Practical car for fun drives

2018-01-25 06:00
PHOTO: car magazineThe Peugeot 3008 is as Eurocentric and modern inside as only a French car can be.

PHOTO: car magazineThe Peugeot 3008 is as Eurocentric and modern inside as only a French car can be.

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THE clunky diesel Peugeot 504 I drove as a teenager was quite forgiving of my steering inputs.

In fact, so worn was that old barge’s rack and pinion steering that its front wheels ignored all but my most vigorous wheel turnings, content to keep rolling in the sandy tracks of the two-horse town I grew up in.

The steering of Peugeot’s new 3008 is not like that at all. So sensitive and light is this electric power steering, that I became convinced I only had to think of turning and the 3008 would already be going there.

Add form-hugging seats that are high enough for the mom-in-law’s ageing back not to bend and well-placed buttons to start or stop everything from music playing to cruise control, and one gets to see why the 3008 recently added the Drive 360’s Family Car of the Year award to its collection that includes European Car of 2017. The judges praised the 3008’s superior materials and outstanding design — which beat off the worthy Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota C-HR and VW Golf GTD.

Under the 3008’s hood, a 1.6-litre turbo engine makes an average 121 kW and 240 Nm from a very low 1 400 rpm. For comparison, the Huyndai Tuscon 1,6 turbo makes 130 kW and 265 Nm, while the Mazda CX5 2,0 makes 121 kW and 210 Nm all at higher revs.

Press the Sport mode and all that eager steering translates into very a confident driving experience, especially when one controls the six-speed automatic gearbox with the flappy paddles.

My city and highway driving got very close to Peugeot’s claim of 5,3 l/100km, which should be good for some 750 km on a tank.

What I liked most in the 3008, however, was the full size 225/60 R17 spare wheel in the rear. (Regular readers will recall our “Voetsek to no spare wheels” philosophy at Wheels.)

Francisco Gaie, MD of Peugeot Citroën South Africa said the 3008 was making its presence felt in the intensely competitive SUV segment.

This is due to a very competitive price for the 3008. The mid-level Allure we drove, courtesy of Pinetown Peugeot, sells for R459 900, which includes a three-year or 100 000 km warranty and several options in service plans.

This buys the latest in active safety systems, such as autonomous braking, auto wipers and a driver fatigue monitor; luxury items like keyless push start and seats with a massage function; and loads of practicality, like a 502-litre boot that folds open to 520 litres to 1 670 litres.

The infotainment system interacts with any other WiFi or Bluetooth signal, with input ports for digital devices.

The digital dashboard also has a lot surprises awaiting the digitally savvy driver.

What the system doesn’t do is automatically update the FM radio signals, which I guess shows my age.

As Gaie said, the 3008 is in a very competitive niche, but to my mind, it leads all the other MPVs in terms of a fun drive, and is therefore well worth a test drive for the family man.

- Alwyn Viljoen.

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