The first car I drove this year was the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. At the time I thought it would be a while before it met its match. A little later I drove the Nissan X-trail and realised it had more off the beaten track ability and a better cost to benefit ratio than the Stelvio. The arguably better value also applies to the Mazda CX-5 which I drove in February. All three very different but all very competent and serving a particular niche.
And then came along the Peugeot 3008. Perhaps, a cat among the pigeons. What a revelation.
I understand now why it was car of the year in Europe last year. The 3008 comes with high specification levels and exceptionally good exterior and classy interior design. It not only looks stunning, it is very clever. There are many touches which will charm and impress you and which will make your life a little easier or pleasurable.
Little things like a catch for the boot deck to hold it up while changing the full size spare wheel, or the back of the rear seat cup holder folds down to allow you to carry a long object. There is an easy-to-reach catch release to flip the rear seat backrest down should you wish to load a slightly bigger item.
The boot itself is a generous 591 L which triples when you let the seats down.
The use of cloth inserts in the highly adjustable seats not only looks good but is practical as well, cool in summer and warm in winter. The cloth is repeated in the door panels and below the dash.
I personally like the small squarish steering wheel with which you look over at the instrumentation, which is a highly personalisable display that matches the Audi display which I so admire. It also has an 8” touchscreen infotainment system with a variety of functions.
I found the seating position comfortable and at hip height for easy in- and egress. The view from the driver’s seat is excellent all round.
Although loaded with safety gear and sensors I found the lack of rear camera strange, but the sensors are good and give you 360° vision. It is a pleasure to drive around town.
There is a Sport button which hots things up, but is not needed in normal use. The six-speed auto box, with paddles, mates well with the engine and is a good fit for the chassis and body. It gives an effortless drive when required, but can be very engaging too.
Peugeot claim a combined fuel consumption of 7 L/100km but I got a still credible 8.1 L/100km in mixed, with some spirited driving. The 1.6 turbo-petrol engine delivers good power and torque.
Ground clearance is 219mm so you can go camping and easily traverse farm roads on weekends and mount the odd pavement if needed.
Standard safety features across the 3008 range includes 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, emergency brake assist, road sign detection, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, electronic stability programme (ESP) and ISOFIX child seat mounts.
The price basket for Peugeot spares is very competitive these days and reports suggest availability and support is now up there with the competition.
This new 3008 has a premium feel to it and feels more lively than the specs suggest.
The range carries a three year or 100 000 km warranty and a four year or 60 000 km service plan.
Prices start at R414 900. We drove the Allure model at R459 900. The GT Line+ model is priced at a fairly steep R584 900.
The competition includes the Mazda CX-5, Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga, Honda CR-V and Audi Q3.