Car reviews - Peugeot - 3008 - Active
Distinctive French styling, innovative interior design, city-friendly steering, compliant suspension tune, adequate turbo-petrol performance
Room for improvement
Expensive to service, prevalent bodyroll and understeer, some fit and finish issues, LED headlights should be standard at this price point
Peugeot blends French flair with European execution in wonderful 3008 Active
24 Sep 2018
PEUGEOT made some waves when it revealed its second-generation 3008 mid-size SUV at the Paris motor show in September 2016. It was so well-received, in fact, that it was soon awarded 2017 European Car of the Year, among other accolades.
The 3008’s importance is heightened in Australia where it was at the forefront of the French brand’s relaunch under a new distributor Inchcape Australasia. Fast forward to 2018 and Peugeot has added a longer warranty and range-wide autonomous emergency braking to the model.
Positioned as a semi-premium offering, Peugeot is looking to command its own share of the most popular segment in Australia, mid-size SUVs. So, does it have what it takes to rattle the cage of the best-selling Mazda CX-5? We test it in entry-level Active form to find out.
Price and equipment
Priced from $37,490 before on-road costs, the 3008 Active is absolutely loaded for an ‘entry-level’ mid-size SUV. Standard equipment includes 17-inch Chicago alloy wheels wrapped in 215/65 tyres, a space-saver spare wheel, dusk-sensing halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, rain-sensing wipers and aluminium roof rails.
Our test car was finished in Magnetic Blue metallic paintwork, which is a $690 option. As such, the price as tested is $38,180.
Inside, it gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, voice control, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, wireless smartphone charging, three 12V power outlets, digital radio, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Meco two-tone fabric upholstery, Mistral full-grain leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear selector, and carbon-effect trim feature.
When you’re looking to re-establish yourself as a mainstream player, it pays to make a statement, and what a statement the 3008’s interior is. Peugeot has outdone itself with the considered effort that is i-Cockpit. This innovative approach has resulted in a beautifully designed, driver-focused cockpit that is worthy of its many accolades, although we have found some ill-fitting panels.
Key to its success is i-Cockpit’s central 8.0-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The latter is positioned just above the square-shaped steering wheel, which can take some getting used to. This layout is certainly unusual, but once you become acclimatised, it’s easy to appreciate its genius. It certainly helps that the central storage bin is so big that you could easily get lost in it.
It helps that the infotainment system behind i-Cockpit is top notch, too, making it easy to operate the vehicle’s dizzying array of functions. The piano-style keys below the touchscreen offer shortcuts to the main menus whilst doubling as signature design elements. Even the oddly shaped gear selector is a work of art, acting as a palm rest that places the buttons above just fingertips away.
While most brands opt for soft-touch plastics with fine grains that mimic that of leather upholstery, Peugeot takes the road less travelled with textured surfaces that are much more stylish. These adorn the dashboard, centre console and front upper door trims to good effect. Elsewhere, carbon-effect trim is found in the Active, adding a sporty edge to the entry-level 3008.
Measuring in at 4447mm long, 1826mm wide and 1624mm tall with a 2675mm wheelbase, the Active provides a generous 591L of cargo capacity with its split-folding second row upright, or 1670L with it stowed. Rear headroom and legroom is generous behind our 184cm driving position, while the cloth-trimmed front seats are both supportive and comfortable on journeys of any length.
Engine and transmission
The Active is motivated by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 121kW of power at 6000rpm and 240Nm of torque at 1400rpm. A six-speed torque-convertor automatic transmission exclusively sends drive to the front wheels. As a result, the 1371kg Active can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 9.9 seconds while on the way to its top speed of 201km/h.
How does it perform in the real world? Not too bad for a city runabout, actually. The Active serves up enough grunt to dispatch of the urban commute with ease. With maximum torque coming on strong at such an early engine speed, there is a noticeable shove off the line. Take it onto a country road and overtaking at higher speeds is not nearly as easy … but it still gets the job done.
The 1.6-litre is a refined unit that is quiet around town, only making noticeable noise when under a heavy load. The sound it generates isn’t bad, either, rewarding the driver for pushing it hard. As such, output delivery is effortless. Some people might prefer the more potent 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine in the flagship GT, but we reckon the petrol is the pick for everyday driving.
The six-speed transmission plays a key role here, providing smooth and timely gear changes. There is a slight delay before kick-down occurs after stomping on the accelerator, but it is otherwise well resolved. Engaging the Sport mode results in ratios being held onto longer, but it doesn’t offer any real-world value, especially when paddle shifters reside behind the steering wheel. Have it on your own terms.
Peugeot claims the Active’s fuel consumption on the combined cycle test is 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres, while its carbon dioxide emissions are 156 grams per kilometre. During our week with the Active, we averaged 8.2L/100km over 400km of mixed driving. A pretty good result when you consider how hard it has been pushed on country roads.
Ride and handling
In typical Peugeot fashion, the Active excels in terms of ride comfort, although its handling could be improved.
Specifically, its suspension setup consists of independent ‘psuedo’ MacPherson-strut front and semi-independent twist-beam rear axles, while its power steering is electric. This proves to be a reliable combination at city speeds.
Despite not tuning the Active for Australia’s low-quality roads, it is well and truly up to the task of providing an enjoyable ride. Potholes and speed bumps are dealt with well, while corrugated and gravel roads do little to disturb its comfortable ride. As a result, the Active is a more than capable performer in most conditions.
However, this ride comfort does come at the cost of dynamism, with the Active falling short of the sporty handling that some of its rivals offer. At low speeds, it is capable – reasserting its position as a very competent city runabout – but when the going gets tougher, the Active is prone to bodyroll.
Being a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the Active is prone to understeer. Unlike the aforementioned bodyroll, the understeer is encountered at lower speeds. Throw the Active around a tight corner and extra driver inputs are required to keep it on the desired course. While it’s certainly not a deal-breaker, it is something to be aware of.
All else considered, the Active’s steering is delightful and perfectly suited to urban environments. We typically prefer heavier set-ups, but its lighter effort is well matched to its driving brief. As a result, the Active is easy to manoeuvre around town, always feeling light on its feet, while the level of communication on offer is surprisingly good.
Safety and servicing
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded the entire 3008 range a five-star safety rating in August 2017. It scored 86, 85 and 67 per cent in the adult, child and pedestrian protection categories. Safety assist testing returned a result of 58 per cent.
Standard advanced driver-assist systems in the Active extend to autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, cruise control, a manual speed limiter, driver attention alert, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and hill-start assist.
Other safety equipment includes six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), anti-skid brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution, emergency brake assist, and electronic stability and traction control.
As with all MY18 Peugeot passenger cars and SUVs, the 3008 is offered with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty that includes five years of roadside assistance.
Service intervals are every 12 months of 20,000km, whichever comes first. Capped-price servicing plans are available, with the first five services costing up to $2977 (as of the timing of writing). It’s clear to see that maintaining the 3008 will not be cheap – an important consideration if buying one.
The 3008 Active will lure you in with its distinctive French styling, then it will impress you with its innovative interior design – and by that stage, you just have to take it for a spin. When you do, you’ll realise how competent it is around town – the natural habitat of most SUVs. Its steering, suspension and engine are more than up to the task of facing the daily grind.
Negatives? Not many, to be frank. At this price, LED headlights should be standard instead of the outdated halogen units, while some fit and finish issues continue to plague the brand. Handling wise, the 3008’s bodyroll and understeer do have an impact. It is also quite expensive to service, which might be deal-breaker for some.
Aside from these criticisms. the 3008 is an absolute cracker. If Peugeot wanted to create a brand-building model, it has done it. While most new-vehicle buyers in the market for a mid-size SUV will naturally turn to the Mazda CX-5, among others, they should do themselves a favour and take the 3008 for a test drive now. It’s a decision they won’t regret.
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