference being, that this diesel is most likely quieter.
Equal praise must also go to the Peugeot’s superb six-speed automatic transmission. Gear ratios are perfectly spaced with plenty of pull in all six gears. It’s not exactly the fastest shifting box, but again, it’s refinement that takes front row here.
Climbing up through the twisty terrain towards Victoria’s thinly snow covered ski fields proved to be a treat in the 3008 with its car like drivability and handling.
The 3008 isn’t four-wheel drive although, Peugeot have developed their own quasi all-wheel drive system called ‘grip control’, which is optional on all top shelf XTE variants and requires the vehicle to change over to a 16-inch wheel and tyre package using Michelin “Mud & Snow” tyres. Combined with an enhanced traction control module, the system ensures optimal traction of both front wheels.
Grip Control is fully automatic with up to five different terrain modes able to be selected by the driver from a dedicated dial in the centre console. It’s actually quite effective. In a brief demonstration using the “All-Terrain” mode in slippery mud, the wheel with the least amount of grip span freely in an attempt to rid the tyre of mud, while the wheel with the strongest grip was given as much torque as possible. We also tried the system up a steep track, laden with loose rocks and the 3008 was every bit as effective as an all-wheel drive vehicle in these conditions.
You would be hard pressed to find an SUV that does corners as proficiently as does the 3008. It helps when you have a rack and pinion system as precise and responsive as this unit, especially when coupled to an electro-hydraulic pump providing just enough assistance for a perfectly weighted steering feel, even on dead centre.
Pushing a little harder into the twisty sections whenever the roads were dry and the 3008 displays minimal body lean. Even more interesting, was the fact that during my 200 kilometer stint behind the wheel, not once did we notice any traction control activation lights.
Body roll is kept to a minimum too by what Peugeot call “Dynamic Roll Control”, which effectively links both rear shock absorbers via a pressurised floating piston, allowing for increased damping and relatively flat cornering.
Braking too seemed well balanced and pedal feel was progressive and efficient, in what were some very slippery conditions on several steep sections.
Standard eighteen-inch alloys shod with grippy Continental low profile 235/45 series tyres provided excellent traction and road holding characteristics although, we thought the overall ride quality wasn’t as compliant as we would have liked, notwithstanding the profile.
Turns out, when we drove the 1.6 litre Turbo petrol engine variant the following day, shod with exactly the same wheel and tyre combination, we couldn’t fault the ride quality. There seemed to be considerably more compliance and none of the jittery ride we had experienced on the day one. We put the probable cause of this issue down to incorrect tyre pressures in what where near freezing temperatures.
With drivers in Australia often having to deal with multiple speed change signs across short intervals, the idea of a ‘Head Up Display’ makes a lot of sense.
Peugeot uses a slightly different system to that which BMW employs, instead of the speed and other information being projected directly onto the bottom of the windscreen, the speed and ‘distance alert’ graphics are projected onto a small antireflective translucent polycarbonate panel. The result is the same, the readout is bright and clear and this feature should be a mandatory safety feature on all cars sold in Australia.
The electric handbrake is particularly useful. Once activated, you only need to engage forward or reverse drive, and as you ease on the throttle the handbrake automatically disengages. Of course, without a traditional handbrake lever, the design allows for a more spacious and less cluttered console.
The drive back from Dinner Plain to Albury was an opportunity to compare the diesel variant with the 1.6 litre turbo petrol version of the 3008.
Take it from me, it pays to test drive more than one variant of a particular model car, particularly if you’re in the buying mode.
We were already sold on the 2.0 litre diesel, that is, until I had spent just five minutes in the driver’s seat of the petrol turbo.
The figures don’t tell half the full story. Despite its maximum power of 115 kW and 240 Nm of torque, which doesn’t seem like enough to hall around a compact SUV of these proportions, this is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch.
Throttle response is more urgent, the engine is quieter and power delivery is silky smooth. The twin scroll turbocharger delivers an enthusiastic dose of acceleration in all gears except for sixth, which functions more as overdrive gear for better fuel economy.
Also joining the 3008 lineup in 2011 is the company’s first mass produced hybrid technology called Hybrid4. Powered by a 2.0-litre HDi FAP diesel engine making 120 kW and mated to an electric motor with a capacity of 27 kW for a total of 147 kW. Torque is significant with 300 Nm made at the front and 200 Nm at the rear.
To put those numbers into some perspective, that performance is comparable to a 2.2 litre HDi FAP dual-turbo diesel engine and yet, the combined fuel consumption is said to be 4.1-litres/100kms and CO2 emissions of just 109grams per kilometer.
Suffice to say we can’t wait.
Peugeot 3008 XTE 2.0 litre HDI FAP turbo diesel - $42,990
Peugeot 3008 XTE 1.6 litre Turbo - $39,490
The 3008 range starts at: 3008 XSE Automatic 1.6 Litre Turbo - $35,990