There have been times when a car maker undertakes a wholesale change to a vehicle and receives deafening silence. This is certainly not the case with Peugeot’s revamped 3008 range. How’s winning the European Car of the Year Award for 2017 sound? To find out if it is worth the fuss, A Wheel Thing goes one on one with the range topping Peugeot 3008 GT diesel.Clad in a pearl paint called Ultimate Red (a $1050 option), the 3008 GT comes with a 2.0L diesel and EAT6 (Efficient Automatic Transmission six speed) gearbox. The test vehicle starts at $49490 and was fitted with a strongly patterned leather seat trim ($2700), Electronic Tailgate (with foot operation) plus Panoramic Sunroof ($2500) for a RRP of $55740.
Sizewise it fits nicely into the mid sized SUV family. It’s a compact 4447 mm long, rides on a 2675 mm wheelbase, and has an overall width of just under 1900 mm. What this buys you is over 1450 mm of hip and shoulder room for the front seat passengers, and just a few mm less for the rear seats. There’s also plenty of leg room as well; what this all means for a buyer is an astonishing amount of comfort and freedom whilst being cosseted by the superbly padded and supportive seats. The pattern is, as one wag mentioned, the same as what you’d find being worn by a Game of Thrones character…not that that’s a bad thing.The front seats are heated and warm up quickly, but not quickly enough on a cold Sydney day. However, like so many leather seats, they’re not ventilated for cooling, and get somewhat sticky and uncomfortable on a warm day. That’s about the only negative on the seats as they look absolutely sensational with the thick quilted weave pattern and stitching. The front seats are, as you’d expect for a top of the tree model, electrically operated and have thigh extensions, and the second row seats are 60/40 split fold for the 591L/1670L rear cargo section.The office space is a wonderful place to be when it comes to driving the 3008 GT. The diesel pumps out a handy peak of 133 kilowatts at 3750 and an immensely useable 400 Nm of peak torque at 2000 rpm. Peugeot quotes a 0-100 kph time of 8.9 seconds, but the pucker-metre says quicker. Economy is quoted as 7.0L/100 km combined, with AWT seeing closer to 8.0L/100 km in an urban oriented drive. The dry weight of the 3008 GT helps, being 1371 kilos. Compare that to a couple of direct competitors such as the CX-5 2.5L at 1565 kg or Hyundai’s Tucson 1.6L turbo, with 1683 kilos…There’s enough on tap to have, in spite of the electronic nanny systems cars have nowadays, a chirp from the front driven Continental ContiSportContact 235/50/19 rubber. Rolling acceleration is truly an experience and that 400 Nm really shows its mettle plus you’ll find yourself quickly on the high side of the legal limit if you’re not watching the numbers. The transmission, once it hooks up, is superb. It’ll grab the torque and power and shove that through the ratios to the driven wheels without a hiccup.
Note the caveat there: “once it hooks up”. The EAT6 gearbox exhibits the worst characteristics of a DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) when cold and at idling speeds. There’s gaps between selecting Drive and Reverse when barely rolling, and a gap in actually engaging Drive from Reverse whilst in Reverse. It’s possibly the only part of the 3008, however, that doesn’t work that well. The gear selection lever itself is fighter jet inspired as there’s an electronic tab on the top to select Park and a separate tab for Reverse/Neutral/Drive via the right hand side of the lever.
Also noteworthy is that there was no AWD option available for the GT. The reason for this is surprisingly simple: market research indicated that the higher echelon models such as the GT would rarely, if ever, see anything other than tarmac, in opposition to the entry level models, which research indicated would be more likely for some soft-roading.It’s appropriate that Peugeot have used a jet style like gear selector, as the cabin itself for the front seat duo is deliberate in having a cockpit like feel (and it’s literally called the i-Cockpit) for the driver and a clear delineation between that and the passenger seat. The centre console rises nicely on the passenger side and sweeps upwards and around to the right towards the steering column. Along the way it houses a number of switches in two horizontal rows, marking one line out for the heated seats and front & rear window defrosting and the other specifically for the audio, navigation, Blutooth, apps and such.
The trim itself is a beautiful mix of alloy look plastic, subtly textured matt black plastic, and alcantara splitting the dash horizontally. The upper section has a leather like material and houses both the touchscreen and the driver’s display, a wonderfully engineered full colour LCD screen. There’s a roller dial on the steering wheel, (itself a work of art) which is set BELOW the screen and works well ergonomically by the way, that allows you to choose different preprogrammed looks to the screen. It’s elegant, classy, and simply gorgeous to look at. As is, by the way, the LED mood lighting and the wing mirror puddle lamp.There is a slight downside to all of this and unfortunately it’s front and centre visually. Where the touchscreen sits in the dash it looks rather like a super sharp knife has been used to cut out a slot and the screen’s been dropped in. No it doesn’t look all that good and detracts somewhat from the otherwise gentleman’s club atmosphere the cabin has. The touchscreen has a hidden attraction though. Poke it (gently) with three fingers and the embedded programming reads that as a “page back”. Another delight was the inclusion of digital radio, and it is a punchy, clear, well setup sound system.However, there’s plenty of other tech to play with such as the wireless charging plate in its own little nook directly underneath the tabs. You’ll also have lane departure warning, a 360 degree camera setup on board as well, providing an extra peace of mind and safety element, plus Active Safety Brake and Distance Alert System when using cruise control (and it flashes up on the driver’s screen when nosing up towards traffic ahead of you). The foot operrated tailgate is simple in concept. The idea is to wave your foot (either one, it’s not fussy) underneath the rear bumper where a sensor reads the movement and pops the door upwards. In practice it was finicky and not always successful.Transmission hiccups aside, the 3008 GT is, perhaps, the best riding mid sized SUV you can get. Imagine, if you will, those nineteen inch wheels and 50 series rubber being able to follow every bump and lump, every ripple and corrugation, every undulation, and transmit those through to you in the cabin BUT not make that ride unduly harsh or painful but rather a fluid, almost liquid, experience. The light weight helps in the agility stakes too, meaning there’s less mass to move in directional changes (and haul up under brakes). There’s little to no road noise transmitted to the passengers, but the feeling of control, of comfort, of being swept along on a magic carpet. The steering ratio is spot on, meaning there’s no wasted movement in the way the wheel turns and relates to the front wheels. It’s beautifully weighted and is neither over or under assisted.
Outside the 3008 has been given a complete makeover from the 3007. It’s still rounded and ovoid but now with a more angular, edgy appearance, especially at the front and in profile around the C pillar. There’s even subtle differences between the GT and the others in the range. Here you get a more prominent “claw” motif in the tail lights, which themselves stand proud of the sheetmetal. The rear quarter is now a slightly busy looking mix of lines and angles, with the D pillar or tail gate blacked out between the chrome hip line and alloy look roof like (part of the paint option pack).There’s a solid line of black polyurethane from the rear to front, wrapping the wheel arches but doesn’t cover the seam line of the body underneath the doors. The front is assertive, bluff and upright, with the “chin” an alloy look and the lower right extremity open to cool the radiators fitted behind. Even the LED headlights are angular with a strongly defined “shark fin” design element to broaden the visual appeal.Warranty wise Peugeot offers three years or 100000 kilometres which does lag behind competitors now offering five or even seven years. However the included roadside assist is ahead of the game by offering that as three years, not one. There’s even a specialised capped price servicing program in place here:Peugeot Capped Price Service Program
At The End Of The Drive.
There are those, unfortunately, that will swear on the grave of their grandmother’s budgie’s second cousin that SUVs still have no right to be on our roads and we should go back to station wagons if we want to move people around. The 3008 GT and its brethren stand up for those that say the SUV has a worthy place in the automotive market. Winning a COTY award and being the first ever SUV to do speaks volumes for what really is a sensational car. It’s a cracker drive, a great handler, and a bucketload of fun. Check it out for yourself here: 2018 Peugeot 3008
A Wheel Thing TV: A Wheel Thing TV reviews the Peugeot 3008 GT