Peugeot 3008: An underrated mid-sized SUV

Locally, the Peugeot 3008 was voted Drive360’s ‘Family Car of the Year’. The 2.0 HDi Allure was a finalist in the 2018/19 Consumer Awards. (Photo: Supplied)
Locally, the Peugeot 3008 was voted Drive360’s ‘Family Car of the Year’. The 2.0 HDi Allure was a finalist in the 2018/19 Consumer Awards. (Photo: Supplied)

The Peugeot 3008 predecessor was… let’s call it colourless, but with the second generation the French have come up with a winner.

The improvement in styling and refinement is considerable, both externally and internally as well as in on-road performance.

finweek spent time in the 3008 HDi diesel variant of this characterful mid-sized SUV.

Unique styling

The Peugeot 3008 is as uniquely different in the front as it is at the rear. It features a chunky, bold front, while three vertical LED tail lights and rear spoiler differentiate its rear. A flowing form that has plenty of chrome bits, like its roof railings, give the 3008 presence – something it did not previously have. 

It’s not your typical design in the cabin either. There’s a quirky, yet premium look, which includes unusual piano-like toggle switches. A combination of soft plastic and robust fabric is used on the dashboard. 

An eight-inch infotainment touchscreen sits quite high in the dashboard above the toggles. Even the digital dials housed within the i-cockpit have some unique features. The rev counter, which works from right to left – contrary to the normal left to right – is one.

Before the penny dropped it gave me quite a start, as I thought I was very quickly in the red zone. There’s a sense of being cocooned in the distinctively styled cabin, even while the seating position is elevated. The synthetic leather and cloth seats are ergonomic and comfortable, the switchgear is all within easy reach, and the ride height adds to the sense of security.

And all-round vision, courtesy of the 3008’s less chunky A-pillars, is really good.The 3008’s standard features include keyless entry, electric folding side mirrors, flappy paddles, phone pairing and six-speaker sound system.

The smaller (always a hit) and sportier leather steering wheel with flattened top and bottom shape (quick to adapt to… and like) is also standard. Also standard are in-car tech and safety features like hill-hold function, front and rear parking aid, lane departure warning, driver alert, road sign detection, cruise control, automatic drive-away locking and activation of hazards in emergency braking.

This family SUV is spacious and practical, with deep storage space (with lighting) in the centre console, and more space in front of the gear lever where the USB port is situated. There’s plenty of leg- and headroom for the three rear passengers, with the middle seat folding down to reveal a ski hatch that allows access to the boot.

If more space is required in the already generous boot that houses a full-size spare wheel, a release lever here allows for quick, easy folding down of the back seats.There are some gripes. Like the lack of automatic boot opening.

Then there’s the positioning of the gear lever – further forward than I prefer, and in close proximity to the switches just above it, meaning that the lower switches can inadvertently be bumped, activating features like the windscreen demister or air conditioning. 

All told, though, these gripes are at the low end of the importance spectrum and will pale into insignificance.

Road manners

The 3008 offers a superb marriage of engine and gearbox to deliver smooth, even power with torque wonderfully distributed, no matter the gear or revs. It has a gem of an engine that is robust.

Peak torque of 370Nm is available at a lowly 2000rpm so it doesn’t run out of steam, whatever the gear. And the marriage of this 2-litre turbodiesel with a silky-smooth six-speed automatic is harmonious.

The ride is as impressive. It’s comfortable, yet with a firmish feel that maintains that feeling of road contact. On its 18-inch alloy wheels the front-wheel drive 3008 is planted and pretty agile. Surefooted on the road and precise steering adds to the sense of composure.

And it has a decent turning circle, making negotiating tight parking spots easier. Sport mode adds even more punch, together with a throatier exhaust note and tighter steering, all while maintaining a smooth distribution of power.

The sporty SUV is pretty fuel frugal too. Use of sport mode and an extensive stint of heavy traffic delivered 7.4 litres per 100km, dropping to the sixes with more sedate driving in normal mode with reduced traffic. The open road lowered that to the fives.This unique, well-built mid-sized SUV offers a notable level of refinement.

It is well-equipped, with high levels of standard in-car tech and safety features. And it’s fairly priced.Exceedingly pleasant to pilot, the contemporary 3008’s important aspects like that of power delivery, on-road performance, ride and safety are impressive.

Throw connectivity and looks into the mix and you have a winner. Cars built by the French are often less likely to come within the purview of local motorists, given the leaning toward German-built cars. That’s a shame, because the Peugeot 3008 is a cracker and should feature on the list of those in the market for a mid-sized SUV.

peugeot, 3008

This article originally appeared in the 10 October edition of finweek magazine. Buy and download the magazine here or subscribe to our newsletter here.  

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