Mid-life refresh has resulted in the 3008 looking simply stunning.
At its much publicised re-launch two years ago, Peugeot’s then Managing Director for South Africa, Xavier Gobille, shrewdly told the assembled media that the days of the Lion brand churning out cars more frequently sighted in the workshop than on the road was over for good.
Back then, Peugeot, along with sister brand Citroën, had finally moved under the umbrella of parent company PSA instead of being distributed by a different importer, a move which seemingly had been the right one.
Despite sales being initially slow, Gobille’s promise didn’t go unnoticed as many South Africans seemed willing the give one of the oldest brand’s in a world a second chance at regaining the form it lost after leaving the country in 1985 before a disastrous return and gradual decline in the 90s and through the 2000s.
Three-claw motif LED lights once again a standard feature
Since the tail-end of last year despite the bloodbath of the Coronavirus, the company known as Peugeot-Citroën South Africa (PCSA) had been on a roll helped not only by the products it was introducing, but also the acquiring of PSA stablemate, Opel.
This was followed by the merger with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles to create Stellantis and soon after, the unveiling of the facelift 2008. Fast forward to April, and the step-up from said model, the revised 3008, has docked on local shores after bowing internationally last year.
On sale since 2016, the 3008 is being touted by the brand as its most important model aimed at the burgeoning C-SUV segment occupied by heavy hitters such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson to name but a few.
With aesthetics often being a dealmaker or breaker, the restyle has worked in the 3008’s favour as it simply looks stunning, even more so in the Celebs Blue, Ultimate Red and Vertigo Blue hues that make up the seven colour options.
GT rides as standard on 19-inch alloy wheels
Though lacking the marque’s restyled retro lion badge that will become available later, the tweaks include more aggressive LED headlights, a frameless grille, redesigned LED daytime running lights, the now signature three-claw LED taillights and in the case of the top-spec GT sampled at the launch in Cape Town, eye-catching 19-inch alloy wheels.
The trump card of the 3008 though is what resides inside. Sporting Peugeot’s latest i-Cockpit, the interior not only looks upmarket and stylish, but feels expensive in spite of the clunky faux aluminium strip on the passenger side.
Interior feels expensive and looks as modern as it is stylish
Trimmed in otherwise soft-touch plastics and now resplendent with a surprisingly good looking dark lime wood veneer, the GT comes as standard with a frameless rear-view mirror and Nappa leather seats trimmed in black or in must-have red.
New on the specification front is the ten-inch touchscreen infotainment with piano key shortcut toggle switches as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a GT exclusive 515-watt Focal sound system.
On the safety side, Adaptive Cruise Control has been added along with Lane Keep Assist, revised Traffic Sign Recognition and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection.
Focal sound system is exclusive to the GT
Tech carried over is Blind Spot Monitoring, the 180-degree or 360-degree Visiopark camera system, heated front seats with massaging function for the driver, Park Assist, an automatic tailgate, Lane Departure Warning and an optional sunroof on the GT.
Out on the launch route, which included the scenic Oukaapse Weg, Simon’s Town and Kommetjie before returning to the Mother City’s via Chapman’s Peak, the 3008 proved something of a hit-and-miss on a number of fronts.
While comfortable from behind the sporty small steering wheel, the mentioned infotainment system is not the most user friendly from the get-go, though familiarisation will prove otherwise.
Given its name, the ride, while typically French car plush and cosseting, became lumpy and hard on less well paved surfaces, not helped by those 19-inch wheels or indeed selecting Sport mode on the three mode selector; Eco and Normal being the others.
3008 GT badge
The biggest point of tardiness though is the drivetrain. As before, the 3008 range, comprising Active, Allure and GT trim levels, offers a single combination Peugeot says was the result of extensive market research; the 1.6 PureTech turbocharged petrol paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Producing 121kW/240Nm, the unit felt punchy initially, but lost its bite soon after, not helped by the ‘box varying between slick and in some cases, slow to shift down. Opting for the steering wheel mounted paddles did improve matters a bit.
While not the most impressive aspect, the drivetrain, to an extent, does not spoil the overall package the Peugeot 3008 represents. Arguably the segment’s prettiest and best equipped, it offer a lot for comparatively little and presents a worthy alternative to the segment mainstream. However, it remains to be seen whether it has done enough to make the leap from left-field to serious segment player.
All models come standard with a five year/100 000 km service plan and warranty
3008 1.6T Active AT – R514 900
3008 1.6T Allure AT – R574 900
3008 1.6T GT AT – R644 900