- Refined interior is best-in-class
- Punchy and quiet turbo petrol
- Big boot and ample space for 5
- List price a little too pricey
- Expensive optional leather
- No all-wheel-drive on offer
There’s been a flurry of genuinely good medium-sized SUVs launched over the last twenty-four months. As the high-riding five-seater class has developed into a buyer favourite, Euro and Asian brands have poured massive sums into development – and Australians have benefitted. It’s rare that any segment will have three easily-recommendable models for buyers to select from – but that’s the case for in the midsize crossover class. We’ve lived with each of the top contenders – the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Mazda CX-5, and the Hyundai Tucson. Each of these cars impresses mainly in one or two areas – the VW’s technology and packaging, the Mazda’s driveability, and the Tucson’s style – but they’re jacks of all trades, not masters. Sure, they’re good, but none has yet excelled in all ways, in one package: good looks, high-end cabin design, a refined engine, fun handling, family practicality, and everyday usability. But now, something has. That’s precisely what the new French kid on the block, the 2018 Peugeot 3008, has managed to do. In one fell swoop, the Peugeot 3008 has crashed the medium SUV party and defined itself as the new benchmark.
So where has the 3008 come from? Well, it has nothing to do with the outgoing 3008, which was a practical half-MPV, half-SUV creation that didn’t win favour with buyers. This 3008 shares only a name with the old model. The new car ditches any MPV-esque pretension and wholeheartedly adopts the medium SUV form factor, and all the better for it: it’s a handsome and unique design that stands out in this pretty samey segment. Underneath, the 3008 now rides on Peugeot’s lightweight EMP2 platform that also underpins the excellent (and underrated) 308 hatchback. As their names naturally suggest, the 308 and 3008 now share as much componentry as they do character – as the 3008 essentially drives like a large hatch, just as Volkswagen’s Tiguan feels a lot like its platform partner, the Golf.
The reason we haven’t heard much about the 3008 – aside from sighting a few of them on Sydney roads – is that in Australia, Peugeot has slipped into also-ran status. PSA, the Paris-based parent company of Peugeot and Citroën, doesn’t import cars directly; they partner with independent distributors. Their previous distributor, Sime Darby, did a pretty poor job of that – Peugeot sales fell 66% in 10 years. But PSA recently transferred the contract to Inchcape, a highly-established outfit that also import Subaru into Australia. And over the decade in which Peugeot sales more than halved, Inchcape managed to boost Subaru’s volume by 25%. So there is hope – but it will be an uphill battle to get Peugeot back into the limelight, and back into the average Australian buyer’s headspace.
But if there’s a car that can do it, it’s the new 3008. It had the potential to be a real zero-to-hero car for Peugeot in Australia, and a couple of days with it in the Hunter Valley confirmed that it really does get those basics right. It’s easy on the eye, with distinctive design touches that really work in the flesh. The interior is beautifully made, ergonomic and intuitive, and packed with technology. It has almost the biggest boot in the class and it’s roomy enough for five people.
The only question mark hanging above the 3008’s gloss-black roof is the price. Peugeot’s Australian product manager, Felix Boulin, told Chasing Cars that the 3008 unabashedly targets the Volkswagen Tiguan – the default ‘premium mainstream’ SUV. Volkswagen price the Tiguan 5-10% higher than its rivals – but they can get away with it, because not only are Volkswagen’s products objectively high-end but buyers perceive them to be high-end. And, look – on first impressions the Peugeot 3008 is definitely playing in that space. I think it’s a better car than the Tiguan, which is a tremendous achievement. But Peugeot has a substantial hill to climb in order to secure a Volkswagen-like brand reputation in Australia, and charging Tiguan-like prices seems a bit short-sighted when Peugeot’s goal, right now, should be selling as many 3008s to Australians as possible. If the price were a little sharper, it’d give this car an even better shot.
The Peugeot 3008 is immediately available with two turbo four-cylinder engines: a petrol and a diesel. You can’t mix and match an engine to your desired trim level – the 2.0-litre diesel is exclusive to the flagship 3008 GT ($49,990). The lower three grades receive a 1.6-litre petrol.
Buying a medium SUV is often a choice between a willing diesel, or a merely adequate petrol engine. But in the case of the 3008, it seems to be the inverse. The (lower-end) petrol is the most willing and enjoyable of the pair. The expensive 133kW diesel doesn’t feel as strong as its 400Nm torque figure suggests – and from a refinement perspective, the 3008 GT is held back by the relatively noisy diesel.
So, excepting buyers who plan to do upwards of 20,000 km per year and will really reap the benefit of the diesel’s miserly highway fuel economy, I don’t think there’s much of a reason to go past the better-value 3008 grades equipped with the petrol engine, which is pretty stellar. The 121kW/240Nm 1.6-litre turbo has no delusions of grandeur in the outright performance stakes, but it’s totally relaxed at town speeds, and it it’s ready and willing to be wound out to highway pace, rewarding with a pleasant raspy sound in the upper end of the rev range.
The petrol is linear, as peak torque arrives at just 1,400rpm and doesn’t meaningfully drop off as the revs jump towards peak power, which is found somewhat later at 6,000rpm. The clever six-speed automatic, which Peugeot co-developed with Japanese gearbox maker Aisin, does a great job of driving the 3008 around in torquey low revs most of the time. It’s a tremendous auto, without any dual-clutch clunkiness or quirkiness. And as a Peugeot auto goes, it’s a far cry from the robotised manuals found in French cars not even ten years ago. Bravo.
The petrol is supplanted in the top-end GT trim by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel producing 133kW and 400Nm. Traditionally, the GT badge is reserved for warm models within Peugeot’s lineup: the excellent 308 GT petrol, while it was offered here, packed a 151kW, 285Nm punch. And while, on the face of it, the 133kW diesel eclipses the 3008’s standard 121kW petrol both in terms of performance and efficiency, the BlueHDi diesel isn’t as desirable as the THP petrol. Despite having an enormous 160Nm more torque, the diesel doesn’t feel substantially faster. What it does feel is noisier: the near-silent petrol is super-refined, while the more muscular diesel clatters about its business, admittedly returning much more frugal consumption data.
But the fact that the diesel is limited to the expensive top-shelf GT, coupled to the fact that it isn’t a truly ‘warm’ engine as other Peugeot GT models tend to be – mean that if it were my money, I would opt for a nicely-optioned GT-Line model with the smaller, but somewhat thirstier, turbo petrol mill.
On paper, the 121kW petrol engine looks small for the class – but it’s entirely adequate, as the 3008 is one of the lightest medium SUVs. The EMP2 chassis underpinning the new 3008 is a light platform, but the 3008 reaps a weight advantage from not lugging around a largely superfluous all-wheel-drive system found on this car’s mid-spec rivals. The 3008 petrol has an unladen mass of 1,371kg. Mazda’s CX-5 2.5-litre weighs in at 1,565kg; the Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI at 1,600kg; and the Hyundai Tucson 1.6T at a portly 1,683kg. Yes – the Peugeot is 300kg lighter than the Hyundai: it’s like kicking five average-sized men out of the car. On a power-to-weight ratio basis, the Peugeot returns 88kW/tonne – behind the Mazda’s 89kW/tonne, but well ahead of the VW’s 83kW/tonne, and the Hyundai’s 77kW/tonne. On paper and on the road, the Peugeot’s theoretical power deficit doesn’t work against it because it’s so light on its feet.
Naturally, that lightness also translates into real agility on the road. The Peugeot’s front end is delicate and light, happy to be pitched hard, without complaint, into tight corners. The lovely front end is especially evident with the petrol engine; the diesel adds 62 kilograms more weight – critically over the front axle, which subtly blunts the 3008’s dance. Peugeot’s affinity for quick and light steering racks has gone nowhere, and nor have the lovely, small steering wheels. The 3008’s rack is slightly slower and more relaxed than the kind-of-frenetic 308 hatchback, but like that car, the 3008 SUV feels awesomely manoeuvrable in town and corners happily and quickly on the open road. There is some body lean, and the 3008 will demonstrate classic front-drive characteristics including lift-off oversteer if driven hard, but it’s pleasant. The selectable Sport mode introduces some much-appreciated additional weight to the electric power steering, but normal isn’t annoyingly light.
Despite the 3008’s aforementioned light mass, it rides with a similar level of surety as the substantially heavier Tiguan. This demonstrates that, for PSA, the EMP2 platform is a work in progress. The circa 1.2-tonne 308 hatch is nimble, but it’s so lean that it never feels truly buttoned-down on patchy Australian roads. In contrast, the 3008 feels secure and planted, even over sudden elevation drops and severe surface divots. Even the surprising lack of independent rear suspension doesn’t seem to be a chink in the Peugeot’s armour. The torsion beam feels settled and is utterly unobtrusive, with no characteristic tramping impression that these more primitive rear axles usually send through to the driver’s bottom. It’s quiet, too: there’s a little road noise on the GT’s 19-inch wheels, but other models get 17- or 18-inch versions that are quieter, and offer better compliance, too. Wind noise is restrained in all 3008s.
The lack of available all-wheel-drive was something of an elephant in the room on the 3008’s national launch. But it needn’t to have been: Peugeot should be more forceful with arguing that AWD is pretty much unnecessary in this class of car and, for most buyers, merely adds unnecessary weight and cost. The furthest off the tarmac most medium SUVs will get is the gravel driveway to a winery – and that’s fine. Of course, if moderate off-roading is your thing you probably won’t be considering this class, but the Subaru Forester has the best ground clearance and all-wheel-drive system.
The 3008 does have an inexpensive option called Grip Control ($200) that can extend the vehicle’s natural light off-road capability a bit further. Grip Control pairs 18-inch Continental ContiCrossContact mud and snow tyres, with an electronic suite that alters throttle response, gearshifts and front differential reactions to help the front-driven 3008 scrabble up inclines. We tested it on a gentle off-road course; it works, but this is a car made for tarmac. A future 3008 hybrid – with a motor on the rear axle – will provide a form of AWD. That car is expected to hit Australia in early 2019.
This Peugeot’s strongest differentiator is an excellent interior. French car interiors are regularly innovative, but traditionally that innovation goes too far into the quirky, which makes building mainstream appeal pretty difficult. The 3008, though, strikes a balance that I believe is close to perfect. Aesthetically, it’s very interesting, with a modern, tiered design giving the eye plenty to take in; there are lush materials used in all the right places. But the ergonomics are just right. Finally, nearly all the controls are where you’d expect them to be, and key driver interfaces like the steering wheel, gear shift and touchscreen sit closely together, and each falls right to hand.
In form and function, the 3008’s dashboard is a progression from the super-minimal 208 and 308 hatchbacks. Some of that minimalism remains – this SUV’s cabin isn’t cluttered like a Ford Escape’s, for example – but Peugeot have intelligently conceded that some primary functions work better with buttons. A strip of beautiful metal toggles now sit beneath the eight-inch touchscreen, offering one-touch access to navigation, audio, and the climate controls. Specific temperature and fan settings still need to be configured through the screen, but the presence of a physical shortcut does make life easier. The bright driver-inclined touchscreen now runs faster software, though it’s not as snappily responsive as Volkswagen’s excellent system found in the Tiguan. It does, however, include navigation, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on every grade.
It’s a clue to another of the 3008’s advantages: its technology proposition. The touchscreen scores points, but it’s the Peugeot’s standard-fit 12-inch ‘iCockpit’ digital driver display that has me really nodding along. I was blown away by this technology when it first appeared in this segment as a $2,250 option on the Tiguan in late 2016. It replaces traditional analogue dials, placing a very crisp, very snappy screen in front of the driver, that can display speed, a map, audio, and the like right in your natural line of sight. The Peugeot not only absorbs that technology, with a more interesting aesthetic than the Volkswagen, but they’ve taken it a step further and made it standard-fit across the 3008 range globally. That is textbook ‘moving the game forward’.
As is traditional for French cars, the audio quality from the 3008’s standard six-speaker stereo is above average, with good high-volume clarity and punchy bass. Ideally, the premium Focal-branded stereo available in the 3008 in Europe would have been included on the GT; maybe in a future update. And including just one USB port on a brand-new car for 2017 is daft; the CX-5 has four.
The fascinating texturing of the 3008’s cabin is carried by the use of relatively unusual trims on the dashboard and door tops. Basic cars have attractive fabric strips running the length of these areas. In higher-end cars, this becomes soft Alcantara. Peugeot are working on making their flagship trim, a grey marle felt, available for right-hand-drive; an open-pore wood is also on the way as an option for the GT. However, no matter whether the car has fabric, Alcantara, felt or wood in these inserts, the 3008 looks beautifully-appointed inside; design-wise, the Peugeot is a hugely welcome break from its rivals and their vast expanses of piano black and cheap-looking faux-carbon fibre.
The front seats aren’t massive, but for smaller to medium body types, the shapely pews offer plenty of comfort and support. The seats are moderately bolstered and do a decent job of holding you in place while cornering. The squab is a bit too short; the GT’s electric seat, optionally available on the GT-Line, adds a manual leg extender that long-legged drivers will really value. Like the dash pieces, the seat trim also changes with the grade. The fabric seats of lower-end 3008s feel and look fine; there is a little more interest added further up the range where the material changes to part fabric, part faux-leather. The GT’s standard Alcantara seats are a bit more premium again. The GT includes a massage feature on the driver’s seat with a number of selectable programmes – it’s very effective!
On the face of it, it’s a bit disappointing that leather upholstery isn’t standard on at least the top-end GT. The Peugeot’s rivals at the $50,000 mark (or less) have leather – or do they? ‘Leather’ is a misleading term in the car industry. Most non-luxury vehicles with ‘leather’, including mainstream medium SUVs, usually have a mix of real hide and man-made material on their seats. The 3008’s Nappa leather package, however, is the real deal. It’s really expensive ($2,700 on the electric-seat equipped GT, and $3,700 on the GT-Line, as it adds in that electric motor), but the entirely-real upholstery is super-soft and very premium, if you’re willing to fork out for it. The second-tier Allure model also has optional leather; it’s not Nappa, but the $2,500 ‘Claudia’ hide is still impressively soft.
The 3008 is spacious in the front, and roomy in the back. The fixed back seat doesn’t allow those back there to stretch out as much as they can in a Volkswagen Tiguan, but it’s bigger than a Tucson or an Escape. The actual seat construction in the rear is impressive, too – the squab is angled correctly to support the legs on longer trips. That’s not a given in this space, surprisingly. The basics are there; air vents are standard across the range, as is a flip-down armrest, and the big windows afford a good view out. But back there, the lack of USB ports will be felt by kids (and parents) that would prefer their iPads to stay charged on road trips.
The 3008’s fixed back seat means it doesn’t have the most spacious rear legroom in this class, but it does mean that the Peugeot’s really large boot space – 591 litres – is exactly what you get all the time. The Tiguan, which also has a great boot, only reaches its claimed 615 litres when the moving back seats are slid all the way forward, which critically limits back-seat legroom. The 3008 avoids that sort of bizarre chicanery; what you see when you open the manual tailgate is what you get.
And it is a manual tailgate on all grades, unless you splash for the $500 electric gate option that is available on the Allure model upwards. Peugeot Australia’s Felix Boulin told me that the local product planners finished their work before Inchcape took over and could influence what features would go into the Australian 3008, but also that he thought an electric tailgate was slightly superfluous for most. By restricting the cost of the option to $500, those that need it will buy it – that’s the theory. They might be right: there’s a lot of Tiguan Comfortlines on the road without an electric boot. At least the door itself is light enough to close easily, but adding an electric version as standard wouldn’t hurt the 3008’s chances.
In the square-shaped, flat-floored boot there are a number of useful amenities. Shopping bag hooks, tie-down points and levers to fold the rear seats flat are all there; a 12-volt socket is also on hand. It’s this power outlet where you’ll be able to charge Peugeot’s awesome mobile electric mobility devices – a scooter called e-Kick, and a small bicycle called e-Bike – if they can be secured for Australian import. Regulatory issues are currently a bugbear.
The 3008’s cabin is pretty practical, too. Up front, the storage box between the front seats is deep enough to fit a handbag or a few iPads into, away from prying eyes – or, as my driving companion proffered, ‘two bottles of champagne’ – perhaps more relevant, given this car’s nationality. The door bins are large; the cupholders are European-sized rather than massive. The glovebox, finally, is of an entirely normal scale – it’s also where the 3008’s pleasant, standard-fit fragrance dispenser is kept, which gently dispenses a nice scent through the cabin.
In the back seat, the bottle holders are repeated. There is a flip-down armrest with two further cupholders, and map pockets are found in the back of both front seats.
If you plan to do any towing with the 3008, it’s important to note that the diesel is the best bet. The GT diesel can tow 750kg of unbraked trailer, and 1,750kg if it’s braked; the petrol is a bit of a lightweight – it can only tow 600kg of either variety of load.
RELIABILITY & RUNNING COSTS
There are three main running costs to consider when buying a car – depreciation, maintenance and fuel consumption. The data listed in this section is for the 2017 Peugeot 3008 GT-Line 1.6-litre turbo petrol automatic.
Predicted Peugeot 3008 depreciation
Glass’ Guide predicts that the Peugeot 3008 GT-Line will be worth approximately $23,000 or 52.8 percent of its original value after three years/40,000km of ownership (the average for Australian motorists). Glass’ Guide also predicts that both the Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline will be worth a similar amount, at $23,600 or 56.8 percent of its original value. The Mazda CX-5 GT 2.5-litre petrol is a resale value star, and will be worth approximately 63 percent of its original value, or $28,000.
Peugeot 3008 maintenance and servicing costs
Peugeot covers the 3008 with a three-year/100,000km warranty, as well as capped price servicing for the first five years/100,000km of the car’s life. Service intervals fall once yearly/every 20,000km, whichever comes first – double the distance of the Mazda CX-5’s 10,000km service intervals. Service pricing ranges from a $477 for the first year/20,000km service, to $845 for the fourth year/80,000km service for a three year average of $596 per year.
This compares fairly equally to the Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline, which costs only $42 less per year on average to maintain ($554), but both are more expensive than a Mazda CX-5 GT petrol to service, which despite having shorter servicing intervals and requiring a whole extra service in a three year time period, its average yearly cost is still $491. If you travel less than 10,000km in a CX-5, its three year average becomes just $335.
Peugeot 3008 fuel consumption
Peugeot claims that the 3008 GT-Line uses 7.0L/100km on a combined fuel consumption cycle, with CO2 emissions listed as 156g/km. The diesel is claimed to be about 30% more frugal; it is slated to return 4.8L/100km on the combined cycle. We’ll test both when they come through our garage for extended testing.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Peugeot are running without a true base model for the 3008, in recognition that sales at the cheapest end of the medium SUV market are quite thin. The Australian range commences with the Active ($36,990), which is equipped more like a mid-specification model in the Peugeot’s rivals.
The Active introduces the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder engine, producing 121kW of power and 240Nm of torque, sending power to the front wheels through a six-speed torque converter automatic. Peugeot claims CO2 emissions of 156g/km.
The 3008 Active is equipped with Peugeot’s i-Cockpit technology, which includes a 12.3-inch digital display behind the steering wheel and an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a reversing camera and inbuilt satellite navigation with 3D icons. The Active also comes with six airbags, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging, automatic headlights and wipers, cloth seat trim, as well as cruise control with a speed limiter and lane departure warning.
Safety technology such as autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise control and blind spot monitoring is not available on the entry level Active, and actually doesn’t become standard until the second-from-top GT-Line. A Mazda CX-5 offers AEB and blind-spot monitoring in all models.
The second-tier model is the Allure ($39,490). It features different fabric trim on the dashboard, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic parallel and 90-degree parking, keyless entry and start, rear privacy glass, electric-folding door mirrors and a 360-degree parking camera.
The Allure can be optioned with ‘Claudia’ leather seats for $2,500, or with a $1,500 advanced safety package that adds AEB, radar cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring.
The $43,490 GT-Line sits above the Allure, and adds a perforated leather steering wheel, exterior and interior styling treatments including a chrome grille edge and black lettering, sports bumpers, different 18-inch alloy wheels, a black roof and mirrors, full-LED headlights with LED foglamps and scrolling LED front indicators. The GT-Line is where the 3008 earns more active safety equipment as standard, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and automatic high beam headlights.
The GT-Line can be optioned with a Nappa leather package, which replaces this variant’s standard fabric/faux-leather seat mix with soft, quilted black leather. This package also adds eight-way electric adjustment, heated front seats and extendable legrests for the driver and front passenger for $3,700.
The $49,490 GT sits atop the local 3008 range, and uses a 133kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel. Standard equipment highlights for the 3008 GT include alcantara dash/door trim, leather seating, satin steel dashboard switches, chrome exterior mirrors, 19-inch alloy wheels, wheel arch extensions and a greater range of adjustment for the heated and massaging front seats, including eight-way electric adjustment and two-position memory settings for the driver. Nappa upholstery can be swapped in for $2,700.
Standalone options available for the 3008 range include a $2,000 panoramic sunroof for all models, a $500 electric tailgate and Peugeot’s Grip Control system that adjusts the stability and traction control to enhance the car’s ability in light off road situations, which also includes 18-inch alloy wheels on snow and mud tyres for $200 (only available on the Allure and upwards). Metallic paint is a minimum $790 option, with Ultimate Red and White Pearl being $990. The effortlessly chic Coupe Franche two-tone paint scheme is also available for $1,000.
The new 3008 joins the popular and well-established medium SUV class. There are 17 different models competing in this segment, and we think the new 3008 sits right at the top along with two other high-quality alternatives from Mazda and Volkswagen.
Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline ($41,490)
The latest Tiguan is one of our favourite SUVs – it combines an extremely practical interior with a 615-litre boot, fantastic interior space and storage, the usual high levels of Volkswagen build quality and pseudo-hot hatch dynamics. Some extra equipment should be standard equipment however, and the $2,250 Driver Assist Package is needed to match the 3008’s equipment levels, pushing its price to $43,490. Read our Volkswagen Tiguan review here.
Mazda CX-5 GT petrol ($44,390)
The CX-5 is the number one selling SUV in Australia, and for good reason too. It has a long list of attributes, including keen driving dynamics, a plush interior and strong active safety levels. Its smaller boot and smaller interior dimensions loses points in practicality however, it remains a purchase with both the head and the heart. It’s also very, very well equipped against its rivals listed here, particularly the Tiguan. Read our Mazda CX-5 review here.
|Power||121kW at 6,000rpm|
|Torque||240Nm at 1,400rpm|
|Power to weight ratio||88kW / tonne|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||7L/100km|
|Fuel capacity||53 litres|
|Average range||757 kilometres|
Transmission and Drivetrain
|Drivetrain||Front wheel drive|
Dimensions and Weights
|Unoccupied weight||1,371 kilograms|
|Cargo space (seats up)||591 litres|
|Cargo space (seats down)||1,670 litres|