Long-term test (Introduction): Peugeot 3008 1,6 THP Active AT
I am sitting in the driver’s seat on the first day of 365 with Peugeot’s 3008, idly playing with the touchscreen infotainment system’s functions on gridlocked roads (when isn’t there traffic in Cape Town, I hear you lament), and I can’t help but wonder why I don’t see more 3008s plying the roads of the Mother City. This type of vehicle – midsize SUV/crossover – is the perfect fodder for Cape Town’s trendy flitting between home, offie, gym and beach. And the 3008 is easily one of the most stylish of the breed. Just look at it. Despite this being the base Active spec, shorn of brightwork on various trim bits and the large, dual-tone alloys that form part of the flagship GT-Line spec, the 3008 looks balanced; aggressive snout countered by a chunky rear and abounding in cool details (those rear lamps – meant to emulate the slashes made by a lion with anger issues – are easily my favourite).
The inside is even better. An evolution of Peugeot’s divisive i-Cockpit design approach, which downsizes the steering wheel and places the digital instrumentation above its rim, it looks unlike anything else in this conservative class, feels a cut above most and, even in entry-level guise, is as well equipped as you could rightly expect.
Niceties such as climate control, auto lights and wipers, a comprehensive infotainment package with USB and Bluetooth, park distance control and lane departure warning are all standard. The only bits I’m missing are adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat – it’s a touch too firm for my liking – and Apple CarPlay that’s standard from the next model up.
Still, at R414 900, this is a lot of midsize SUV for the money. While the Peugeot might look compact when viewed on the road, in reality it measures up well to VW’s Tiguan and the Mazda CX-5. Jump in the back and there’s sufficient room for a brace of six-foot okes baying for their beers at a beach café, while the 312-litre boot is easily capacious enough for a set of weekend luggage (or even a surfboard; cleverly, the front-seat backrest folds _ at). I really like the way it drives, too. Quieter than the 1,4T FSI in my departing Audi Q2, the 1,6-litre turbopetrol matches nicely with the six-speed torque-converter.
Plus, on those plump tyres, the ride is old-school supple. So far, so good. Over the next 12 months, I’ll try to establish why the 3008 sells in such conservative numbers. As always, your opinion is very welcome.
After 1 month
Current mileage: 130 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,91 L/100 km
We like: striking styling; beautifully finished interior
We don’t like: public perception of Peugeot
Long-term test (Update 1): Peugeot 3008 1,6 THP Active AT
Turn the wheel. Creak. Apply opposite lock. Creak. Straighten. Creeeeaaaak. For weeks, every time I drove the 3008, I was convinced I was going mad. Where I heard a noise every time I turned the diminutive steering wheel, CAR staffers denied detecting any sound. Was it all in my head?
Nevertheless, when a trim panel below the strip of controls on the facia came loose – two of the clips holding it in place had snapped before disappearing into the depths of the dashboard – I thought it an opportune time to drop off the 3008 at Peugeot Cape Town to have that piece of plastic set in place and ask the technicians to inspect the steering wheel for strange sounds.
A call later in the afternoon put my mind at ease. The panel once again sat flush with the elegant dashboard and they discovered the cause of the creak: a part inside the steering wheel had a small crack in it and that made it rub against another part when the wheel was turned. The dealership promised to order a replacement unit and give me a ring when it arrives.
Otherwise, the 3008 has been a real pleasure to drive. More members of the CAR team have had a go and they’ve all been impressed with the vehicle’s loping ride quality, refinement and comfort. It would appear they’ve enjoyed the 1,6 THP engine’s 121 kW, too, judging by a fuel consumption figure that’s somewhat higher than I’d like.
The 3008 also experienced its first cross-country trip this month. Thanks to our national carrier cancelling a flight last minute, I hopped in the Peugeot for a swift drive from Cape Town to East London to attend a friend’s wedding. I was on a tight schedule, but the Peugeot turned the drive from chore to charming. My favourite part? All the looks the striking 3008 got in the country towns along the way.
After 4 months
Current mileage: 6 822 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,71 L/100 km
We like: cruising refinement; ride comfort
We don’t like: trim niggles; consumption higher than expected