In October, Peugeot unveiled not one but two SUVs at the Paris Motor Show, the 3008 and the seven-seater 5008. Succumbing to the demand of SUVs worldwide, both the 3008 and 5008 have transformed into a pair of much rugged looking vehicles, thus officially making their “double-zero” products an all-SUV range from now on. For the European market, the 5008 will not go on sale until spring 2017 but the 3008 goes on sale this month, and we flew to Bologna, Italy just to sample the all-new C-segment SUV.
Four turbocharged engine options are available at launch; two four-cylinder BlueHDi diesel mills displacing 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre, a three-cylinder 1.2-litre PureTech petrol, and a 1.6-litre four-cylinder THP petrol. Official distributor of Peugeot vehicles in Malaysia, Nasim Sdn Bhd, has confirmed that the variant debuting in Malaysia in Q2 2017 will be the 1.6-litre THP. So what does the new 3008 have to offer to those who are eyeing for a mid-size SUV?
|Name||Peugeot 3008 1.6 THP 165|
|Engine||1,598cc; turbocharged inline-4|
|Max Power||165 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Max Torque||240 Nm @ 1,400 rpm|
|Price (OTR with insurance)||TBA|
Well, for one, it’s a looker. You’re not looking at a concept car here, this is how the production model looks like in all its glory. These photos taken in Bologna is exactly what the actual car will look like, and believe us it looks even better in the flesh. The new 3008 has traded its soft curves for a more angular silhouette, and it looks more like a proper SUV this time, even though Peugeot doesn’t offer any all-wheel drive option on the new 3008 (at least not yet).
When measured against the outgoing model, the new 3008 is 82mm longer at 4,447 mm and the wheelbase has been stretched to 2,675 mm, which is 62mm more than before. But it’s slightly narrower at 2,098 mm, and sits lower by 15mm at 1,624 mm. Wheel size varies depending on variant, though the standard wheels measure 17 inches. Our test car however, wore a set of 18-inch alloys wrapped in 225/55 R18 rubbers.
Distinct trademark features are evident at both ends of the new 3008 such as the sharp LED headlamps with shark’s fin cut-out and the lion claw LED tail lights, and they’ve added some interesting design touches on the side as well. The horizontal cuts above each wheel arch and the chrome arches above the side windows are new, but we’ve seen the floating D-pillars before on a Japanese B-segment crossover. Nevertheless, it’s a bold design that easily stands out in the crowd of other SUVs.
Besides the avant-garde exterior, the interior is another highlight for the new 3008, not only in terms of design but the build quality as well. Materials used wouldn’t look out of place in a premium German brand; it’s a tasteful mix of fabric and leather upholstery adorned with open-pored wood inlay and satin metal trim.
The latest iteration of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit concept works well in the 3008, where the steering wheel no longer obstructs the view of the instrument cluster. And you wouldn’t want to miss the view because it’s a high-res 12.3-inch digital display with sharp graphics and slick animation. It’s configurable too so you can choose whether you want to see the normal dials or you could bring up the navigation map in it as well.
The main infotainment has also been revamped, now comprised of a free-standing 8-inch touchscreen with individual shortcut buttons accessed via a row of metallic piano keys lined up in the centre of the dash. The system accepts both Android and Apple smartphone connectivity, and if your phone has wireless charging technology you can just place it in the charging bay located below the piano keys.
Several storage compartments are scattered around the interior, but the cubby hole underneath the centre arm rests has to be one of the deepest we came across in any car. Ample space available for the front two occupants while the back bench could accommodate three adults, although the middle seat is best for kids. The rear passengers still get plenty of head and knee room, except that there’s not much space to shuffle their feet in the otherwise flat-footed well.
The boot now swallows 520 litres of cargo; not the biggest in its class but it’s bigger than its predecessor. While the new 3008 doesn’t come with a split tailgate anymore, it does gain a powered tailgate that opens via a sweep under the derrière.
For all that fresh new looks, the 1.6 THP 165 engine is a carryover unit from the outgoing 3008. Producing 165 hp and 240 Nm of torque, the turbocharged 1,598cc four-cylinder is mated to a six-speed automatic to drive the front wheels.
Being more than 100kg lighter than the model it replaces, naturally, the new 3008 is quicker. Sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes 8.9 seconds, and the top speed is slightly higher than before at 206 km/h. It’s also much more frugal, sipping an average of 4.7 litres of petrol over 100km.
The first thing we notice upon leaving the Bologna airport is how good the cabin refinement is. On the highway (or Autostrada, if you’re being very particular), the new 3008 stays planted despite the increased ground clearance, and it cruises with very little road and wind noise. Although Peugeot has kindly fitted on our test car the optional bespoke 10-speaker sound system developed by Focal in case we nod off behind the wheel.
Apart from the thumping audio system, the 3008 is fitted with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to keep the driver to stay alert while driving, which includes Assisted Lane Departure Warning System, Distance Alert and Active Safety Brake, as well as Dynamic Cruise Control with Stop function.
On the backroads heading south to Villa le Maschere near Florence for a coffee break, the 3008 continues to impress. On some section the surface resembles our beloved Klang Valley tarmac, but the 3008 was able to maintain its poise with supple damping throughout. Throw it in the corners and it resists roll quite well, and I have to admit it’s quite fun working the bijou steering wheel through a series of corners.
Having said that, the 1.6 turbo mill is comme ci, comme ça. It needs the revs to get the most out of it, but thankfully the six ratios can be swapped manually via the column mounted paddles behind the steering wheel as we resume our journey to our next pit stop in the small city of Castel San Pietro Terme. Left on its own, the powertrain is sufficient for city driving and more importantly, it’s smooth and hushed at the same time.
The 3008 (or any type of SUV, for that matter) is most definitely going to be driven strictly on paved tarmac, but Peugeot provides Advanced Grip Control option to those who think that they might take their 3008 off road but never will. A test on a makeshift off-road path of wet grassy slope in the compounds of Palazzo di Varignana proved the system to be quite effective, and the Hill Assist Descend Control (HADC) expertly distributes brake force to any individual wheel without any driver input to ensure the 3008 rolls down the hill in a controllable and safe pace.
We also sampled the 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder with stick shift and the 2.0 BlueHDi 180 automatic during our overnight stay in Bologna. The former is a lively little engine that’s surprisingly punchy for its size, but we can’t shake off the fact that the 2.0 BlueHDi 180 suits the new 3008 better. With 180 hp and 400 Nm it’s punchy everywhere yet it’s more economical and just as quiet. The three-pot 1.2 might be deemed insufficient by most Malaysians and the 2.0-litre diesel will definitely push the price up, therefore the 1.6 THP seems like the best compromise for our Malaysian market.
IS THIS CAR FOR YOU?
If you require your mid-size SUV with the most space for both the occupants and their luggage, the 3008 might not suit your needs. But if you’re looking for a mid-size SUV with panache, the 3008 should be on top of your list. Those who enjoy a bit of a spirited driving might want to consider the new 3008 too. Although you have to wait until Q2 2017.
Perhaps the bigger question is the price. MINI is asking RM243k for the mechanically-similar Cooper S Countryman, whereas fellow French rival Renault Koleos can be had for RM172k. And then there’s the Japanese and Korean rivals such as the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, and Hyundai Tucson, all of which fall within the RM126k to RM168k bracket.
The new 3008 is likely to cost more than the outgoing 3008 that’s currently selling at RM149k, but Nasim is looking to equip it with most of the kit featured on the cars we tested in Bologna.
WOULD I BUY IT?
The most recent Peugeot I’ve driven prior to the new 3008 was the 408 e-THP, and that’s not saying much in terms of character and driving enjoyment. Yes, the new 3008 is in a different category but it’s much more than that. It’s a huge improvement in terms of technology, safety, quality, and handling capability, which hopefully will carry on to future Peugeot models. The new 3008 is definitely a Peugeot to look out for, and it’s not even a GTi.