Brent Co / Brent Co | February 06, 2013 13:59
The French (re)connection
The return of Peugeot in the Philippines meant more than just bringing in new models to a steadily growing market. The prior effort of Peugeot was to bring in the small cars of the brand, something that made their cars' prices more challenging to justify given their size.
Eurobrands Distributor Inc wanted a rethink and a new approach, bringing in the larger models of the Peugeot line, and one of them is this: the 3008 compact crossover.
Based on the PF2 Platform, the 3008 shares its underpinnings with the 308 and RCZ, and debuted in 2009 at Dubrovnik, Croatia. The 3008 may be considered a late arrival, but nonetheless a fresh addition to the highly diverse local automotive market.
In terms of exterior design -a department where the French are very well known for- the 3008 may come as a bit controversial especially with the awkwardly oversized front grill. While having SUV-like features (like front and rear cosmetic skidplates) the 3008 is more inclined towards being a city slicker MPV than a rugged outdoorsman. However, I think those minor details do give it a nice character and color contrast compared to a rather homogenous market.
Inside, you can see a lot of French flair with the liberal use of glossy accents and bits of chrome to lift up the basic grey mix. The controls and buttons are ergonomically placed for easy access, though I did find the audio system control stalk quite difficult to use and the front passenger handlebar quite distracting... as if trying to mimic a pulled handbrake lever. It comes with a panoramic moonroof which makes cruising around more interesting especially at night. The interior looks and feels spacious, while the high center console combined with the heads-up-display speedometer gives you the impression of an aeroplane cockpit if you feel the sudden need for speed while keeping your eyes on the road. The driving position was very well thought of, while the seats were comfortably snug and quite supportive while cornering.
For storage, the glove compartment does stay true to its name, as it will only fit a glove, your owners’ manual, registration and just a bit more. The high center-console, however, has its benefits with a relatively deep compartment where you can put quite a number of things. Just underneath the steering column is another compartment where you can put in more loose items in case you want your car looking ‘clean’ inside. The rear seatbacks can be folded flat by pulling the levers for extra cargo space, while the rear ‘false’ cargo floor can be adjusted to three settings. The 3008 also has an interesting split tailgate that can give you a bit of a boost when loading heavier cargo alone. It’s a feature that’s not commonly found in hatchbacks. There’s also a rechargeable flashlight or torch (as Europeans refer to it) integrated to the rear panel; a handy touch in times of need.
Under the hood is a 1.6-liter turbocharged commonrail diesel engine. The engine is mated with a start-stop system which Peugeot calls e-HDi micro-hybrid to reduce fuel consumption by up to 15% and leave a smaller carbon footprint as well. To further enhance it’s ‘greenness’, the car is also equipped with Peugeot’s innovative FAP diesel particulate filter which claims to completely eliminate harmful particles left over by unclean diesel fuels resulting in cleaner emissions. Performance-wise, the engine has a good amount of power and low to mid-end torque to zip you through the city streets and is also well capable of going on the highway as well, it tops out at about 180km/h.
The engine is mated to a six-speed clutchless manual gearbox. While that sounds like a mouthful already, it does take a bit of getting used to at first, but it will definitely grow on you. The gear ratios are well matched to the engine giving an optimum balance between efficiency and performance. You can shift through the paddles or the gear lever, however I found the lever easier to use while driving through winding roads. There’s a small ‘S’ button which activates the sport mode to liven up the car if you desire more exciting driving. It’s quite a frugal car as I was able to log 11 km/l in mixed driving conditions even with a very spirited pace. Peugeot claims it can do 22 km/l with a more conservative pace.
What is unexpected from the 3008 is the impeccable handling capability that it was engineered to deliver, despite the tall height. It handles corners at speed quite well, and is very much comparable to smaller Peugeot passenger cars. On hard cornering at speed, it took turns with minimal body roll while the tires put on a fair amount of grip, despite being premium comfort performance tires. Ride comfort was quite admirable as the suspension dampened road imperfections and potholes quite well.
Overall, the Peugeot 3008 is a good urban crossover which does what you need it to. It strikes a good balance between performance and efficiency, while its utility side is a big plus for those who occasionally have light cargo or sports gear to carry around. There's nothing bad to say about the new 3008, save for the rather controversial front face.