Johannesburg - Peugeot’s previous 3008 wasn’t really sure whether it wanted to be an MPV or an SUV, but the brand new one you see here has its sights set firmly on the modern ‘softroader’ genre where the Rav4 and Tucson reign supreme.
And yet its styling hardly fits into the generic modern crossover mould. Instead Peugeot has gone for bold with a quirky and distinctive design that pictures certainly don’t do justice to.
Fittingly, Peugeot’s newcomer is a lot more technologically advanced than its predecessor. Not only does it have a gizmo-packed cabin that was seemingly styled for Star Wars fans, and which we’ll get to a little later, but the new 3008 is also up to 100kg lighter than its predecessor. It has only grown marginally in size, yet better interior packaging has significantly increased the amount of space available, with legroom growing by a claimed 24mm, while the boot can allegedly swallow 520 litres below the luggage cover.
One engine for now, but five flavours
The new 3008 is available locally in five derivatives, priced between R399 900 and R569 900, and all are powered by Peugeot’s 1.6-litre THP turbopetrol engine, rated at 121kW and 240Nm. All 1.6 THP models drive the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Next year Peugeot will expand the range with 1.2-litre turbopetrol and 2-litre turbodiesel derivatives and the former should reduce the entry price of the range.
All-wheel drive is not available on any of them, but Peugeot does offer its familiar Grip Control traction control system. This system is further beefed up in the two ‘+’ derivatives (which are only available on special order), with five selectable terrain modes as well as Hill Assist and Descent Control.
We spent some time with the 3008 in rural Gauteng on Tuesday and were impressed by the relatively gutsy performance on offer.
But the real highlight was the cockpit. This vehicle’s interior design hasn’t just kept with the times, it’s actually taken a bold leap into the future with the latest version of what Peugeot calls its i-Cockpit design. It’s actually quite stunning.
The swoopy dashboard wraps around the driver like a true cockpit and there are stylish little touches all over, such as the piano-like toggle switches. The materials are all of a really high quality, with abundant soft-touch surfaces, satin-chrome inlays and even some tweed-like fabric on the doors and dash.
The instruments and infotainment are all digital, across the board, including a 20cm touch-screen protruding from the central dash top. Facing the driver, above the characteristic tiny steering wheel that most Peugeots come with these days, is a 31.2cm digital instrument cluster. Here drivers can toggle between different views at the flick of a thumbwheel on the steering wheel.
Another interesting little feature, located next to the aforementioned toggle switches, is Peugeot’s ‘intensity’ button that opens up various menus on the main touch-screen to allow occupants to intensify the ambient lighting, audio settings, engine sound amplification and even the multi-point seat massage programmes.
It’s no wonder that Peugeot calls this the most advanced vehicle it has ever created.
Walk through the range
Of course, the level of feature indulgence depends on which derivative you choose, but even the 'base' Active model is rather well stocked, with automatic climate control, cruise control, multi-function steering wheel, auto lights and wipers, six airbags and, speaking of safety, a whole array of driver assistance gizmos, such as rear park assist, road sign detection and lane departure warning.
Next up, the Allure model (above) trades the base version’s 17-inch alloys for 18-inchers, while also adding the ‘amplify’ button, keyless entry and go with start button, front park assist, Mirror Link/CarPlay compatibility and a WiFi hotspot.
On top of all that, the Allure+ gains a gloss black roof and Peugeot’s Advanced Grip Control.
The GT-Line (above) loses that upgraded traction system, but gains 19-inch alloys as well as LED headlights, a unique grille with horizontal slats, leather seats, 180-degree parking camera and a satnav system with 3D display.
Right at the top of the pile is the GT-Line+, which reverts back to the 18” alloys and Advanced Grip Control, while also adding a hands-free automatic tailgate, Nappa leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof with electric blinder and a radar-based active cruise control system that also includes auto emergency braking. Phew.
All versions are sold with a four-year/60 000km service plan and three-year/100 000km warranty.