- Rough roads ready with gradient descent and traction control
- Longer wheelbase than previous model – due SA early ’17
- Aiming to crack the burgeoning ‘outdoor lifestyle’ market
At last – a new SUV from Peugeot. It’s the 3008 and the latest of a long line that dates back to the early 1970’s when the 404 station-wagon was hugely popular in South Africa.
As Peugeot admits, the car – now, like many others, revelling in the more modern name of ‘sport utility vehicle’ – will enter a market that has more than doubled since 2009 as families see the obvious benefits of a car with an adjustable interior – even, for some, space for a growed-up’s bicycle.
We understand It will be launched officially at the 2016 Paris auto show which will run from October 1-16 but will only reach South Africa in first-quarter 2017.
The French automaker is betting on the SUV’s “latest-generation i-Cockpit, optimised architectural efficiency and high-tech equipment” (see image) to grab a major share of C segment sales in which the 3008 first competed in 2009.
SUV’s make up about 10% of the European market with buyers, Peugeot believes, “who are keen to show a desire for escapism and new experiences, even if the imagined excursion into the wilderness with this vehicles remains strictly fantasy!”
Unless they live in South Africa, of course…
The SUV is 4.45m long – eight cm longer than the previous model thanks to a longer wheelbase which adds more than 6cm to the passenger space – and 1.84m wide, as was the previous car and 1.6 tall, including roof rails..
Peugeot sees the sales challenge as “major, to deliver an incredibly consistent, modern, sleek and intelligent package” and already sees getting into the new 3008 SUV as “entering another world that is surprising, original and oozing quality”.
The “spectacular, almost futuristic, dashboard” (see image again) is certainly eye-catching behind a steering-wheel that has shrunk and has two flat sections, making it resemble an aircraft yoke. There’s lots of leather, chromed inserts and gloss-black finishes.
A 20cm touch-screen immediately ahead of the centre console resembles a tablet computer and is above six toggle switches for audio system, aircon, satnav, vehicle parameters, phone and mobile applications.
A head-up instrument unit joins a 31cm series-production but high-resolution screen with what Peugeot describes as ” futuristic graphics” that can be comprehensively configured and personalised as a windscreen display through controls on the versatile steering-wheel.
Like a French menu, the automaker says, the choices are a la carte: copy of navigation instructions, driving aids, engine parameters, trip data computer, route information.
“The visual impact of each setting,” Peugeot says, “is highlighted by a series of animations and transitions which are a visual treat.”
Pushing the sensory boundaries, it adss, is a simple switch next to the toggles that arouse the senses:
Sight, by varying the brightness of the ambient lighting and the screen colour
Hearing, via the musical equaliser settings
Touch, via the five-programme multipoint massagers in the seats
Smell, via a fragrance diffuser.
There’s also an optional sport pack for the driver who can choose:
Firmer and more responsive powered steering assistance
More responsive accelerator mapping
Enhanced engine and gearbox response (auto units have paddle shifts)
Amplified engine sound with a sporty note through a digital amplifier
Enhanced colour display on the various screens
Vehicle dynamics information on power output, turbo boost pressure and longitudinal/lateral g-forces.
There are also two driving themes: “Boost” for “dynamic” driving and “Relax” for cruising – each, Peugeot says, ” configurable so driver and passengers exceed the limits of pleasure and travelling on board becomes truly unique and unforgettable”.
Upholstery products include leather and cloth; decoration brushed chrome and carbon-fibre.
Peugeot insists there is no chance of not seeing the 308 as an SUV: vertical nose, long and flat bonnet, high waistline, protection bands on bumpers, wheel arches and doors, Large wheels, raised ground-clearance and roof rails.
The halogen headlights are slim; sharper still if diode headlights are specified; wide air intakes give expression to the nose; the roof is black. The tail has a gloss-black band in which live opalescent diode tail lights done like feline claw-marks as a model signature.
Remember, the Peugeot motif is a lion rampant.
Peugeot describes the whole as “attractive, well thought-out and tasteful; a look that has created the most fashionable SUV on the market” and the ride more car-like than any other SUV but with “genuine off-road capability”, thanks to an enhanced traction system called Advanced Grip Control.
The system has five settings – (Normal, Snow, Mud, Sand, ESP OFF – controlled by a centre-console switch and 18″ ‘mud and snow” tyres as an option. Gradient descent control will work down to three km/h.
A glass sunroof/sunblind is available; more important are driving aids:.
Following distance alert and auto braking, lane-departure alert, auto headlights, speed-limit signs recognition, adaptive cruise control right down to stop, blind-spot radar, 360-degree cameras and parking assistance.
The 3D navigation shows buildings and monuments and road contours and uses TomTom tech for the job: that means local weather, car-parks, service stations and the option of risk areas (handy for South Africa?) reliable reported information on permanent danger areas and temporary risk areas.
A Smartphone screen can be reproduced on the touch screen (Android, Android Auto and Apple Carplay(iPhone 5 onwards) along with voice recognition (Android S-Voice and Apple Siri): make calls, choose music, read and send text messages, get route info.
The two-position rear deck created by folding the rear seats is flat and can be extended by folding the front passenger seat too. The tail door is powered and can be operated by a foot being waved under the rear bumper.
ENGINES: ‘POWERFUL BUT ECONOMICAL’
There’s a range of Euro 6.1 engines which are powerful yet economical with all petrol engines, Peugeot says, ‘best-in-class’ for power output and a six-speed auto is available. They are…
1.2 PureTech six-speed manual in standard and very-low consumption versions
1.2 PureTech six-speed auto
1.6 turbo six-speed auto
Diesels Blue technology keeps CO2 emissions for the range between 100 and 121g/km for power outputs of 75, 90 and 112kW. The 1.6 BlueHDi and 2.0 BlueHDi installations are also “among the best on the market”.
All parts for the new Peugeot 3008 will be produced in France and the cars will have an “Origine France Garantie”.