The design of the new Peugeot 3008 is radically different from the first generation. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
The design of the new Peugeot 3008 is radically different from the first generation. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

Peugeot SA is going nowhere anytime soon. These were the words uttered by the company’s recently appointed MD, Francisco Gaie, at the launch of the new 3008.

There has been a great deal of speculation among local motoring media pundits as to whether the French manufacturer will follow its Citroen compatriot and discontinue trading in the South African market.

Gaie did mention, though, that Citroen owners need not be anxious because Peugeot Citroen SA — as the company is officially referred to — will continue to provide after-sales support to them.

Asked whether there were plans to make new Citroen products available in SA, he said should there be more relevant products available for the market, those would be considered.

Back to the launch of the Peugeot 3008, though, and the manufacturer has decidedly moved it from being a multipurpose vehicle (MPV) to what is a more agreeable, compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). The popularity and growth of the latter segment goes without saying and for the marque to change tack was perhaps a no-brainer.

The interior could well be the best in the segment. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
The interior could well be the best in the segment. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

Practicality

Readers will recall the Motor News team ran the previous-generation of the model in its long-term test fleet and its practicality and frugality rated among some of its highlights. The styling was somewhat of an acquired taste, but I am glad to report the opposite is now true.

The new 3008’s face will be plastered on each of the brand’s models as it welcomes a new design language. The new grille gives the 3008 significantly more presence, while the tapered headlights and flatter bonnet mean the vehicle looks more rugged. The narrow glasshouse and LED rear lights with vertical light strips look fresh and modern.

However, it is the cabin that is a game changer. There is a feeling of sitting in a jet cockpit with a myriad switches on the drop-down console, a floating infotainment screen, a cockpit-style gear lever and a 12.3-inch, configurable digital instrument cluster. It is, without a doubt, one of the most stylish cabins among its rivals.

Dimensionally, it is 4.45m in length, which is just 8mm longer than the outgoing model, although interior space has improved somewhat. Meanwhile, rear occupants now have an additional 24mm legroom, 4mm elbow room and 36mm headroom. Front elbow room is also said to have increased by 17mm despite the width of the new model being identical to the outgoing version at 1,840mm, while the height is 15mm lower at 1,624mm.

Luggage space has improved by 90l to measure 520l (under the luggage cover), while this can be expanded to 1,690l with the rear seats folded.

The rear also has a futuristic look about it. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
The rear also has a futuristic look about it. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

Trim levels

At launch, one engine and three trim levels will be available. The engine is a 1.6l turbo petrol with 121kW and 240Nm driving the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

Trim levels, meanwhile, are the entry-level Active and the intermediate Allure and Allure+, while the top-tier trim comes in the GT-Line and GT-Line+.

Alloy wheels range from 17 to 19 inches, while the GT-Line models can further be distinguished by a chrome-studded grille, LED headlights and blacked-out rear windows and roof. According to Gaie, most sales will stem from the GT-Line trim, citing potential buyers looking for the highest specification models in this segment.

We spent time at the launch driving the Allure and GT-Line variants. The engine, which is an improved version of the outgoing model, is still a peach, pulling convincingly once past the initial turbo lag phase. The gearbox and engine seem to sing in unison and I am glad the company will only be bringing in the automatic transmission.

While the GT-Line, which rides on 19-inch alloys, offers a slightly firm ride, it is not disconcertingly jarring by any means and one quickly gets accustomed to it.

On gravel, the vehicle’s suspension shone through with grip levels fairly good even when one piled on some speed, while there were no discernible rattles or squeaks — a testament to good build quality. On-road the cabin offered a well-insulated sanctum and an overall refined cabin ambience, thanks in part to that exquisite interior design.

Duke it out

The 3008 will now duke it out with some strong contenders in the sector, such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, which continues to be our favourite in the segment.

That is not taking anything away from the 3008, which is priced from R399,900 for the Active and rises to R569,900 for the GT Line+. The standard four-year/60,000km service plan is slightly below par of the segment average, particularly the mileage element.

That aside, the Peugeot 3008 is more stylish and refined than its predecessor and a promising prospect for the brand’s sales.

Diesel lovers, however, will have to wait until the first quarter of 2018 for the high-pressure direct injection models.

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