CAPE TOWN - It’s good to hear that Peugeot South Africa is on the up and up after a spell in the doldrums, especially because the brand has a long history in the country.
And now that they are part of the Stellantis conglomerate, it seems that the support of a global motoring powerhouse is starting to pay off.
They have a new logo, new dealership corporate identity and are looking to a rosy future with a good sales performance after 2020’s disastrous lockdown, thanks largely to the introduction of the Peugeot 2008 and Opel Corsa, which has seen a month-on-month upward trend.
A short anecdote if you will. A few weeks ago a friend of mine called to ask for some new car buying advice. It’s one of those answers that you may live to regret if it turns out to be a lemon but I talked to her about the pros and cons of the usual suspects within her budget, one of which was the 2008. She obviously did research online as well and whittled the short list down to three, one of which was the Peugeot. It was her last stop and two days later she was the proud owner of a 2008.
She said the first thing that drew her attention was the styling followed by the quality of the interior, the solid thump when closing the door and the service she received from the dealership.
Which brings us to the facelifted Peugeot 3008 which the company sees as a trump card in the C SUV segment that continues to show a consistent 11 percent share in a volatile South African vehicle market.
If the styling of the 2008 is a winner, the nip and tuck on the 3008 makes it arguably the most attractive crossover SUV in its class and is likely to sway a few fence sitters.
A contemporary frameless grille with lines that extend with fins under the redesigned headlights and the bonnet nose displaying the Peugeot monogram makes it a looker to be sure.
The back end has upgraded lights with full LED technology that displays the 3D Peugeot claws for maximum effect and scrolling indicators round off a good looking backside.
The underpinnings remain unchanged with the same 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine producing 121kW and 240Nm, and driving the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that also has wheel-mounted paddles should you want a bit more zip, especially on pull-aways.
Inside you get the same executive look and feel with the i-cockpit, although the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster isn’t the 3D version found in the 2008, and its unique steering wheel. It certainly takes a bit of getting used to but after you’ve fiddled a bit with the rake and reach and seat settings the driving position is very comfortable.
The soft touch surfaces and toggle switches, 10-inch infotainment screen that’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible and Nappa leather seats compare very favourably with more expensive German cars. The seats can be selected in red which were fitted to the cars we drove at the launch and after initially being a bit hesitant, found it to compliment the rest of the interior quite nicely indeed.
The route we drove ventured around the Peninsula, including Simons Town, Cape Point and Chapman’s Peak which is peppered with some lovely bends and curves. It was a glorious Cape day so it looked like every car and bicycle was on the road but in the short stints we got to play a bit the 3008. Although not exceptionally brisk, it had a good turn of speed and the suspension handles road imperfections with aplomb.
It’s likely to be where the 3008 will spend most of its time but the short drive on the highway proved that the car will be more than up to the task as family transport over long distances with the 312 litre luggage area enough to handle the suitcases and cooler boxes.
Peugeot haven’t skimped on the electronic aides and driving assist safety features either with an impressive list of standard features to keep you safe should things become awry.
The Peugeot 3008 combined with its smaller 2008 sibling represents a real alternative for South African consumers and I think it's safe to say that with a fully stocked parts warehouse, French design flair and quality finishings more people are likely to venture from the usual choices.
Peugeot 3008 1.6T Active: R514 900
Peugeot 3008 1.6T Allure: R574 900
Peugeot 3008 1.6T GT: R644 900
The 3008 has a five-year/100 000km warranty and five-year/100 000km service plan.