It took a tiny piece of paper about the size of a paper clip to renew our affection for our Peugeot 3008 long-term test car.
As much as there is to like about this French crossover vehicle, over the last couple of months it’s been overshadowed by a loud interior rattle that was maddeningly elusive to locate.
But my moment of nirvana came on a long trip recently when I pressed the glass covering the instrument panel and voila, the infuriating rattle stopped. A quick “high-tech” repair – a small piece of paper wedged between the glass and instrument panel housing – and the noise has disappeared, hopefully for good. Ah bliss, the sounds of silence.
Offending noise gone, I could relax and enjoy this lion-badged car as it purred along the freeway, enjoying the easy cruiseability of its torquey 2-litre HDi engine. With 110kW and 340Nm it’s capable of a quick burst of pace when long trucks need overtaking.
Two-litre turbodiesels are becoming the powerplant of choice for an increasing number of family cars and it’s easy to see why, as they’re difficult to beat in terms of combining power output with impressive economy.
The 3008 HDi is available only as an automatic but it’s a very driveable mechanical partnership, offering a wide spread of grunt after just a touch of turbo lag on initial acceleration. And it averages just 7 litres per 100km.
The gearbox offers two driving modes, auto and sport. The fully automatic mode continuously adapts its shift points to suit individual driving styles, but I generally found it a little slow to kick down in busy urban driving. The sports mode offers a noticeably more get-up-and-go driving experience.
Rattle aside, there are other more pleasant noises in the 3008, specifically the very decent audio system which offers a number of music connectivity features. Apart from a CD/MP3 player and a USB port for flash drives, you’re also able to play songs from your cellphone through the audio system via Bluetooth, with song titles shown on the 3008’s integrated multi-function display.
The audio system can be controlled by fingertip controls on the steering column.
Many cars have this feature but I find that Peugeot’s and Renault’s are particularly intuitive and allow you to fiddle with the sound without taking your eyes off the road.
To this end the 3008 also has a heads-up display (HUD) which shows speed, cruise control/speed limiter and Distance Alert. The latter system uses radar to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead; get too close and Distance Alert will scold you by means of a visual alarm in the HUD’s readout .
Selling for R343 100, the HDI Executive is the top-of-the-range 3008 model and Peugeot hasn’t skimped on toys, which include a rear parking sensor, automatic headlight activation and rain-sensing windscreen wipers; dual-zone climate control employs air vents for front and rear passengers. Providing the safety are six airbags, ABS brakes and traction control.
The interior finishes are classy, and better than average for vehicles in this segment.
For a car that professes to be a family MPV there’s not a huge amount of space in the 3008, and legroom in the back seat is merely average. However, the extra large front windscreen makes for an airy ambience, while the additional panoramic glass sunroof which comes standard in the top-of-the-range Executive model really makes for a goldfish bowl effect. A sliding cover blocks out the sky at the press of a button.
Cabin stowage is plentiful and includes a giant bin between the front seats which looks nearly big enough to stash a small child.
The large 512 litre boot has a split tailgate with a lower flap that can be used to facilitate the loading of heavy objects or as a seat, and can support a weight of 200kg. The split rear seats can fold down to increase cargo space to 1 604 litres.
The price includes a five-year/90 000 km service plan, as well as a three-year/100 000 km warranty. -Mercury Motoring