Cape Town, Western Cape – Roughly 18 months since Peugeot Citroën South Africa (PCSA) returned to being a wholly-owned subsidiary of the PSA Group – which itself has merged with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to form the Stellantis mega group – and the French brand is clearly riding the wave of positive change.
With a new corporate identity for virtual and physical dealerships, a contemporary new logo and renewed financial support from Paris, PCSA MD Leslie Ramsoomar says the return under the wing of the global mothership has brought untold benefits to the South African operation. These benefits are borne out in PCSA’s recent excellent performance, bucking the downward sales trend post-lockdown thanks to the introduction of the new Peugeot 2008 and Opel Corsa which helped secure solid month-on-month sales growth.
PCSA is putting a lot of backing behind the new 3008 GT, too; a vehicle it sees as its latest flagship. The C SUV segment in which it plays is currently one of the most stable in a volatile market, showing a consistent 11% share of SA’s overall car park … meaning that one in every nine cars sold comes from the list of rivals up top.
While the 3008’s drivetrain is unchanged, the same 1,6-litre turbopetrol producing 121 kW and 240 N.m sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic, at least the motor is versatile with peak torque starting at just 1 500 r/min for easy waft-ability and it comes with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to overcome occasional lethargy from the gearbox.
Its hardpoints are unchanged, too, so the 312/1 024 litre stowage space is the same as before, as are the interior ergonomics of the i-Cockpit with its small steering wheel. The cabin architecture as a whole would be familiar to anyone who drove the previous 3008, including the stylish toggle switched, 10-inch infotainment screen and 12,3-inch digital cluster … which is not the 3D item found in the 2008 if you were curious. The fit and finish on our launch unit were exceptional with soft, quilted black Nappa leather seats (optionally available in red).
However, the real standout is the exterior makeover, against which we’d argue Peugeot’s whole raison d’être for the new 3008 was to serve up one of the best-looking crossover SUVs in class. The more assertive front end has gone frameless with design elements of the grille attractively pulled across below the LED headlights.
Peugeot’s “sabretooth” DLRs draw attention to the outer edge of the front bumper and the nameplate appears on the bonnet as it does on the 2008. The 19-inch wheels fill the wheel arches soundly; and around the back, three-claw, 3D-effect taillights with scrolling indicators deliver maximum cool factor.
All in all, the arrival of the new 3008 could not have come at a better time to ensure it continues its upward trajectory. The challenge for PCSA in the coming months will be to make certain the corporate integration that’s set to go ahead with Stellantis does not in any way detract from or diminish their efforts.