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Peugeot three thousand and eight. Not three double-oh eight or three oh-oh eight. Three thousand and eight. That’s how you pronounce the name of Peugeot’s 3008. Don’t ask why, but you can bet that the owners of the James Bond franchise have something to do with it
Anyway, this is the French carmaker’s mid-sized SUV, and like all things Peugeot it’s a different take on the everyday – but how does that impact the day-to-day usability?
There are four grades in the 3008 range, and the Active is the entry-level model with its list price of $37,490. As a bit of a point of reference, the most expensive 3008 is the GT at $50,990.Does this mean the Active is a bit light-on for features, then? Nope. But it does miss out on some things the other grades have, including a bit of advanced safety equipment.
First, what do you get? Coming standard is an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch instrument panel. Peugeot calls it a “head up”, but it’s not the type which is projected onto the windscreen, but rather a raised screen which sits high above the steering wheel. So far so, good – these are excellent features.
There’s digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a wireless charging pad and sat nav. This is all great, too.
Dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers are also on the standard features list, so are front and rear parking sensors, which is also good because many carmakers only give you rear ones on entry-level cars.
Now, let’s talk about what you don’t get: things like push button start (the Active has an ‘old fashioned’ key you need to turn in the ignition), auto parking or tinted rear windows. Those are all standard on the $39,490 Allure.
Is the Peugeot Active overpriced? Are you just paying more for the fancy French badge? Well, for about the same money as the 3008 Active you could buy a CX-5 in higher-end GT guise or Hyundai Tucson high-spec Elite. Toyota’s RAV4 is a bit bigger than all of these, and $35,490 would get you into a mid-range GXL. These aren’t entry grade SUVs, the Active is – so your money will go a bit further feature-wise if you opt for a Korean or Japanese brand.
What about the missing safety stuff? Right, that’s a conversation for the safety section further below.
I’d bet my last escargot that the 3008’s stylish looks are its biggest selling point, and are the main reason why buyers are drawn to it. Why else wouldn’t you purchase any another SUV with maybe more features for the same money?
Well, for many of us cars are more than just appliances like fridges or washing machines that are designed just to get the job done and blend into the décor. If the 3008 was a fridge, it would be a talking point of your kitchen.
The 3008 Active is not a fridge, of course, but it is unusual and interesting, from that beautiful grille with its rows of tiny mirror-like plates and its jagged headlight design to the tail-light styling.
The cabin is even more stylish, even bordering on bizarre in places, like the gear shifter which looks as though it’s been lifted from a sci-fi movie set. Then there’s the panel of chrome switches above it, the small hexagonal steering wheel, the textured and carved-out door trim, and even the interior door handles themselves.
This is a futuristic-feeling cabin with a minimalist but emotionally moving design. But its practicality and how it impacts the driving experience may not impress you as much – but you can read about that below. For now, it’s just the aesthetics.
The Active comes with aluminium roof rails, a body-coloured rear spoiler with stainless steel trim, and a black and chrome front bumper, while those 17-inch alloy wheels are the smallest in the line-up. The higher grades come with twin exhaust, stainless steel scuff plates and a gloss-black roof.
Inside, the Active has wool-like fabric seats with matching door trim, along with satin chrome and faux carbon-fibre elements that look great, even if they’re fake.
And then there are the dimensions. At 4.4m long, 1.6m tall and 2.1m across (including the wing mirrors), the 3008 is smaller than most mid-sized SUVs.
The Peugeot 3008 is smaller than most medium-sized SUVs, but it’s too big to be classed as a small SUV. Being in between sizes has its advantages in that it’s easy to park and pilot in tight city streets, but room inside is also surprisingly good
Room up front is plentiful, although the space in the back is getting tight. I’m 191cm tall and when I sat behind my driving position my knees were touching the seat back.
Cargo space in the boot, according to Peugeot, is 590 litres. The 3008’s boot opening is wide with a low load lip, too. The second-row seats cleverly fold to be flat and that gives you a cargo capacity of 1670 litres (measure to the roof).
I mentioned earlier that, from a styling point of view, the cabin is stunning, but I encountered some practicality and driving hurdles due to the design. Some examples? Well, the metal switches to access the screen for climate control, navigation and the radio add an extra step to just changing the temperature or changing the music.
That doesn’t sound like much, but trying to operate means the driver needs to take their eyes off the road to tap the correct metal tooth to then be given access to the air-con controls. It’s bordering on a safety issue.
The gear shifter. The steering wheel. Both look like they’ve been lifted straight out of a Bladerunner car and I really do like the retro-futuristic look, but they damaged the driving experience for me.
The angular shape of the steering wheel meant it didn’t smoothly flow through my hands during three-point turns, shopping-centre parking and any other steering involving a greater than 90-degree angle. Adding to this is electric steering which felt too quick and unnatural.
I’m also still not convinced the high-placed instrument panel is a good move for Peugeot, even though they’re obviously committed to it. Sure, the full digital panel looks beautiful, but in my driving position the steering wheel still obscured sections of it. A lower (or centrally) placed instrument cluster and a projected head-up display would solve this issue.
I think the shifter is also another case of unnecessary re-invention. From a seated position, it seemed to require more effort than a T- or vertical-style shifter.
So, apart from a steering wheel that feels like you’re holding a shoe box and a shifter that’s not unlike gripping a small dog’s snout, what was it like to drive? The ride was comfortable, despite its rear suspension being a torsion bar set-up, while handling is more than acceptable for a mid-sized SUV.
The Active’s petrol engine (read more about it below) is responsive and provides just enough grunt to get by adequately, while the six-speed automatic transmission is smooth and reasonably quick to change gears.
The pedal feel under foot was great, those seats are as comfy as they look (which is very) and despite the steering wheel/instrument placement, the driving position is great.
So a mixed-bag here, really. A pretty good car to drive but let down, I feel, by interior ergonomics.
The Peugeot 3008 Active has a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder, and with 121kW of power and 240Nm of torque, it has adequate grunt for city driving and highways. The six-speed auto is smooth and fairly quick.
All 3008s are front-wheel drive, and if you’re after a diesel then you should know you can have it only in the top of the range GT.
Peugeot says the four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine should consume 7.0L/100km on a combination of urban and open roads. My testing was mainly confined to city and urban usage and the trip computer was reporting an average consumption of 9.2L/100km. That’s less than the 9.8L/100km Peugeot claims for purely city driving.
In 2016 the 3008 was given the maximum five-star ANCAP rating, and then in 2018 Peugeot made AEB standard across the range.
Apart from lane departure warning, the Active still doesn’t have as much advanced safety tech as the other grades and misses out on blind-spot warning and lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control and smart headlights. What’s more annoying is you can’t even option these on the Active, and you’ll have to step up to the Allure grade to do so.
Up front, the driver and co-pilot are covered by font and side airbags, while rear passengers have curtain airbags.
For child seats, there are two ISOFIX points and three top tether mounts across the rear row. Under the boot floor is a space saver spare wheel.
At the time we published this review Peugeot was offering a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. This offers also comes with a five-year roadside assistance package, too.
Servicing is recommended annually or every 20,000km, and is capped at $471 for the first service, $786 for the second, then $471 for the third, $799 for the fourth and $484 for the fifth.
The Peugeot 3008 doesn’t look like every other mid-sized SUV from the outside, and its cabin is stunningly futuristic, but the driving and practical side of the equation is compromised by the quirky steering wheel and controls. The SUV isn’t as dynamic on the road as its looks might suggest, either.
That said, if you can overcome the unorthodox steering wheel and shifter, and the adequate on-road performance, you’ll have yourself a cool and unique SUV.
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