REVIEW | The 2021 Peugeot 3008 is one classy cat
It is arguable that in the entire timeline of Peugeot and its South African presence, never has it been as primed for success as it is right now.
We have written about this before, closely covering the activities of parent firm Stellantis, including promising moves around strategies for its many brands locally.
At the beginning of 2021, the 2008 was launched to a rather warm reception for its striking appearance, long list of equipment, competitive pricing and surprisingly fun-to-drive nature.
The 3008 is the second car to be launched by the brand this year, with a third, the 208, released earlier this month. You will find the new version of the B-segment car on dealership floors.
We spent a week in the company of the larger 3008, a model with its fair share of competition. Alternatives such as, in no particular order: Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Qashqai, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Kuga and its own relative, the Citroën C5 Aircross.
The previous 3008 was a praiseworthy car, with an exquisite interior that included a fascia upholstered in denim-like material. This new one is basically an extensive revision of that model, boasting styling and specification upgrades.
The first thing you will notice is the aggressive face. The cat claw theme is their thing, evident in the LED strip arrangement on its mug. A frameless grille looks especially interesting and should be fun to clean. At the rear, the claw element features again in the design of the lights.
No doubt, the overall flavour of the 3008 brings charisma and verve to the category. But as before, the party piece is that cabin, leaving the impression of a product with premium aspirations. For those of an exuberant nature, sumptuous red leather upholstery is available as a no-cost option on the range-topping GT we drove.
The more conventional black can be had, too. The front seats are heated, with a sculpted frame and bolsters that do a good job of holding front occupants in place. The driver is treated to massage functionality and electric adjustment. Pity about the tacky-looking imitation wood trim though.
While the tiny steering wheel typical of most contemporary Peugeot models takes some getting used to, it adds an illusion of sportiness to things. Of course, the 3008 is not an extremely dynamic creature, but it is steady on its feet and with a ride quality that is, while firm, not uncomfortable.
At R644,900, the price induces a knee-jerk response – easy to dismiss the 3008 GT as too expensive. But this is the going rate for top-specification models in the category. As a random example, the most expensive Mazda CX-5 (2.2 DE Akera AWD) will set you back R676,100. A lack of variety in the powertrain department does a disservice to the Peugeot.
Whereas many others offer diesel engine options and all-wheel drive, the 3008 serves up one option: the familiar, 1.6-litre, turbocharged-petrol with four-cylinders, paired with a six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive.
Which is fine for daily urban and freeway applications, with enough punch (121kW and 240Nm) delivered in relative smoothness through the self-shifting transmission. But if you had gravel and towing in mind – or even plans to pack the car to capacity with people and luggage for a long distance jaunt – the pairings offered by some of its other peers might be more compelling.
On the upside, the 3008 GT leaves little to be desired in the way of goodies. It is quite a list: full LED headlamps with bend lighting, head-up display, digital instrument cluster, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, road sign detection, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, 360-degree camera, wireless smartphone charging and navigation are some of the highlights. The only option is a panoramic sunroof. Included in the price is a five-year/100,000km service plan and warranty of the same duration.
The Peugeot 3008 is a characterful alternative to the staples of the crowded medium-sized, sport-utility vehicle segment, unless all-wheel drive and the torque of a diesel are priorities.