Make no mistake, the updated 2021 Peugeot 3008 mid-sized SUV looks as good in the metal as it does on a screen, especially in the three-layered Celebes Blue paint job of the GT Sport launch vehicle.
It’s no surprise most of the comments about the car were overwhelmingly complimentary of its design and avant-garde styling tweaks, all of which go a long way in making the 3008 one of the most visually desirable choices in the mostly hotly contested segment in Australia.
Of all the reader comments, it’s perhaps: “such a criminally underrated car, would easily be my pick if I needed a small SUV”, that best illustrates why Peugeot and its Australian distributor, Inchcape, will need to work hard to get this vehicle on the radar of local buyers.
Notwithstanding its second-generation status, the 3008 is already a critical model for Peugeot Australia, accounting for a whopping 41 per cent of its total volume as recently as 2020.
Even before this nip and tuck, the 3008 was a smart looking thing that turned more than a few heads on the road. If you weren’t wowed by the design, the typically chic interior looked and felt a cut above the rest.
There’s a new four-variant model line-up, which sees the Allure replacing the old Active as the new entry variant, and a new range-topping GT Sport with a more powerful engine sitting above the GT Petrol and GT Diesel versions.
While Peugeot has used this refresh to add an extra layer to its 3008 line-up, it has also bumped up the entry price by $1000 to $44,990 before on-road costs for the Allure.
The GT Petrol wears a $47,990 sticker, while the GT Diesel attracts a $3000 premium, taking it to $50,990.
The top-spec GT Sport commands the largest premium with a $54,990 ticket, but packs high-end features such as the leather option pack, which adds nappa leather, heated front seats, an electric driver’s seat with multi-point massage, and a top-notch audio system. All prices exclude on-road costs.
There’s also an optional sunroof on all variants bar the base Allure for $1990, while the leather option pack on both the GT Petrol and GT Diesel costs $3590.
Metallic paint is a $690 option across the 3008 range, while special metallic/pearl paint is a $1050 option. Vertigo Blue, Pearl White and Ultimate Red are premium three-layer paints that get a tinted top coat.
While Peugeot is asking comparatively premium prices for its latest 3008, its equipment list is also relatively generous in a bid to tempt buyers away from the more traditional brands – even with the entry-level offering.
Standard inventory on the 3008 Allure includes auto-dipping door mirrors, a hands-free tailgate, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, satellite navigation, ambient lighting,18-inch alloy wheels, and LED headlights and daytime running lights.
There’s also LED puddle lights, auto lights and wipers, sequential indicators and leather effect/Colyn fabric trim with mint contrast stitching.
Stepping up to the either of the GT variants adds a sports front bumper, stainless steel scuff plates, twin fake exhaust, a Diamond Black roof and black mirror caps, 18-inch two-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, chrome-trimmed pedals, black roof lining, full-grain leather steering wheel, and leather-effect/Alcantara trim with copper top-stitch.
The GT Sport gains lime wood accents for the door cards and dash facings, Black Pack, black and dark chrome exterior trimmings, nappa leather upholstery with grey top-stitch, a 515-watt 10-speaker premium sound system, acoustic front windows, and 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.
The Peugeot 3008 also gains two new colours – Celebes Blue and Vertigo Blue, joining the existing palette of Artense Grey, Platinum Grey, Perla Nera Black, Pearl White, and Ultimate Red.
Tested in 2017, the 3008 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating with 86 per cent for adult occupant protection, 85 per cent for child occupant protection, 67 per cent for pedestrian protection and 58 per cent for safety assist.
However, the latest-generation of its autonomous emergency braking can detect pedestrians and cyclists in low-light conditions and operates between 5km/h and 140km/h.
There’s also six airbags (front, side and curtain), adaptive cruise control, 360-degree cameras, park assist for parallel and perpendicular parking, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition, and active blind-spot monitoring standard across the range.
Choosing the GT Diesel or GT Sport adds stop/go with automatic restart to the adaptive cruise control, lane positioning assist and headlights with fog mode.
Oddly enough, the base Allure is the only 3008 variant to be equipped with ‘Advanced Grip Control’ offering four different grip modes –Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand – due to the type of wheel and tyre used on this particular version.
While I can’t tell you what the Allure version is like – we only sampled the GT Sport and GT Petrol with optional leather package at launch – it’s the interior that will likely win the most buyers.
First impressions are enough to take your breath away, with a futuristic slant on cockpit design that looks more like that in a private jet than a mid-size SUV. It’s nothing less than spectacular.
The steering wheel thing could go either way for you. While, it’s the closest thing to a full-blown racing tiller as a pint-size, flat top-and-bottomed leather-wrapped unit, it also positioned (by design) much lower than the average wheel, practically in your lap.
It can partially impair the driver’s view of the digital instrument cluster if you don’t take the time to carefully adjust seat and wheel, but I like the sporty feel and vibe it provides.
Overall, it’s a first-class look and feel with plenty of soft touch points and the right blend of metal and wood accents to lift this space to near-top of its class from a visual perspective.
The 12.3-inch driver’s display has an interesting 3D effect with improved contrast and is configurable in its layout, but I can’t say it’s intuitive. We’ll need more time with the 3008 to properly explore its functionality.
And while the new 10.0-inch infotainment display is nicely presented and well positioned, the actual map is somewhat small, unless I missed an expander function. Although there are a few shortcut toggle switches (metal too), it’s not always easy returning to the previous screen function.
The full-grain nappa leather looks, feels and smells divine, and is wonderfully comfortable and forgiving after a few hours behind the wheel with the cat-paw massage function doing its thing.
There’s plenty of room up front and out back – that’s leg- and headroom – while boot space is on the cavernous side with 591 litres behind the rear seats, expanding to 1670 litres with the second row folded, which is more than most of its rivals. Better still, for those who want to carry longer objects like ladders and surfboards, the front passenger seat also folds dead flat.
Storage spaces throughout the cabin are plentiful with bottle holders in all door pockets and one of the largest centre console bins in the class – it looks oddly similar to those found in larger Mercedes-Benz models.
Rear-seat passengers get a central armrest with cupholders, good ventilation, and two USB ports, but that’s pretty much standard fare in this segment.
Both the Allure and GT Petrol are powered by a 1.6-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder engine making 121kW of power at 6000rpm and 240Nm of torque at 1400rpm, driving the front wheels via a six-speed auto.
The top-spec GT Sport gets the same 1.6-litre displacement tuned to deliver 133kW at 5500rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1650rpm to the front axle through an eight-speed auto ‘box.
Meanwhile, GT Diesel has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel developing 131kW of power from 3750rpm and 400Nm at 2000rpm to the front wheels via the same eight-speed auto.
While conditions for our launch drive from Sydney to Bowral were largely atrocious under torrential rain the entire day, that didn’t seem to hold back the 3008’s progress over a route that included plenty of high-speed cruising and uncrowded country B-roads.
The 1.6-litre turbo-petrol motor (even in its highest state of tune) is never going to set the world on fire – in fact, it’s pretty much the least powerful of all its competitors – but it’s satisfyingly punchy from low-down and relatively quiet inside the cabin.
Oh, and that included a decent spell using the manual paddle-shifters, as the eight-speed auto is always in a rush to get to the top cog. On the plus side, it’s a smooth-shifting gearbox that pairs well with this engine.
It’s also relatively frugal, showing an average consumption of 7.3L/100km after a 120km stint in varying conditions.
The French – particularly Peugeot – have always known how to balance suspension compliance and roadholding, and nothing has changed in that regard.
The 3008 delivers a relaxed and comfortable ride over all manner of horrible surfaces. That’s more potholes on rough B-roads than I’ve ever experienced and yet ride comfort was generally superb.
Despite the 3008’s front-wheel drive exclusivity, traction and wet-weather grip was excellent, even over sections of standing water.
That diminutive steering wheel comes in handy when you want to enjoy threading a few undulating corners together, pairing up nicely with the Peugeot’s agility and taught body control, thanks to its relatively light 1371kg heft.
Peugeot offers a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with five years of roadside assist and capped price servicing.
Service intervals on the 3008 are 20,000km/12 months with a total price of $2768 for the Allure and GT Petrol, $2841 for the GT Diesel, and $2639 for the range-topping GT Sport over a five-year service period.
Thanks to the 3008’s small-displacement turbo powertrains, fuel consumption claims are thrifty across the entire range with 5.0L/100km for the GT Diesel, 5.6L/100km for the GT Sport, 7.0L/100km for the GT Petrol and 7.3L/100km for the Allure.
French cars have never sold in big numbers here. They attract a different type of buyer looking for something more interesting than the run-of-the-mill makes and models.
Interesting is what Peugeot does better than most – the 3008 is testament to this – offering a cutting-edge design that’s better than before, an interior that looks and feels like a first-class seat on a 787 Dreamliner (remember those?), loads of space, and sporty driving dynamics.
If you’re looking at a mid-size SUV and want to treat yourself, best you add the 3008 to your shortlist.
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