The updated Peugeot 3008 is the crossover SUV you never knew you needed
The mid-sized crossover segment is a crowded space these days, and there’s a real danger of some brands falling into the cracks as others jostle for the attention of the buying public. People look to well-known mainstream makers like Toyota and expect reliability paired with affordability, and for premium cars you’ll likely walk into a BMW or Mercedes-Benz showroom. But what about that middle ground? That’s where the Peugeot 3008 comes in.
This is an update of the second-generation 3008 that was launched in 2017. The exterior gets the usual automotive industry nip and tuck, which means restyled bumpers and lighting assemblies, and it’s now available in Singapore only with a 1.2-litre, three cylinder turbo engine.
It makes a pretty respectable 129 horsepower, and hums along at an amazingly quiet thrum that wouldn’t feel out of place in a petrol-electric hybrid.
If you haven’t been inside a current-gen Peugeot, you really should check it out because the cabin is as practical as it is remarkable. The digital instrument cluster actually sits above the steering wheel, so you’re not peeking through the spokes to read the speedometer.
As a result the slightly octagonal steering wheel is smaller than practically every other car out there, but that’s not a problem because after driving it, the size feels incredibly sensible.
You see, large steering wheels were really designed to meet two conditions: back when cars had no power-assisted steering, they provided leverage to turn the front wheels, and also a large steering wheel allows the driver to read the instrument cluster through the spokes.
These days, power-assisted steering is practically standard across all vehicles and slim, configurable digital instrument clusters mean that there’s no need to design dashboards with space behind to fit the analog dials’ mechanisms. So as a result, Peugeot has rethought the dashboard architecture into one that prioritises function but with really great form too.
The seven ‘piano key’ switches on the centre console are also clever in that the layout is not accidental. The most used switch to select the media source is on the extreme left, next to the air conditioning temperature selector. The hazard light switch is on the extreme right, so you can find it quickly without hunting.
A wireless mobile phone charging platform is nestled ahead of the gear lever, and Apple CarPlay plus Android Auto connectivity is included.
The stylish cockpit is a direct carry-over from the launch version of the 3008 from 2017, but makes so much ergonomic sense that it even outshines designs from more premium continental brands in the feel of the materials and the way controls are laid out.
The old car’s 1.6-litre turbo engine has been dropped here in favour of the smaller 1.2-litre turbo, and that has allowed the car to just squeak into the Category A COE bracket here. It’s also more economical, which is good news given that Singapore’s petrol prices have just gone up.
But wait, you ask, doesn’t that make the car slow? Surprisingly, it doesn’t.
Even when fully loaded with five passengers the 3008 makes good progress in urban traffic, thanks to the turbocharger giving it maximum available torque from just 1,750rpm. The eight-speed transmission is smooth and judges gear changes very well too.
Three-cylinder engines are typically slightly unbalanced and vibey, but in the Peugeot it’s remarkably smooth and also quiet. It’s not a hybrid vehicle but on the highway its lack of vibration makes it really feel like one.
There’s the obligatory ‘Sport Mode’ switch, and while it doesn’t make the car any faster or reveal secret horsepower stashes, it does unlock the free-revving nature of the engine. It’ll rev up eagerly to the redline with such smoothness that you need to look at the tachometer to see it.
The car corners like it’s nearly on rails too, despite the lack of active suspension. It’s a fun, dynamic car that shows Peugeot still knows how to make spirited automobiles even if they’re family-friendly.
Active safety features include the now-common lane departure warning and emergency brake assist, along with a very clever speed limit reminder. The camera mounted at the front of the car actually reads speed limit signs along the road and puts up a little icon on the instrument cluster of the posted speed limit.
It’s incredibly accurate and picked up signs the moment the car drives past them. In the rain, at night, and backlit LED signs in the KPE tunnel, it didn’t miss a single one. It’s only a visual reminder so you can still drive at any speed you fancy, unlike the Lexus IS 300 that would actually verbally tell you to ‘please obey all traffic regulations’ every time you creep past the regulated speed limit.
Boot space is respectable, as is the legroom in the back. The costlier Allure variant driven here gets a full-length, panoramic sunroof with subtle blue ambient lighting all along the edge. It lends a classy ambience to the interior after dark, and is quite pleasing to see from the backseat.
The base model Active variant takes a substantial S$19,000 off the price, and drops LED headlights, the massive sunroof, nappa leather seats, electric seat controls, and the electric tailgate to bring the price down.
It’s a classy, comfortable car that occupies that nebulous space above bread and butter cars but is a step down from luxury brands, but only in price. Test drive one and you might come to the same conclusion.
Perhaps the greatest accord to the comforts of the Peugeot 3008 is when my four-year-old son asked, “Do we really have to return the Peugeot?” when I told him the car had to go back to the showroom the next day.
He’s sat in plenty of test drive vehicles, but this is the first car that he didn’t want returned.
So while the flock are tripping over themselves going for base model BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars just to scratch that itch about owning a ‘proper luxury car’, be the smarter one and check out the 3008 instead.
Peugeot 3008 1.2 Allure
|Engine||1,199cc, in-line three, turbocharged|
|Power||129hp at 5500rpm|
|Torque||230Nm at 1750rpm|
|VES Band||B / S$0|
|Price||S$137,888 with COE|
|Verdict||A near-complete family-friendly vehicle that is also involving and dynamic to drive|