In 2012, Peugeot arrived in the Philippines with a lot of promise. They had the backing of one of the most respected groups in the industry, dealerships were being opened up nationwide, and they were aiming for 2500 sales per year for the first 3 years.
But that didn't exactly go to plan. Sales never reached that number; actually, they never exceeded 500 units a year. A nationwide dealership network can't sustain operations with that number, and so many closed down or switched to another brand.
The reason is simple: the prices were just too high vis-a-vis the car you're getting. It simply wasn't cost-effective to import cars from Europe. It's fine if you're BMW or Mercedes or Audi because the vehicles can command a premium here, but in Europe, Peugeots are pitched against Toyotas, Volkswagens, and Subarus.
That all changes this year though. A new company has taken the lead with the Peugeot brand here, and they've got the advantage of a new factory in Malaysia to give them an advantage.
And that brings us to the new 3008 that they just launched a few months ago. The compact crossover isn't all-new. This is still the same generation as the one we drove a couple of years ago, but there are some changes.
The styling still looks so avant-garde, so much so that I wouldn't mind just pulling up a chair next to it in the garage and enjoying a good cup of coffee. I could spend a while trying to count the little bits on that dapper frameless grille, or pour over the rather neat LED strips that look like fangs. I do wish they polished it up a bit more with how the LED meets the headlamps and the bumper (there's a little gap) but it's not a big deal.
The side didn't change much at all. I do like the color they selected on this demo car; I'm not really a big fan of brown, but it does work well with the satin silver bits like the roof rails. The rear does have those nice claw marks, but really not many changes to report. It still looks good, perhaps even better.
Once inside, the Peugeot 3008 clearly hasn't lost much of its charm, or its quirks. The seats are comfortable and the space they carved out is rather cozy. It seems as if the cabin was built around the driver and the front passenger as the spaces seem to wrap around you.
The dashboard looks like it was lifted straight out of a concept car. The screens still give that glass cockpit effect you normally see in modern airliners. And there's still that rather futuristic steering wheel that looks more like a yoke, and the gear selector that seems to resemble a lion's paw. If you're looking for something different, Peugeot has it all for you.
The rear seat is perhaps what will surprise many. On the outside, the 3008 looks small but the rear seat is quite generous for space considering the curbside impression this Peugeot gives. There are charging ports, cupholders, armrests, and A/C vents for your convenience. For a long drive, you won't feel like you're in super economy saver class back here, and while the beltline is a bit high, you can take solace in that big panoramic glass roof to let a bit more light in.
If the rear isn't required, it folds down flat. Actually, if you're loading cargo, you don't have to go around to fold the seats; just pull a few tabs and voila, you've got max space. That rear cargo floor is rated for 100kg, and can be lowered to allow for extra volume. And if your hands are full, the tailgate is powered and comes with a kick sensor that is quite responsive.
Within city limits and on the daily commute, the 3008 is enjoyable. The 165 horsepower 1.6L turbo is eager to move the car along; it's got a twin-scroll turbine under there, so yes the response is good for a turbo. The 6-speed auto (with paddle shifters) is nicely matched with its nature, even though it is only front-wheel drive.
No, this 3008 isn't for off-roading with its transverse FWD layout or the 198mm of ground clearance. But if you somehow find yourself on a slippery dirt road, there's a terrain dial beside the shifter that you can use. What it does is manage the manners of the drivetrain to reduce the chances of sliding or getting stuck. It does work when the terrain gets dusty and you set it to sand mode, but I have doubts that a 3008 driver here would venture anywhere with mud (much less snow) to maximize it. I'm willing to bet this will be on the road setting 99.9% of the time.
Really though, the 3008 is a rather refreshing crossover to drive in a city full of CR-Vs, Territory, and Foresters. It just feels and looks like no other crossover in the market, inside and out. It's definitely fun around the bends, good under braking, and quick on the straights; the trade-off is the softness of the ride, but it's not too bumpy. The 3008 is efficient too: 9.1 km/l in the city is easily doable at a fairly moderate 20 km/h average speed. On the highway, expect north of 16 kilometers per liter.
There are two notable things about the new 3008, and the first is the ergonomics for me. When I adjust the steering and seat to the proper driving position, the top of the steering obstructs about a third of the instrument cluster. Maybe that's not the case for everyone (e.g. taller drivers), but it's been like that for me since Peugeot adopted the new i-Cockpit design.
The second is the absence of my favorite feature for this generation of 3008: the massage seats. When I first tried out the second generation 3008 GT Line a few years ago, it had the in-seat massage function for the driver and front passenger. It sounds gimmicky, but it is relaxing especially in traffic. And no, it's not good enough to put you to sleep.
But with the pricing now, I can't complain. The 3008 GT in 2018 was priced at PHP 2,590,000. This new 3008 is priced at PHP 2,090,000 in 2022. The primary reason is the switch to the new factory in Malaysia, which also means it's more Petronas Twin Towers rather than Eifel Tower.
Is that a big deal? Maybe. But at PHP 500,000 less, it's hard to argue. We won't be surprised if we see more of these vehicles roaming the streets, and you can spot them from a long way away.