A few months ago, we tried out the latest Peugeot 3008, a small premium crossover that has a charm that can easily win anyone over. Thanks to its unique approach to the automobile -particularly by tickling your senses- there are few cars we'd pick getting stuck in urban traffic with.
Mind you, that 3008 was simply the first version, and it came with a 1.6-liter turbo gasoline (they prefer to use the word 'Petrol') version. Peugeot Philippines actually had a few delays with their supply; not surprising given the strong market demand for the brand to produce the reigning European Car of the Year. This one is the model we're actually more interested in, and it comes with a different engine: a 2.0-liter turbodiesel.
When manufacturers come up with different variants, there are naturally some differences you can spot with the exterior. A different wheel design, a different door handle design, or maybe even some extra accessories of some sort; model differentiation, some call it. But by our eye, there wasn't anything that needed altering with the 3008 for another variant; it's just a good looking little crossover.
Peugeot's design department has certainly elevated the 3008 from where it was before, taking some styling inspiration from the animal on their logo: the lion. The sleek stance, the chiseled look, and interesting details like the claw marks on the taillights and the fangs that pierce the headlamps all come together to form a rather interesting vehicle, one that stands out at the office parking lot. I particularly like the contrast of this white body that's framed by the blacked out greenhouse, pillars, roof, flares and more.
Like the body, the interior is exactly the same. The same upholstery, the same trim, the same switches, the same engaging iCockpit layout doesn't leave much to be desired. The only thing I would change is the way the top of the steering wheel blocks the gauges; there really wasn't anything wrong with looking at your gauges through the steering wheel.
What sets the 3008 apart is a great suite of features. Some are expected like the cruise control system, digital gauges, power adjustable features, and how the many other features are integrated into the central display, including the climate control system and the audio system. We can even talk about how the 5-mode grip control system is interesting, but that is really only useful on tricky road conditions; and not that 3008 customers would go off-road anyway because this is still a front-wheel drive crossover.
What we really like with the 3008 is how it makes everyday driving enjoyable, even in the worst kind of traffic. The leading edge of the front seats can be extended for better support. You can also electronically pick one of three scents stored in the 3008's glove compartment, depending on your mood. Or being able to activate an in-seat back massage for the driver and front passenger. These are little pleasures, and they count for a lot.
The only difference between this 3008 and the dark gray version we drove before is the engine. Instead of the 1.6-liter turbo gasoline engine, this one has a 2.0-liter BlueHDi turbodiesel. The gasoline version had 165 PS and 240 Nm of torque, but this diesel has 150 PS and 370 Nm of torque. Like the gasoline version, this doesn't have a dual clutch gearbox. The 3008 has a 6-speed automatic that Peugeot calls their Efficient Automatic Transmission, or EAT.
When driving from home to the office, the bank, the mall or any other typical urban destination we go to on a daily basis, the 3008 diesel drives like expected, and then some. The vibrations of the diesel are kept well in check, and the noise is suppressed very well. Actually, if you hadn't known this was a diesel beforehand (and if not for the digital tachometer that goes up to just 6000 rpm), you might be fooled into thinking this has a petrol engine.
Efficiency, as expected, is superb. In city driving, it's easy to get north of 10 kilometers to a liter of diesel. My normal route yielded 11.9 km/l, even with heavy traffic at an average of just 16 km/h overall. On faster expressway roads, we were getting even better; 18.9 km/l, and that wasn't even really being stingy with the throttle or sparing with the overtaking maneuvers.
One thing about the 3008 is that you shouldn't expect an overly soft ride; it's something I would call firm but fair. Enough to manage bad roads, but plenty firm to take on some fun corners. The suspension and chassis manage the weight superbly around a set of twisties. The steering doesn't have much feel, but that's expected of these new motor-driven power steering units. But the torque of the diesel and the confidence the 3008 has under braking more than makes up for that minor concession to the efficiencies afforded by modern technology.
The 3008 diesel does, however, come at a price. As it stands, this Peugeot 3008 BlueHDi is already at PhP 2,790,000. That's PhP 200,000 more than the gasoline variant, and might be tricky given that there are far larger SUVs that can be had for a similar price or even for far less, even without things like the seat massagers and such. And that makes it a challenging proposition. Peugeot Philippines does have an ace up their sleeve: the 3008 is part of a new program wherein PMS costs are already inclusive with the price tag.
The 3008 is not perfect, and I don't think Peugeot intended it to be. What they wanted is something different and offers a unique flavor compared to the rest, and at the end of the day, that's what they delivered. And we like it that way, even if it costs quite a bit more than what we expected.