French SUVs are seemingly not in vogue when they should well be.
Sales data supports this, too, as Peugeot has sold just 173 examples of its medium SUV to the end of April 2021. It must be a brand-awareness issue, as we're about to discover how much of an undiscovered gem its new facelifted 2021 Peugeot 3008 GT Sport is.
It's the new flagship sitting on top of a revised line-up for 2021. The Peugeot 3008 model range now starts with its Allure model as the entry priced from $44,990 plus on-road costs. The previous range had a cheaper Active version as the entry, which has now been discontinued.
One step above this is the GT grade offered with a petrol engine and six-speed auto from $47,990 and or diesel and eight-speed auto from $50,990, both before on-road costs.
Last is our test car – the 3008 GT Sport. Offered with a higher output petrol engine and eight-speed only, it starts from $54,990 plus on-road costs.
|2021 Peugeot 3008 GT Sport|
|Engine||1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power and torque||133kW at 5500rpm, 250Nm at 1650rpm|
|Drive type||Front-wheel drive|
|Fuel claim combined (ADR)||5.6L/100km|
|Fuel use on test||7.5L/100km|
|Boot volume (min/max)||591L / 1670L|
|Height / length / width||1624mm / 4447mm / 2098mm|
|ANCAP rating||Five star (tested 2016)|
|Warranty||Five years, unlimited km|
|Main competitors||Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5|
|Price as tested (plus on-road costs)||From $56,980|
Our car's beautiful Celebes Blue duco is a no-charge option. There are six other hues on offer priced from $690 to $1050 pending the selection. However, this free colour is quite pretty mind you, and will likely prevent some from paying for another finish. The only other option is an opening panoramic sunroof at $1990.
Our car featuring free paint and the extra sunroof sees its on-road price settle around $61,000.
The facelift sees the Pug's design treatment refreshed. At the front, its grille now appears to disintegrate into the bumper's surface. It's a unique look alongside other European brands that currently believe bigger and bolder grille treatments are the go.
Also complementing the facelift treatment are new, slimmer LED headlights and fang-like DRLs, which extend deep into the bumper. At the rear, a new bumper and monochromatic tail-lights feature. This latter addition creates a classy look, and removes the interference that coloured tail-lights can sometimes have with good design.
It also goes together with the GT Sport's exclusive blackout treatment, which sees all chrome or silver brightwork replaced with gloss-black trims.
There's something nice about a pure colour palette. Usually, red and orange lenses interfere with deep metallic hues, but no such intrusion occurs here.
The subtle nip-and-tuck that the Parisian brand has applied certainly lifts its visual appeal, but then again, it was working with good stock. You won't feel short-changed if what's parked on your driveway, or in the garage, matters.
Another new thing about the GT Sport variant is its driveline. The other two petrol-powered 3008s in the 2021 line-up use a carryover 121kW/240Nm 1.6-litre engine linked to the same six-speed torque-converter-equipped automatic as before.
The version we're testing gets a unique set-up, which features a new engine calibration that lifts power to 133kW/250Nm and an eight-speed auto transmission – also with a torque converter.
The extra pep is noticeable given the eight-speed 'box shifts better and features a nicer spread of ratios. The introduction of stop-start technology comes with the new engine and gearbox combo, too, which helps to save fuel.
It used 7.5 litres per 100km during its time with us, which is great for a medium SUV, but far from the official combined claim of 5.6L/100km.
There's enough grunt from the motor, even if its paper figures suggest it could be underpowered. With three on board it feels status quo, but with five and some luggage to boot, higher-speed acceleration moments do require both time and lower gears to get things done.
Helping the cause somewhat is its diminutive tare weight of 1371kg. It's by far the lightest in its class, which does more than give it a title no-one cares about. It affects the way it both rides and handles.
First, the ride. Despite having a sporty, firm edge, the Peugeot pops over crappy sections of road without hassle or fuss. You get a sense its suspension isn't working too hard to manage its mass, which is true given the weight.
In turn it remains composed and pleasurable to drive in most metro and semi-rural situations. The lightweight nature of the car has another benefit, too, which comes in the form of its handling.
It's not an outright sports car, but it remains trustworthy. Bombing around feels quite natural for the 3008, as it enjoys carrying speed. The steering feels neutral, but a touch on the light side in its default setting.
The cabin is quiet, too, which adds to the aura of quality. Stepping inside, not much has changed from the first-generation 3008. The most noticeable difference is a large 10-inch touchscreen display. It's not only bigger, but also features clearer graphics.
It's just a shame that Apple CarPlay integration remains letterboxed and unable to take full advantage of the screen's real estate, like others have figured out. Still, a byproduct is that climate-control settings remain displayed on the screen and surrounding the image your smartphone is projecting for easier access.
Speaking of such, every function other than demisters, door locking, and seat heating is controlled via the touchscreen. This can make adjusting the climate-control system tricky while driving, as there are no physical switches to use.
A three-finger tap on the screen is a cheeky shortcut that can bring up a master menu to navigate from, but still I'd prefer dedicated buttons for some of the functionality buried in the screen.
Upon further scrutiny, the brand has added a handful of other uplifting touchpoints. A new wood trim lines the dashboard and doors, which replaces a cloth in the previous generation. Its stereo has been swapped out, too, with French-brand Focal providing the speakers and amplifier. A nice addition, as it offers far more clarity than the regular Peugeot system.
On to fundamental items. Supple nappa leather trim comes fitted as standard. It's been ornately stitched to the seats, which themselves are comfortable and supportive. They're fully electric with two-position memory and massage function on the driver's side. 'Cat paw' is my masseuse profile of choice dialled up to the highest setting for good measure.
Storage is excellent. Large, flocked door panels easily hold bottles and sunglasses cases. A pair of un-Peugeot-like cupholders are bevelled into the centre console alongside a wireless changing pad for your phone. The other great space is a huge centre console located under the armrest.
What's most controversial about the Peugeot 3008's cabin is its interior design philosophy. Dubbed 'i-Cockpit', the treatment sees the gauge cluster lifted above the steering wheel instead of being placed in line with it. As a result, the tiny steering wheel is used, which is octagonally shaped (or flat-topped) to support visibility of the elevated instruments.
Some in the CarAdvice office found their view of the speedometer obscured, and as a result were uncomfortable in the prescribed position that enabled clear vision. This tester found no such issue to occur.
If you've experienced challenges with Peugeot's i-Cockpit layout, let us know in the comments section below.
In the second row, space could be better. At 183cm tall, sitting behind my own driving position yielded just 1cm of knee room, barely any foot room, and below-average head room. It's the foot room (or lack thereof) that creates the biggest discomfort, as it prevents you from stretching out if you're taller than average.
Some redemption is earned through a high hip point, as it makes entering and exiting the vehicle as easy as it comes. The other benefit is its suitability to young families. Loading bub and securing their harness becomes easy when they're up high. Speaking of which, a forward-facing seat doesn't affect the front passenger room, but a rearward-facing install does so slightly.
Wrapping up the second row is a pair of USB charging ports, rear air vents, and small door pockets.
Behind the cabin area is a 591L cargo area, which is fantastic for the class. With all seats folded, storage spans out to 1670L. The general dimensions are great, too, with enough width on offer to load a stroller lengthways up against the seat back.
A dual-stage boot floor creates more convenient loading when outright space isn't a priority, and underneath it all lies a space-saving spare wheel.
With the price in mind, Peugeot's updated 3008 still feels worth the cost of entry. This new GT Sport variant adds more go and show, which in an ever-growing segment of sports-themed offerings helpfully increases its relevance.