It’s not every day that an SUV is awarded European Car of the Year. In fact, it’s never happened before, until this year.
Peugeot captured the hearts of many back home with their recent release of the 3008, but will it be received as openly on Australian soil, where most associate the French brand with their smaller vehicles?
Launched amongst the rolling hills of the Hunter Valley, Peugeot released their second generation medium-sized SUV, which is faced with the daunting task of breaking into what is already a highly saturated and popular market.
Unlike its bulky predecessor, the all-new 3008 flaunted elegant exterior lines and a stately presence. Chrome accents highlighted flowing subtle curves, while impressive detailed grille patterning and slanted cat-like LED headlights framed the front. Inside, style and finesse filled the interior space with design that is uncomplicated and refined. Quality soft-touch finishes and contemporary fabric choices in the entry-level were a particular favourite that provided a luxury feel not usually associated with this price bracket. The cutting-edge styling of the dashboard design and lighting gives it an almost-futuristic-feel that defines the 3008 as a cut above the rest. Add to this an 8” touchscreen, 3D navigation, smartphone connectivity and uncluttered cabin control functions as standard and I’m only just getting started.
Behind the wheel, the 3008 offers a secure and comfortable ride with cocoon-like seats (best-suited to the smaller-framed) with a flat-edged, slightly-smaller-than-standard steering wheel which took a bit of getting used to. Ample manual seat adjustments exist and there is generous room in the boot and front, while back-seat riders can expect slightly less leg room. Those in the front are also separated, with a wide box-like centre console area with storage compartments similar to that of a small pantry.
The 3008 comes in four variants; the Active, Allure, GT-line and GT. Despite being an SUV, all models are front wheel drive only. Two engine types are available: a 1.6L turbo petrol or a 2.0L turbo diesel (found only in the GT variant). All models come equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission only. If fuel efficiency is high on your priority list then the diesel engine is definitely worth considering, offering a very efficient combined average of 4.8L/100km, while its petrol counterpart is expected to deliver 7.0L/100km.
On the open road, the 3008 felt at home and I did too. Travelling as driver or passenger was a pleasure and provided that sought-after solid feeling inherent in European car design. It stuck to the road with assurance, holding through the corners with limited body roll. Inside the cabin, road noise was minimal on the bitumen. Its off-road capabilities include a traction grip system and descent assist control (in specced up variants), which provided a seriously weighty amount of driver assistance if you’re after that sort of thing.
Rounding out its driving experience is its recently awarded 5-Star ANCAP safety rating with lane departure warning, speed limit recognition and driver attention warning offered as standard. In the GT-line and above you get autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active blind-spot monitoring and parking aid sensors and assist to name a few.
For those looking in the higher-end range, medium-sized SUV market, Peugeot might just have the point of difference you’re after.
The Active is available for $39,990 drive away and topping out at $54,141 for the GT-line.
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