Peugeot 3008. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
Peugeot 3008. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

The population of medium-sized crossover SUVs is ever increasing. The niche needs only to satisfy a few requirements of high-rise suspensions, family practicality and perhaps to look a bit tougher.

Peugeot has taken on more ambition to challenge the upper echelons of big brands by offering a French alternative to the premium crossover arena.

What characterises a chic premium crossover? If your answer is to have angular styling, acres of chrome on the body and an avant-garde styled interior, the Peugeot 3008 on test here might very well lure you out of your garden variety school runner.

The recently facelifted 3008 has an interesting and angry stare expressed by a triple stack of rectangular light sabres that mimic a feline’s claws, of which the outermost pair reach down to the lower bumper level to create a set of fangs. The “scratched by a cat” theme is extended to a blackened rear light cluster but the entire car is really a stunner.   

The adventurous crafting of its interior competes in the fashionable class of Audi’s Q2, Mini Countryman and other premium offerings. It has an anticlockwise speedo inside a playful and digital driver’s information screen, angled and shiny function buttons and a small hexagonal steering wheel.

You can’t argue with its bolstered and quilted seats, which in the test car were covered in red leather. They add a visual punch to the living quarters. It also feels spacious enough for a small family to settle in with a good score in luxury and convenience features.

The Peugeot 3008 engine range isn’t diverse. A 121kW and 240Nm 1.6l turbo four-cylinder powers the entire range and it’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

It’s pleasing enough on the move with light steering and nippiness around suburbia. It feels suitable for buyers who'll do both short journeys and highway outings. It’s claimed it will take 8.9 sec to accelerate to 100km/h sprint and reach a top speed of 201km/h.

It’s a cushy drive everywhere with good sound-deadening measures but the ride turns a little twitchy and unsettled over bumpy surfaces.

It’s a roomy cabin with comprehensive digitisation and smart leather seats. Picture: SUPPLIED
It’s a roomy cabin with comprehensive digitisation and smart leather seats. Picture: SUPPLIED

The engine offers a balance of efficiency and vigour that make it feasibly cheap to run if we are to go by its 7.9l/100km average it attained during the test week. This top-tier GT model is R130,000 dearer than the entry-model, which is a huge gulf but it offers all of the possible nice things. It comes with standard matching equipment inside and it’s probably the one I’d go for and I’d add a panoramic glass roof to enhance the optics.

Foibles? The minuscule steering wheel is great for threading the car around obstacles at slow speeds but the small shape and size will not be to everyone’s tastes and comfort.

My verdict is that all the attention was lavished on its looks. There are some genuinely attractive, desirable aspects such as the red seats, luxury items, Peugeot’s safety reputation and an approachable price tag, but I’m on the fence on this one. I just don’t know if I’d choose it over some of its fancier brand rivals.

Tech Specs

ENGINE

Type: Four-cylinder petrol turbo

Capacity: 1.6l

Power: 121kW

Torque: 240Nm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed Auto

DRIVETRAIN

Type: Front wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

Top speed: 201km/h

0-100km/h: 8.9 sec (as claimed)

Fuel Consumption: 7.0l/100km (as claimed), 7.9l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 156g/km

STANDARD FEATURES

Bluetooth, navigation, electric folding mirrors, auto on/off lights, xenon headlights, matrix LED, high beam assist, adaptive cruise control, park distance control front and back with camera, rain sensor wipers, heated front seats, leather upholstery, keyless access, USB port front & rear, climate control, ABS, stability control, six airbags, brake assist     

COST OF OWNERSHIP

Warranty: Five years/100,000km

Service plan: Five years/100,000km

Price: R644,900

Lease: R13,796 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

Peugeot 3008 GT-Line

WE LIKE:

Looks, cabin with red seats, luxury items

WE DISLIKE:

Ride quality could be better, not everyone will gel with that small steering wheel

VERDICT:

Gorgeous car but it is not perfect

MOTOR NEWS

star rating

*****Design

****Performance

****Economy

****Ride

**** Handling

*****Safety

****Value For Money

****Overall

Competition

Audi Q3 35TFSI Advanced line, 110kW/250Nm — R671,000

BMW X1 sDrive18i, 103kW/220Nm — R645,934

Lexus UX 250h EX, 135kW/180Nm — R734,000

Mazda CX-30 2.0 Individual, 121kW/213Nm — R540,000

Mercedes-Benz GLA200 AMG Line, 120kW/250Nm — R679,040

Opel Grandland X 1.6T Elegance, 121kW/240Nm — R627,900

Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4TSI R-Line, 110kW/250Nm — R644,500

Volvo XC40 T3 Momentum, 110kW/265Nm — R635,500

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