Peugeot 3008 SUV Rejuvenated

By Lee Pang Seng
IT HAS been four years since the Peugeot 3008 ruled the French roost in the SUV market here, making it the top seller from that country. With more than 2000 units sold to its name since its entry in mid-2010, the 3008 had appealed to those who wanted the French version of SUV motoring.

The new model that was introduced during the 65th Frankfurt International Motor Show has arrived and Peugeot distributor Nasim Sdn Bhd believes that the latest 3008 should continue to hold strong appeal with potential SUV customers. The new 3008 SUV is assembled at the Gurun plant.

Chief Operating Officer Dato’ Samson Anand George said during the vehicle’s launch at Queensbay Mall in Penang that Nasim had targeted to sell 1200 units of the new 3008 SUV this year, accounting for 18 per cent of the higher overall Peugeot sales projected (7000).

The 3008 is developed from the same platform as the 308, making it a Crossover or SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) as the local preference for identifying such vehicles. Although Peugeot sees the latest 3008 as a new model, it would impress most as a facelift, albeit with more changes – both aesthetics and equipment – than one would see in a mere updated model.

Though the front toes a similar styling base, the slimmer Bi-xenon headlamps with LED (light emitting diodes) running lights have enhanced its agro stance that bit more. At the same time, more chrome areas are brought into play prominently with the large grille have a thick shiny border and chrome surrounds for the foglight areas on the sides. The lower lip with a broad matt silver section appears to have been retained.

The rear sees minimal changes, with the outline of the light cluster being similar and the difference is in the use of LEDs. Those for the brake lights are arranged in vertical rows, rather than the conventional horizontal ones and they come on brightly when the brakes are applied, more than enough to garner the attention of road users following behind.

Dimensionally, there are minimal changes. The new 3008 continues with the same 2613mm wheelbase and its overall length stays constant at 4365mm, likewise the width of 2113mm, measured at the door mirrors. It is slightly taller though at 1639mm, which could be due to the Michelin Primacy HP tyres. The tyre tracks too remain at 1532mm front and 1527mm rear, and we believe its kerb weight should be about the same at 1400kg, adding 10kg at most for the additional equipment on board.

Stepping inside, one could imagine being in the previous model except for one distinct addition, the 7-inch multi-information display located centrally on top of the dashboard. It can be folded away if it is not required. With a reasonably big screen, using the navigational guide is handy and the overhead sun did not affect the visuals, making it a practical item.

This large screen also plays its part when reverse is engaged as the view of the rear area comes across clearly to help us manoeuvre the 3008 SUV into the parking lot. Another new feature is the Peugeot Parking Assist and Available Space Measurement (ASM). There are 10 sensors in front, front sides and rear to gauge the potential parking spot and ASM will inform the driver if it is big enough for the mid-size SUV.

Although the retractable head-up display might have reminded us of the old, this time the item comes with colour indicators: white for road speed, orange for speed limiter and green for cruise control. A toggle switch is used to raise or retract this item, which is said to be a safety feature as it keeps the driver’s eyes on the road ahead.

The set of seven toggle switches located on the centre part of the dashboard, just below the central air vents, is fully utilised this time as there are more electrical items on board. It is practical to locate them in a central area, along with the other controls for radio and navigation, for easy reach and good ergonomics.

Like the old model, the driver remains well taken care of with the electrically eight-way adjustable seat, though the front passenger would still have to make manual adjustments. There are enough little storage space here and there, including the rather limited glovebox and file or map holder under the steering wheel column.

The THP (Turbo High Pressure) 1.6-litre engine looks little changed from the previous model but it has been tuned to provide more power. This is an undersquare all-alloy engine with 85.8mm stroke and 77.0mm bore to displace 1598cc. It has double cams, multi-valve cylinders, variable valve timing, direct petrol fuel injection and a twin scroll turbocharger system.

Power-wise, the engine has been tweaked to provide more at 165PS or 121kW, compared to 156bhp/ 118kW at 6000rpm. Maximum torque remains the same at 240Nm peaking early at 1400rpm and staying constant across the mid-range revs. Likewise, the transmission is also similar being the six-speed Tiptronic automatic with Sport mode. Perhaps that’s why Peugeot has maintained the same performance values: top speed at 202km/h and 0-100km/h runs in 9.5 seconds. Likewise, the 3008’s fuel efficiency is retained at a combined 7.7 l/100km/h or slightly under 13km/l.

On driving the new 3008 SUV, we recalled similarities in engine power delivery and feel. Leaving the transmission in Tiptronic mode, there is laggy acceleration despite a lot of torque coming on stream early. We felt this when overtaking and like before, the best way to enjoy a better flow of power is to push the gearshift to Sport mode and select the gears manually.

This was best done during the winding section along the Balik Pulau area (our drive was over 50km from the Queensbay Mall to Hard Rock hotel in Batu Ferringhi, with two driver changes along the way). The tighter corners showed us a bit more of the 3008’s handling dynamics. Charging into a corner and lifting off the pedal on entry had all the vehicle weight transferred to the front quickly, leading to some heavy understeer that was typical of front-wheel drives.

Going into corners with more controlled speeds reduced that significantly and we were able to enjoy some winding road drives. Body roll remained well checked for a tall vehicle, adding to the confidence.

We also noted the same hardness in ride, not quite the jolting kind that you would experience with high tyre pressures, but a stiffness we couldn’t ignore although appreciable ride comfort was not affected. Peugeot has tuned the suspension to be more solid in damping and this was felt more when running over rumble strips. It helps when driving on highways as the 3008 SUV felt more planted on the road, as we recalled from our Kuantan drive.

The suspension looks unchanged in design being the MacPherson strut front with drop-link anti-roll bars and the independently sprung rear with a deformable U-shape cross member (or torsion beam) and a hollow anti-roll bar. The full gamut of electronic dynamic aids continues to be enjoyed: anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Hill Start Assist, Electronic Safety Program (ESP), Anti-Skid Regulation (ASR), and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).

Its price has appreciated by about RM10,000 to RM153,888 on the road with insurance. Given the slew of new features and refreshed styling, the 3008 should continue to draw strong appeal although its position as the top French SUV may be threatened by its smaller sibling, the 2008.

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