Australian SUV segments are saturated with options around the mid-$40K mark. Alongside the usual offerings of Mazda, Subaru and Honda, you'll also find a few outliers. You can have Mini's Countryman for that money, or what we're driving today – the Peugeot 3008.
The French SUV has recently been updated, so let's look at the new entry point.
For the 2021 model range, the brand has dropped its previous entry Active level trim, and is now leading with the Allure. It's priced from $44,990 before on-roads, up $7500 versus the previous starting point. That makes the 2021 Peugeot 3008 Allure similar money to a high-grade Mazda CX-5 or top-spec Subaru Forester.
|2021 Peugeot 3008 Allure|
|Engine||1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||121kW at 6000rpm|
|Torque||240Nm at 1400rpm|
|Claimed fuel economy||7.3L/100km|
|Fuel economy on test||7.8L/100km|
|Transmission||Six-speed torque converter automatic|
|Price before options||$44,990|
|Price as tested (before on-roads)||$45,680|
|Dimensions||4447mm long / 1841mm wide / 1624mm tall|
|Competitors||Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Toyota RAV4|
Options include two choices of paint for $690 or $1050, or nappa leather trim for $2900, which feels pricey for the offering. The Artense Grey finish on our example adds another $690 to your bill, which makes the on-road total $50,000 or thereabouts depending on your location.
In terms of exterior style, the biggest update comes to the 3008's front face. A new, widened grille treatment flows through the bumper, and meets with a pair of sharp and long daytime running lights. It's not all just style and no substance, as its headlights are now LED in a move from the old candle burners (halogen) that featured on last year's model.
Other small changes include a new set of clear-lens tail-lights for the rear, which further adds classiness. It's still a great-looking SUV, with the update sprinkling on a handful of complementing measures to its good looks.
The driveline is a carryover being the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol with six-speed torque converter automatic. Power outputs are also the same at 121kW/240Nm. While those figures do sound small for a medium-sized SUV, they are only moving around a light for the class 1371kg. As a result, there's enough performance to buzz around town or up at speed on the freeway.
The automatic is smooth and with its ratios well thought out; another point that helps the 1.6-litre punch above its weight. We found the Peugeot 3008 Allure using 7.8L/100km on a mixed driving cycle, which is close to the manufacturer's figure of 7.3L/100km.
Aside from being able to use a small engine, being lightweight has other benefits, too, like laying the foundation for good ride and handling traits. The 3008 maintains a level of deftness that works in tandem with its fast steering set-up.
Changes in direction feel stable and controlled, as its suspension is not having to manage a whole heap of mass. Ride and handling are tuned neutrally, neither sporty and firm, nor soft and cushy. It lands in that sweet spot of providing control, but not at the sacrifice of comfort.
Active driver-assist systems have not been left off the entry model, with active lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring with avoidance control, front and rear parking sensors, plus autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection all coming as standard.
In terms of its cabin, the Peugeot 3008 offers a rather unique take on the usual arrangement. The brand calls it 'i-Cockpit', which is codeword for a driver control layout that sees the gauge cluster elevated above the steering wheel, in line of sight with the driver.
Another resulting change is the introduction of a tiny steering wheel that's mounted lower than what's usual. Some in the CarAdvice office found the layout hard to get comfortable with, whereas others (yours truly included) found no issue. It does take time to adjust to, however, so if you're genuinely interested make sure you ask for an extended test drive.
The rest of the experience is irregular, too, but in a different sense. The quality of the cabin looks and feels a cut above what's normal at this pricepoint, with high-end design now seemingly democratised for the mainstream. You'll find plenty of deeply grained plastics, many of which are soft, and stylish-looking fabric lining both doors and dashboard. Anyone who jumps in not knowing the brand will leave pleasantly surprised.
Other inclusions are a configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and new-for-2021 10-inch centre infotainment display featuring the regular smartphone connectivity apps.
You'll notice there are no air-conditioning controls in the cabin, because the bulk of the system is controlled through the touchscreen. While this decision does streamline the cabin's design, it does make the climate-control system trickier to adjust on the move, as physical switches are easier to learn and use by touch and muscle memory.
Seat trim for the money is a cloth and faux leather combo that's nice enough for the price. More important, however, is their sculpted and well-bolstered design, which also features driver's side lumbar support for added comfort. Storage is great, with there being a huge armrest storage console, door bins large enough to home big water bottles, and large cupholders.
Over in the second row, space is tight. Sitting behind my own driving position (I'm 183cm tall) resulted in my knees coming awfully close to the seat back, no space to shove my feet under the seat in front, and my head being quite close to the roof lining. The lack of foot room probably affects comfort the most, as it means you're unable to stretch out and get comfortable.
However, younger (smaller) teenagers and kids will find the space on offer satisfactory. Also on the plus side, a high hip point helps prevent strain when exiting or entering, and a flat floor means the piggy in the middle has some foot room. The rear bench will happily accept both a baby seat and capsule, but the latter does require the front passenger to adjust their seat more forward to accommodate. Other extras in the back include a pair of air vents, two USB ports and some small storage areas.
Behind all the occupant action sits a 591L boot, which is great for the segment. Other nice touches include twin storage bins on either side of the cargo area that are great for storing dirty goods or things for bub.
The size of the opening has no issue accepting strollers and prams, which makes it ideal for the young family. You'll also find a pair of seat-folding levers that if pulled creates 1670L of storage space. Lastly, a space-saving spare wheel can be found under the boot floor.
Peugeot's entry-level medium SUV is a cracker for those seeking difference. The balance of what's good and what's not falls in your favour, with excellent on-road dynamics, a classy exterior and interior, and large boot all bolstering your emotional side with some rational goodness.