Peugeot 3008 GT on test: life's little SUV luxuries
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Peugeot 3008 GT Puretech 180
- Feels luxurious for a $57k SUV
- Good safety tech
- Definitely not dull
- Premium Pack pushes it over $60k
- Dithering transmission in town
- No AWD option for this model
The current-shape 3008 marked Peugeot’s entry into a new era of SUV-focused models back in 2017. A fashion-forward era too, with its avant garde exterior design and radical “i-Cockpit” dashboard (tiny steering wheel set low, instruments up high).
But for a brand that’s supposed to be the more premium half of Peugeot-Citroen, the 3008 has been letting the side down a little lately.
The petrol powertrain has been offered in a less powerful and less sophisticated specification than the sister (newer) Citroen C5 Aircross. More to the point, the petrol powertrain hasn’t been available in the flagship GT model, which was diesel-only. The highest you could go with petrol was the less-luxurious “GT Line”, which was a confusing for a number of reasons.
The facelift GT model fixes all that. Behind a striking facelift including Peugeot’s new corporate branding, long “blade” running lights and what look like claw marks across the front bumper, there’s a new 133kW/250Nm version of the 1.6-litre PureTech turbo-petrol engine, driving through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
That’s 12kW/10Nm and two gears more than the previous 3008 GT Line. So yes, the same as the C5 Aircross. The lesser 3008 Active and Allure models stick with the old powertrain, though.
You can still have the 130kW/400Nm BlueHDi turbo diesel in the GT for an extra $2000 if you must, but it’s less of a thing now. And because the petrol now comes in the all-singing GT model, Peugeot New Zealand has dropped the GT Line designation altogether for the 3008. Nice and simple.
More changes: the rear “claw” tail lights are now LED, giving a much sharper graphic. Inside, there’s a larger infotainment screen with some subtle but significant menu tweaks, like a shortcut to the climate control temperature on the side of the main screen.
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Overall the cabin is still appealingly weird and surprisingly posh. The i-Cockpit driving position takes some getting used to, but I rather like it. There’s a lot of lovely touchy-feely stuff in the cabin, including those elegant piano-style keys across the centre console, although you have to be a little bit patient when operating them. There’s a noticeable delay in pressing a button and getting a result on the display, suggesting a bit more processing power might be in order.
But you can’t fault the fit and finish, or indeed the individuality of design. The virtual dashboard offers a number of layouts, from sat-nav dominant to traditional dials (or at least a digital representation of them). You don’t get the trick 3D-effect that’s offered in the smaller 2008, but that’s because the little guy is based on newer electronic architecture.
Despite its relative age, the 3008 is still a mainstream medium-sized SUV that feels a bit like a concept car when you first jump in. It’s positively space-age compared with a Toyota RAV4 or Hyundai Tucson.
Our car had the $5000 Premium Pack, which adds 19-inch wheels, Nappa leather with special stitching, Dark Lime wood trim, Focal sound system and acoustic laminated glass on the front side windows. It definitely adds to the look and luxury ambience, although it pushes the price over the $60k mark. Sixty-something just seems like so much more than fifty-something, don’t you think?
At a time when every manufacturer seems to want its family SUVs to be sporty, the 3008 is set up more for comfort. Touring even, as the badge suggests.
We approve. It’s quiet rather than especially quick, rides well and rewards a more measured cornering approach than simply chucking it in. The eight-speed gearbox gets a bit confused when you give it mixed messages from the throttle, but keep your driving style consistent and it’s commendably smooth.
The safety tech is comprehensive, even if the adaptive cruise control (complete with lane-centering) is activated via a hidden satellite control that’s been used by Peugeot since the French Revolution.
It’s a shame you can’t have a petrol or diesel 3008 with AWD, although drive to all four wheels is available for the first time in the new Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) version. More refinement, more speed, more traction and zero tailpipe emissions sounds like the perfect progression for this surprisingly polished medium SUV… even if it’s over the $80k limit for a Government rebate.
PEUGEOT 3008 GT PURETECH 180
ENGINE: 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four
GEARBOX: 8-speed automatic, FWD
0-100KM/H: 8.0 seconds