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French Flair Peugeot 3008

French Flair Peugeot 3008

With much fanfare, the new Peugeot 3008 has hit our Sri Lankan shores, riding on a high of prestigious awards, over 30 in total, including the European Car of the Year [2017] Award and the achievement of recent back to back Paris Dakar victories. It signals Peugeot’s arrival as a serious contender in a booming crossover market, backed up by the fact, as per Peugeot, that so far almost half of the orders placed for the new 3008 are by people who do not own a Peugeot!

The original 3008 was launched way back in 2008 and although praised by the media for its capabilities, it carried a “love or hate” presence, mainly due to its styling which was more MPV than SUV.

However, the second generation model tested here carries a totally different styling ethos, inside and out, which seems to be much more appealing and much more in line with the styling flair normally associated with the French manufacturer.

The crossover market is already quite saturated, with some serious contenders from across the board, particular with the relaxed taxation on smaller capacity engines in Sri Lanka and other countries [2 liters and below], many manufacturers including premier brands have started offering smaller sized crossovers that offer a SUV ‘lite’ experience with smaller, more-efficient engines combined with body structures derived from passenger cars. Peugeot knows that to make a mark in this segment, the 3008 needs to be special, so all stops have been pulled and no detail has been spared for this effort.

 

EXTERIOR

The styling apes the trend currently practices by many crossovers, including the floating rear roofline and a highly sculpted body, combined with an aggressive front end and topped off with the latest Peugeot design grille. The overall effect more muscular yet not ‘in-your-face’, which is definitely a welcome sight over the previous 3008 and this car actually bears a resemblance to the feline mascot on the badge. The “claw” rear lights and the bulging bonnet with the pierced LED headlights, for example, further embodies this association with the feline form.

The 3008 certainly stands out from the competition, and is a comfortable departure from the almost plain predecessor. Although sitting on a passenger car platform, it’s definitely far from car like, which is the case for some of its competition.

 

MECHANICALS AND TECHNOLOGY 

The 3008 is based on PSA’s latest modular chassis technology, called the EMP2, it’s made out of a combination of weight saving materials and is configurable for many types of compact and mid-size vehicles. It is even the platform used in the latest Citroen C4 Picasso. However this means that in typical crossover fashion, this is still front wheel drive, all time 2WD only. Nevertheless, the 3008 does come with a slew of features that would be normally found on a premium SUV, including Hill Descent control and an Advanced Grip control feature that allows you to select and control the level of grip according to driving conditions.

Unsurprisingly however, to keep the base cost low, suspension wise it is relatively straightforward, with an independent front and a semi-independent rear combined with a torsion beam axle. This is all linked to disc brakes all around with automatic wear sensors.

The new EMP2 platform has been combined with high-performance PureTech and BlueHDi engines, which are supposed to be class leading in terms of efficiency, and has even walked away with the Engine of the Year Award in 2015 for the 1.0L to 1.4L engine category. This is coupled with many manual and automatic transmission options, both models reviewed carried the 6 speed automatic tagged to paddle shifts on the steering wheel, coupled to the 1.2 liter and 1.6 liter models which were both tested in this review.

 

DRIVING EXPERIENCE 

For the test drive both 1.2 and 1.6-liter models were driven, first up was the 1.2-liter model, and it provided quite a pleasant performance. Shows how far engine technology as come, as this engine is quite sufficient for normal day to day driving and even for some spirited driving when required. The 1.6 liter in comparison did feel much stronger when it came to sheer acceleration, however on normal driving, the difference was marginal.

Refinement was not the 1.2 liter version’s strongest suit, attributing to its 3 cylinder configuration which is expected of most triples due to their inherent un-balanced nature, however the 1.6 liter version felt a lot more balanced, particularly up the power band.

Overall ride quality was quite commendable for a semi independent suspension setup, and was capable of delivering a comfortable ride even on our ragged Sri Lankan roads. The steering has a light meatiness to it, and winds up as you get more aggressive with the acceleration, an experience that is common with its premium European competition.  Combined with the paddle shift gearbox and the cockpit like interior the overall dynamic experience is quite engaging, with comfortable seating wrapping off a well-balanced package.

 

LIVING WITH IT 

Although it is still classified as a “compact” vehicle, the interior layout comfortably caters for 4 full size adults, and sits firmly within the “small family” segment. The sloping roofline and cosseting interior does seem to compromise on the space slightly, however a well provisioned luggage space and ergonomic design make up for it.

The interior also follows the aggressive design philosophy of the exterior, with an emphasis on driver focus. It does carry some heavy German and Italian influences, particularly the small, sport steering wheel and the main dashboard switchgear. It has a very cosseting feel with all the control wrapped around driver, giving it a very much of an airplane cockpit feel. The latest Peugeot instrument binnacle, the ‘i-cockpit’ which is a 12 inch TFT screen with a configurable instrument layouts and premium graphics, also adds a very modern feel to the interior.

The 3008 comes with as much technology that can be thrown at it. A couple of nifty features in the interior include a wireless charging dock for your mobile phone (if it has the support for it) and 8” touch screen for the center console is also a nice touch, as the European and Japanese competition have screens that needs to be controlled from physical or touch buttons that come as standard. Also the infotainment system support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless connectivity with your mobile.

An Automatic Emergency braking system is present for collision avoidance, Adaptive Cruise Control and a windscreen washer integrated to the wiper blades, which is quite unique. It even has a fragrance diffusion system, allowing you to select different types of fragrances to enhance the ambiance.

 

SAFETY 

The 3008 has passed the stringent Euro NCAP rating with flying colors, achieving a 5 star rating which it shares with the bigger 5008 and a few more models in the Peugeot line up. With the combination of safety technology and standard features use it’s not hard to see Peugeot’s exceptional rating.

The usual front and side head and chest airbags for the driver and passenger is supplement as standard with an Automatic Emergency Braking System (AEBS), an intelligent autonomous braking system designed to avoid a collision or limit its severity by reducing the vehicle's speed. The system is triggered if the driver does not react quickly enough, by activating the vehicle's brakes.

Working in conjunction with AEBS, the distance alert function warns the driver if the vehicle risks a collision with the vehicle in front or a pedestrian in the road. Two levels of warning are available, the first 'Amber' warning provides a visual alert to the potential risk. In a more a severe instance a 'Red' visual and audible alert indicate a collision is imminent and driver action is required, failure to act triggers AEBS, again standard feature for every Peugeot 3008 SUV. This level of technology being offered standard is definitely a praiseworthy move by Peugeot.

Other optional safety features include the Lane Keeping Technology, where the vehicle is able to identify lines on the road via a windscreen mounted camera and warn the driver when it has deviated suddenly or into traffic.

Overall its very comforting to a see a high standard of safety technology brought into more mainstream models by Peugeot.

 

FUEL ECONOMY AND PRICE 

The 1.2 liter and 1.6 liter model have a manufacturer claims of 16.5kmpl and 20kmpl respectively, which are not record breaking but acceptable figures in this category, and in our Sri Lankan traffic you should effectively halve those averages for realistic expectations in the city. Venture outstation or on the highway and you could get closer to those. Factoring in the level of equipment and features available, particularly in the GT trim, the 3008 offers compelling value at Rs 7,999,000 and Rs 11,900,000 for the 1.2 and 1.6 models respectively.

In comparison with it’s European and Japanese competition, the 3008 offers fairly good value with a good mix and practicality, features and the latest equipment.

 

FINAL WORDS

With a crossover that is capable as the 3008, for a small to midsize transportation it would question the need for a fully blown SUV. It does have come to a point where the right mixture of urban and ultra urban needs are met in one single package without compromising safety or performance, and 3008 is a solid example of this mix being just right. Highlights of the 3008 are its styling, and its impressive level of safety equipment, and for those factors alone it is very good value as well.

TECH SPECS

Engine

1.2L turbo – 131bhp, 170Nm

1.6L turbo – 165bhp, 177Nm

 

Transmission

Six-speed Electronic Automatic

Front Wheel Drive

 

Front

Suspension – MacPherson

Brakes – Ventilated Disc

 

Rear

Suspension – Twist Beam

Brakes – Disc

 

Performance

1.2L – 0-60mph in 10.5s

Max Speed 117mph

1.6L – 0.60mph in 8.9s

Max Speed 128mph

(manufacturer claims)