Car reviews - Peugeot - 3008
Best-in-class styling sophistication; excellent trim design; 3008 GT Sport’s additional punch; 5008’s practicality
Room for improvement
3008 deserves a 1.2 turbo-triple entry engine; lack of rear headroom when sunroof fitted; average audio quality
Striking new front-end completes family look for mechanically familiar French SUVs
25 Mar 2021
IF YOU’RE running an automotive company, there’s much to be said for noticeably refreshing and improving the look of a car without changing much of what’s underneath. Just ask Mitsubishi. But what if said vehicle (or, in this case, vehicles) already drove extremely well and didn’t really warrant much in the way of hardware improvements?
That kind of sums up the new Peugeot 3008 and 5008 – looking fresh after their mid-life facelifts. While there’s been several upgrades to powertrains in Europe, not to mention an electrification story that’s still forthcoming in Australia (Q3, 2021), the MY21 3008 and 5008 are mostly about turning heads with their fancy new fronts and flair-filled detailing, as we mentioned in our new model story.
First drive impressions
Mechanically, not a whole lot has changed. The entry-level petrol (featured in 3008 Allure, 3008 GT and 5008 GT) remains a 121kW/240Nm 1.6-litre turbo four mated to a six-speed automatic and working with the same suspension tune.
Despite its vintage (it debuted for PSA in the 207 hatch in 2006), the 1.6 turbo is an amenable engine with strong torque (maximum arrives at just 1400rpm) and a well-calibrated Aisin transmission that gets the job done with minimal fuss.
Claimed 0-100km/h times are 9.9 seconds for the 3008 and 10.5 seconds for the 102kg-heavier 5008, though it’s the impressive driveability of this powertrain that easily trumps those modest acceleration claims. A fully loaded 5008 petrol on hilly country roads will be pushing hard, but there’s an honesty to its work ethic that’s admirable.
There’s also a Sport mode that amps up throttle and transmission response, gearshift speed and introduces a synthesised induction note that is unexpectedly well-suited to the turbo-petrol’s flavour. Peugeot is definitely learning!
No diesels were available to drive at launch – a carry-over 131kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four, tied to an eight-speed auto and good for 0-100km/h in 9.0s in the 3008 GT, or 10.2s in the 5008 GT – but we did get to sample the more powerful 1.6-litre turbo-petrol with its new eight-speed ’box in the 3008 GT Sport.
Refined to lower its emissions even further while also featuring an idle-stop system, the GT Sport’s uprated engine produces 133kW at 5500rpm and 250Nm at 1650rpm – enough to thrust it to 100km/h in a claimed 8.8s.
More telling of its extra grunt, however, is its increase in top speed – 222km/h versus 201km/h for the lesser-powered petrol and 207km/h for the diesel. It’s finally the engine the 3008’s keen chassis and spunky styling deserve.
Cruising at the freeway limit, the six-speed petrol is ticking over at about 2000rpm whereas the eight-speed is around 1800rpm – not a huge difference. The main benefit is in its rolling-start punch, where the GT Sport quickly grabs a readily available lower gear and snaps into action.
For all its torque, the six-speed 1.6 turbo can sometimes feel gear-deficient in country-road overtaking – especially in the 5008 – which the eight-speed 3008 GT Sport completely eradicates.
Selecting ‘Sport’ mode in the GT Sport makes it feel quite aggressive, with abrupt upshifts and very alert throttle response, but again the synthesised engine note somehow suits the whole experience. For those who loathe this stuff, at least the eight-speed has enough oomph and gear ratios not to really need electronic enhancement from a drive mode.
Dynamically, the 3008/5008 story is exactly the same as before, which means really quite entertaining. The 3008 is the sportier of the two, with its 2675mm wheelbase – 165mm shorter than the 5008’s – translating to sharper turn-in and pointier handling, as well as a busier ride.
But there’s much to like about the 5008’s more languid demeanour. Its sporty little steering wheel still delivers keen response, however there’s greater fluency to the way it moves – making it feel more traditionally French than its more youth-focused sibling – even though the 5008 doesn’t have the ultra-plush ride of a 508.
While there’s loads of striking new styling details to admire on the outside, as well as two new colours (Celebes Blue and Vertigo Blue on 3008, Celebes Blue on 5008), the inside remains unchanged aside from a new 10-inch multimedia screen, tweaked instrument display and revised trim.
Gone is the old houndstooth-style cloth in the 3008 Allure in favour of a new cloth/leatherette design that looks quite pleasing. The new Alcantara upholstery (and dash/door trim) in the 3008/5008 GT models, however, really looks the duck’s guts. Peugeot has been kicking goals in the trim department for some time now and the MY21 3008/5008 continue that trend.
The Nappa leather that’s standard in the 3008 GT Sport and optional in other GT models is nice, and appears much the same as before, but it doesn’t have the warmth of Alcantara. And the Lime Wood trim on the dash and door trims of the 3008 GT Sport somehow seems incongruous with its blacked-out styling chic and added grunt. Why not the soft-feel, carbon-fibre-effect stuff from the 2008?
The new multimedia screen is a sizeable (literally) improvement, though the situation of pressing one more button than would be necessary on a regular dashboard remains. And while the fancy-pants Focal audio in the 3008 GT Sport sounds much meatier than the fairly average stereos in other 3008/5008 models, we’re not sure its sound clarity and the integration of its (considerable) bass performance screams high-quality.
Other than that, it’s situation normal for these criminally ignored Peugeots. That means good front seat comfort in both models (though with electric driver’s adjustment only in top-spec models, or when leather is optioned), and a flat rear floor to the benefit of rear legroom.
The 3008’s bench is decent, if fairly tight, with a centre position that’s actually useable, while the 5008 scores three individually adjustable centre-row seats on runners, combined with loads more legroom and a pair of tray tables on the front-seat backrests.
Anyone who truly values headroom, though, should avoid the optional sunroof. It robs plenty of rear-seat headroom, to the point where our 178cm frame only just fits under the headlining in the outer-middle seats of a 5008.
As before, the third row in the 5008 needs to be treated as a ‘plus-two’ arrangement because it’s really only suitable for children, but on the whole, the 5008’s practicality shines.
Here’s a plus-sized medium SUV, measuring a workable 4641mm long, that has the ability to seat seven if it needs to, but also offers a huge 591-litre boot if you lower the third row, or 1060L if you remove those rear seats. And it boasts 236mm of ground clearance, which surely compensates for its lack of all-wheel drive in many circumstances.
While the capped-price servicing may appear rather steep, there’s a lot of value in Peugeot’s two SUVs – especially in their primped-for-2021 guises.
They possess a classy individualism lacking in so many competitors – premium brands included – and while the absence of AWD might put some people off, or even the slightly odd ‘i-Cockpit’ dashboard arrangement (that sites the tiny steering wheel low and the instruments above it), there’s still much to like in the 3008 and 5008.
The shorter, sportier 3008 is the go for design-savvy singles and couples who want a medium SUV that’s not too large, but in our opinion, it’s the versatility of the 5008, packed into a city-friendly size with pleasantly French dynamics, that truly has a USP in the crowded $50K-something SUV landscape.
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