Because the X70 and CR-V are, in every sense of the word, safe and sensible choices. But if the likes of Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan are on your shopping list, maybe this French SUV may tickle your fancy.
You see, the biggest appeal of the Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008 has never been its value proposition. It's for those looking for something different, something that stands out from the crowd.
Admittedly, the Peugeot 3008 is the most left-field choice among the lot, and we think that there is plenty to like (and love) about the Peugeot. Especially this recently launched locally assembled Peugeot 3008 1.6 Allure SUV.
This second-generation 3008 has been around since 2016 (Malaysia market debut in 2017) so it's still a relatively fresh face on our roads.
The exterior is identical to the CBU versions with full LED headlamps, dynamic turn signals, 18-inch "Los Angeles" and the instantly recognisable "Claw Effect" taillamps. The only difference in the CKD version is the enhanced roof rails that are said to be sturdier than the previous one.
Assembly and paint quality are also consistent throughout with no misaligned panels or inconsistent paint quality.
Yes, you read that right, a French SUV that is as practical as a CR-V. The storage spaces in the cabin are not only aplenty, but they are also practical to use.
Take for example, the centre armrest storage bin (rated 11 litres of space) is very deep and can easily fit a regular-sized handbag. This is especially convenient for ladies to keep their bags from prying eyes while on the move.
If you do not have a handbag, the centre storage bin also doubles up as a cooler box to keep your drinks nice and chilled on long-distance journeys.
Being able to properly store a 1L size bottle in the cabin is a big plus point for me and the Peugeot 3008 side door bins do exactly that. Overall, the storage capacity of the Peugeot 3008 exceeds expectations.
Boot space is also the largest in the segment with 591 litres with the false boot floor in its lowest position. In the default position, you get 520 litres which is just 2 litres shy of the Honda CR-V as well as a flat load lip which makes sliding items in and out easier.
Other welcome additions in the locally-assembled (CKD) version include enhanced roof rails, powered tailgate with handsfree operation and a panoramic sunroof.
If there's one complaint about the interior, it would be the poor image quality on the reverse camera. It's horribly pixelated and the poor refresh rate makes the image appear delayed on screen. Perhaps it's a unique problem for the Peugeot 3008 in Malaysia?
What if I told you that the driving experience of the 3008 is on par, if not better, than the Volkswagen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5?
Based on PSA group's EMP2 (Efficient Modular Platform 2) which also underpins the 308, 308 GTI and 508, the Peugeot 3008 drives more like a hatchback than an SUV. It's small steering wheel also adds to that nimble driving feel.
Even if you come across a fast switchback, the Peugeot 3008 does not falter, instead, it will dutifully abide by your steering inputs. Enthusiasts will find this to be quite an engaging SUV to drive. Mind you, it uses torsion beam at the rear axles but still handles beautifully.
The 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder THP petrol engine provides ample amount of grunt from its modest 165 PS and 240 Nm output. There is also a Sport mode that sharpens the throttle response, tighten the steering, and pumps an artificial "Sporty" note to the cabin – it's quite entertaining I have to say.
However, the 6-speed automatic transmission is perhaps the Achilles heel of this otherwise dynamic SUV. Like other PSA Groupe models we've tested, the transmission has a very sedated character.
The gearshifts are slow and clucky which makes the Peugeot 3008 behave slower than it actually is. But make no mistake, the Peugeot 3008 is a pretty brisk SUV and it achieved a century sprint time of 9.8 seconds.
I'm sure you've come across this term "Conti Car" which is often used by older folks, referring to European makes. Being a "Conti car" is a major plus point for some buyers because in their minds it has the best ride quality. Whether is it true or not is beside the point but it's the perfect description of the Peugeot 3008's ride quality.
It managed to balance between comfort and handling better than any of its rivals. When going over undulations, it has that firm but reassuring rebound – unlike Japanese rivals which tend to be overly soft. The Peugeot 3008 is not at all jarring, who says torsion beams are not as good as multi-links?
The front seats offer great support for long journeys with plenty of adjustments from the 8-way powered function. Although there are ample head and legroom for the rear passengers, the rear bench does not offer sufficient thigh support which could be a problem for taller passengers.
We did not manage to conduct our usual sound test with a professional dB meter due to technical issues. But our ears tell us that the Peugeot 3008 is as quiet as a Mazda CX-5.
We covered 99 km (80% city, 20% highway) and used up 12.01 litres of fuel in the Peugeot 3008 1.6T which works out to an average fuel economy of 11.9 litres per 100 km.
As a comparison, the Honda CR-V 1.5T returns 9 L/100 km while the Proton X70 returns 11 L/ 100 km.
On paper, the 3008 loses out in terms of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) compared to rivals of the segment. The Peugeot only gets Blind Spot Monitor and Lane Keeping Aid, without any form AEB.
But let's face it, if you're looking for a "safe" option, the Peugeot 3008 would never have crossed your mind in the first place. The Peugeot 3008 appeals to a small group of buyers looking for an SUV that is, as cliché as it sounds, different.
The cabin is a great place to be in, it's a relatively rare sight on our roads and most importantly it has top-notch ride quality. For buyers who prioritises style over functionality, the Peugeot 3008 ticks all the right boxes and more.
Put it this way, if the 2020 Peugeot 3008 was slapped on with a Japanese badge, it will most definitely sell like hotcakes.
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2021 Peugeot 3008 Allure
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