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

Long-term test (Update 2): Peugeot 3008 1,6 THP Active AT
The 3008 has quietly (in more ways than one) but confidently continued its quest to charm the CAR team. This month, features writer Wilhelm and photographer Peet (who snapped the lovely pic above) visited the Free State on assignment for a string of exciting upcoming magazine features and they raved about the Peugeot’s absorbent ride, classy interior and punchy 1,6-litre powertrain following the journey of 2 800 km.

Wilhelm also liked the general refinement at speed but commented on the quivering bonnet, especially in the backdraft of a passing truck. It’s something I’ve noticed too; I’ve checked and re- checked the hinges and lock, but they’re all sound. Must be down to a design quirk.

Later in the month, technical editor Nicol spent a week with the 3008 and I was eager to hear the comments from someone who drives a rival vehicle. Compared with his Kuga long-termer, Nicol appreciated the lower fuel consumption (although that’s taken a beating this month; I can only conclude our heavy-footed tech editor appreciated the 121 kW engine a touch more than he’d care to admit) and softer ride, although he mentioned the torsion-beamed 3008’s high-speed composure can be upset by abrupt surface scars.

On the topic of consumption, I find it curious this 3008 doesn’t have a fuel-saving stop/start function like the 308 we’ve recently tested, but I’m thankful, too, as it’s a feature that’s often more annoying than helpful.

Attentive readers might remember I mentioned in a previous update the 3008’s steering-wheel boss creaks and that Peugeot Cape Town promised to order a replacement for the cracked part causing the squeak and give me a ring when it arrives. That happened four months ago and I’ve yet to be contacted.

The 15 000 km service is fast approaching and I’ll wait until then to have the steering wheel seen to. That should be the sole additional task on the job sheet, too, because this Peugeot feels rock solid and barely shows any use.

After 7 months
Current mileage: 12 801 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,79 L/100 km
We like:great comfort on long-distance trips; punchy engine
We don’t like: consumption higher than expected

Long-term test (Update 3): Peugeot 3008 1,6 THP Active AT
By now, you may have read my review of Lexus’ UX crossover. As taken as I was with the Japanese tyke, some of its shortcomings serve to place the 3008’s qualities under the spotlight. The main one is space. Despite being shorter than the tight-fitting UX, the 3008 easily swallows four adults and a fifth isn’t much of a squeeze, while the boot measures a generous 312 litres.

The Peugeot’s turbopetrol is a bright spot, too. Offering 240 N.m from just 1 400 r/min, it makes progress effort- and noise-free. In fact, at R414 900, I can think of few cars with such a variety of positives. Pity local buyers don’t seem to agree.

After 8 months
Current mileage:
14 233 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,75 L/100 km

Long-term test (Update 4): Peugeot 3008 1,6 THP Active AT
Despite having been a motoring journalist for more than 10 years, I’m often surprised by how little I know about certain automotive subjects. Take service intervals, for example. Unsure about the mileage at which a 3008 1,6 THP needs a tune-up, I phoned the Cape Town dealership. It said 15 000 km, so I made a booking. On the day, I checked in the vehicle and received a call eight hours later that it’s ready for collection, only to find out when I arrived the interval is 20 000 km and the 3008 stood on the workshop floor neglected. As elsewhere in life, homework is often the best ammunition against potentially disappointing customer service. Lesson learnt.

After 9 months
Current mileage:
15 701 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,81 L/100 km

Long-term test (Update 5): Peugeot 3008 1,6 THP Active AT
I’m a firm believer in a daily driver fulfilling multiple roles. Towing a trailer with a Panamera? Why not. Using an MX-5 to buy plants at a nursery? Sure. Utilising a 3008 to move house? Entirely doable. The midsize Peugeot that’s smaller in stature to what you may think recently helped me cart a jumble of personal effects to my new place. A number of pictures, a pair of kitchen stools, a safe and boxes of wine neatly fitted into the cargo bay.
The next day, it swallowed nine overstuffed black bags of clothes and bedding on their way to a charity shop. It’s a marvel of packaging, measuring less than 4,5 metres long yet offering a family-sized boot and oodles of rear legroom. It’s also more refined than a number of other midsize SUVs which have recently visited the CAR garage. At 120 km/h, chats with backseat occupants require no more than a gently raised voice instead of the slightly delirious-sounding volume other crossovers demand.
Noticed an odd quirk this month: the wipers have an auto setting but no adjustment for the sensitivity. Someone at Peugeot clearly believed putting the system on hyper alert is the answer. A drizzle sets the wipers off on a constant wipe and the vigour with which they attempt to clean the screen only ramps up from there. They also don’t run out of steam when the vehicle comes to a halt at a traffic light, right at the point where other cars desensitise their systems.
Unlike those wipers, the 1,6 THP’s consumption has settled nicely, maintaining an average just south of 9,0 L/100 km despite being confined to urban driving this month.
As I type this, I’m planning a 1 000 km festive season trip including lots of steady freeway driving that should see the 3008’s average dip to nearer 8,0, a good deal more impressive than the Kuga on our fleet.

After 10 months
Current mileage:
16 333 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,77 L/100 km
We like:overall refinement; spaciousness
We don’t like:overactive auto wipers

Long-term test (Update 5): Peugeot 3008 1,6 THP Active AT
I’m still on a noble quest to establish why the lovely 3008 doesn’t sell in higher numbers. It isn’t incompetency – I believe the midsize Peugeot is one of the best vehicles in its class – and it certainly isn’t price.

At R424 900, this 1,6 THP Active neatly splits the Honda HR-V 1,8’s R419 900 and the R429 900 Hyundai charges for a Tucson 2,0 Premium AT, while handsomely undercutting the VW Tiguan 1,4 TSI Comfortline DSG at R489 900.

Resale values are holding steady, too, so a poor return on investment can’t be to blame. Is Peugeot’s dealer footprint too small? What do you think? Tweet me your thoughts at Terence_CARmag.

After 11 months
Current mileage:
16 991 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,79 L/100 km