Funky but flawed
- 2010 Peugeot 3008 XTE; 2.0 litre, four cylinder, turbo-diesel; six speed automatic; five door SUV: $42,990
- Front park assist with headlight washers $500, Metallic paint $800
When is an SUV not an SUV? When it's a Peugeot 3008.
According to Peugeot, it's an SUV. Indeed, on its website, the 3008 is listed alongside its other SUV, the Peugeot 4007. But the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) - which compiles the sales figures list we know as VFACTS - sees it differently. VFACTS data has the Peugeot 3008 listed squarely in the Small Car under $40,000 category. And with good reason.
While the car does sit a little taller than a hatchback, ground clearance is marginally better than a passenger car, while there's no real offroad ability. An SUV it is not. But as a family runabout, the 3008 does its intended job fairly well. Fairly, because its interior space certainly doesn't lend itself to ferrying adults around for long distances.
Headroom is excellent both front and rear, as you'd expect from the tall-box design, however with the massive centre console taking up so much space, there's not a lot of width up front - both footwells are quite narrow - while legroom in the back is only just adequate; adults and tall teenagers may find their knees pushing against the back of the front seats. Small children will be fine, and thankfully, the seats both front and back are very comfortable. The random scratch pattern on the seats is a nice departure from boring masses of grey, too.
Interior quality is a highlight. There's an Audi R8-esque feeling to the Peugeot 3008 cabin, with the metal surround on the centre vents sloped at the top and the whole dash fascia angled quite steeply away from the driver. Soft-touch plastics abound, especially on the sides of the centre console where your knee will sometimes rest.
The toggle switches under the vents look fantastic, however the piano black finish on the console may not stay clean for long - fingerprints and dust make their mark fairly easily. Families will also appreciate the vents on the back of the console with which they can cool down their kids. The panoramic glass roof also keeps the interior feeling light and spacious, with an electrically operated roller blind which can cover the whole thing from underneath.
The cover for the cubby hole in the console opens the wrong way for the driver in right-hand-drive format - the lid opens from the passenger's side - meaning reaching in to grab a CD or stow a chocolate bar is a bit of a guessing game; you'll have to do it by feel. The driver does get their own glovebox, though, under the steering column, which adds to the usable space. Certainly you couldn't rely on the standard glovebox; it's simply too small. The boot, however, isn't. There's over 500 litres available once you remove the false floor, which shouldn't be there in the first place.
There's a grab handle for the passenger up front, trimmed in soft leather and although it looks good with its metallic mount, you'd have to question why it's there when there's a grab handle in its usual place on the side of the headlining. A sunglass case features where the driver's headlining grab handle would normally be.
One of the best things about the Peugeot 3008's interior, though, is the Head Up Display (HUD) which rises out of the top of the dash. It gives speed and cruise control information and can be turned on and off at will using the toggle switches on the centre stack. Another of the switches activates the distance alert.
Rather than being a full-blown radar-based cruise control which maintains a preset distance, the distance alert will flash a warning if you get too close to a vehicle in front, based on the distance you nominate. Rather than measuring in metres, it uses a time-measurement, so you can set how many seconds apart you and the vehicle in front are.
The Peugeot's stereo is quite good, and the volume and cruise control wands are ergonomically brilliant, sitting on the lower half of the steering column. The steering wheel itself is a good size, and being trimmed in several pieces of leather, there's a fair bit of texture. There's an issue, though, and it's not with the wheel itself, but with what the wheel is connected to.
While around the straight ahead, the steering feels like there could be decent weight, and all seems well. But as soon as any degree of lock is applied, it lightens off and goes completely numb, not helping your feel of connection to the road. It's a shame, because the steering is actually quite direct and it turns in very sharply. But despite the lack of feedback, you'll know what kind of road you're on by the very stiff and solid ride.
In an SUV, a firmish ride is to be expected, however the 3008's jarring suspension would be more at home on a Mitsubishi Evo than in the family car market Peugeot is clearly aiming for. The ride is liveable (just), but a bit softer springing would be nice. What it does give you is confident handling, also aided by Dynamic Roll Control (DRC).
DRC is basically a hydraulic link between the two rear shock absorbers, which under normal circumstances allows the hydraulic fluid to move back and forth during the compression and rebound phases, or up and down movement of the wheels. However when hard cornering or evasive manuevers are executed, the fluid is prevented from moving, solidifying the vertical movement of the wheels, which prevents the car from exhibiting body roll.
Far from being a gimmick, Dynamic Roll Control definitely helps in tight cornering, which is also helped by the good-looking 18-inch wheels, but which also contribute to the firm ride. Bear in mind, though, that on the 18s, the 3008 only receives an inflation kit for when punctures occur; the full-size spare wheel only comes with the 17-inch wheel package.
The Peugeot 2.0-litre turbo-diesel mill gets another run in the 3008, with a modest power increase to 120kW and 340Nm. It's enough the propel the 1614kg car to 100km/h in 10.2 seconds. Sure, it's not overly quick, but like any turbo-diesel these days, it pulls strongly while on the run. Midrange urge is quite good, though it does peter out at the very top end.
The Aisin six-speed automatic does a decent job of keeping the motor on the boil, so you never feel like it's that slow. The engine revs cleanly and smoothly and is another example of the excellent French diesels we've seen in the last few years. The 3008's brakes are good, too.
Fuel economy isn't half bad, either, but the Peugeot 3008 is no eco-warrior; we settled on 7.8-litres/100km. For a small car, it's merely average, and so are the CO2 emissions at 176g/km. Certainly, the 1.6-litre HDi is the one to go for if you're concerned about fuel use.
But on an equipment-for-price basis, the Mitsubishi ASX Aspire puts up a good argument, especially as it has satellite navigation with a reversing camera, heated leather seats as standard, and a cranking Rockford Fosgate stereo with subwoofer and media inputs. It also has a proper, switchable all-wheel-drive system (something the 3008 is sorely lacking), plus there's more rear leg room, although it does feel a little more claustrophobic in the back, at least without the panoramic glass roof, but then it's only an $800 option which still ends up much cheaper than the 3008.
At $36,990 in diesel manual or petrol auto form versus the Peugeot 3008 XTE's $42,990 automatic sticker, you're going to have to ask whether an auto is worth $6000 just to have a 2.0-litre diesel hanging off it. Then there's the issue of warranty, in which case the Mitsubishi has it all over the French small car.
But the Mitsubishi ASX isn't quirky like the Peugeot 3008. It's not styled as well and the boot is a bit smaller. However, it is definitely an SUV, which means forking out over $43K for a Peugeot 3008 means you've just bought one very expensive small car.
And for that amount of cash, the small car category has some much better (and cheaper) choices. The Peugeot 308 is a start...
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:
*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer and does not include dealer delivery, on-road or statutory charges.