Renault Megane – Face To Face With Peugeot 308

There is a lingering cheekiness about the Renault Megan e, which harks back to the memorable ‘shakin’ that ass’ television commercial that was a smile-inducing reminder of the second generation car of a decade ago. Its replacement was somewhat more sombre, but now the new fourth generation Megane has perked up again in style, grown a little bigger all round, and acquired a bit more room inside. Its arch competitor is Peugeot’s well-liked 308, currently in its second generation, and notable for its zippy driving style. So we relished a head-to-head between these two leading French hatchbacks. Renault has upped the ante with this new generation Megane. It has a slicker feel than before, with a nicely efficient feel to its road behaviour, well weighted steering feel, minimal body lean on the bends and mannerly handling.

The ride verges towards firmness without any jarring edge to it, sopping all but the worst bumps without much intrusion. There is a generally well-sorted feel to the way the Megane behaves. It isn’t particularly engaging in sportiness, though.

The feel of the Renault’s setup is mature rather than youthful. It isn’t quite as sprightly as its rival, giving away 9bhp and 291b ft of torque to the 308, and taking a full second longer on a 0-62 acceleration sprint, although they’re only a whisker apart on top speed. The driving calibre of the 308 is similar in quality, but different in character. The Peugeot’s small steering wheel achieves a directness of steering feel that is pointier and makes the car seem a bit sportier, although also a touch more nervy. On a swift cross-country drive it is engaging but also a bit more frenetic, so personal preference somewhat dictates which of them delivers the more enjoyable driving experience. Ride quality on a pockmarked side road feels a little inferior to the Megane’s slightly more subtle absorption of the undulations. The 308 has a slight edge on performance, and benefits from extra engine torque, but also pays a small penalty in very slightly poorer mpg.

There is a distinct improvement in the Megane’s interior design, which has been upgraded in look and comfort. The cabin has more style and enhanced quality over the previous model. The central dash design is especially pleasing, with a large upright tablet-style display screen positioned between two vertical high-set central air vents. It’s all very intuitive, with controls split between the navigation infotainment screen and auxiliary switches. You view beautifully clear instrument graphics through a chunkily tactile steering wheel. The seats are grippily contoured, with really good lateral support to hold you on the bends, and they are very comfortable over a long distance. The driving position is comprehensively adjustable for any height and shape of driver.

Well priced with a long list of standard equipment, particularly on the safety front.

The 308’s cabin has a clean-sweep look, and the now-characteristic Peugeot high-dials design, but it’s a bit Marmite. There is merit in the elevated instrument dials set at a level to be viewed above the smaller-than-typical steering wheel, but it is better suited to taller drivers than those who are more vertically-challenged. The central navigation infotainment screen is set horizontally between triangular centre air vents, and most of the car’s dash controls are operated via the screen. That includes the heater-ventilation controls, which many regard as a step too far. Seat comfort is pretty fair, although not quite as huggily supportive as the Megane’s. Both cars are equally good for plug-in connectivity, conventionally located just ahead of the gear lever. Compared with its predecessor, the Megane has grown fractionally in size, now 64 milimetres longer and six wider. This has enabled it to accommodate a little extra space in the cabin, notably in rear kneeroom. From a passenger viewpoint, there feels a bit more room to stretch inside the Renault than in the 308.

That is helped by the Megane’s exterior dimensions, at 106 millimetres longer and 15 wider than its rival. Oddly, though, the roles reverse on boot space. Despite its larger size, the Megane has a standard boot size that is 36 litres less than the 308’s, and it also gives away 62 litres of overall carrying capacity when the two cars’ rear seats are stowed. Do you want more room to carry people, or extra space for their stuff? The 308 is inferior on the first count, but it is superior as a load-lugger. Being just a bit less roomy inside than its Renault rival is compensated by the Peugeot’s greater practicality for ferrying luggage, the weekly shop, or a homeward haul from the DIY store, garden centre or sports club. So it’s a question of horses for courses, whether your priority is greater legroom or better luggage space. Both cars are similarly endowed with cubbyholes and minor stowage around the cabin, and their rear seat fold mechanisms are equally efficient, so the overall comparison for space and practicality is a draw.

More powerful engine with better performance.

Both of these family-sized hatchbacks benefit from CO2 emissions that dip under the crucial barrier, and that means that they are vehicle excise duty free, for now. And because the company car benefit-in-kind taxation is calculated using that same figure, these are some of the lowest diesel powered vehicles available, and both falling into the 19 per cent bracket. With the Megane boasting slightly lower emissions at 96g/km and a combined fuel economy figure of 76.4mpg, it is marginally ahead of the 308 that manages 98g/km for CO2 and 74.3mpg for economy. With service intervals of 18,000 miles for the Renault and 16,000 for the Peugeot, maintenance is required less frequently than many of this pair’s rivals. The Megane boasts a four-year warranty over 100,000 miles, compared to the less generous three-year and 60,000 miles cover on the 308. And when it comes to insuring each of these hatchbacks, the Megane will work out cheaper on account of its group 15 rating, compared to 21 on the 308.

The pairing that we test here are well matched for equipment, though looking at the list prices, you’ll need to fork out just £20,750 for the Renault and £24,530 for the Peugeot. Even after deducting the £1,000 price premium for the automatic transmission that came fitted to our 308 test car, there’s still a price difference of £2,780, before you’ve talked turkey with the dealer over discounts. Each car comes well kitted out with a navigation system, dual-zone climate control, electric mirrors with power folding, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and faux leather and cloth upholstery, as well as automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity. The Peugeot boasts a larger touchscreen that is one-inch larger at 9.7 inches and also has an extra pair of speakers, making six in total. The alloy wheels are also larger at 18-inches and handily there’s a space saver spare wheel included within the price, whereas with the Renault you have to make do with a tyre repair kit, which isn’t ideal.

The 308 also comes with full-LED headlights, perfect for night driving, as well as an auto-dimming rear view mirror. The Megane counters this with the addition of keyless entry and start, automatic high and low beam for the headlights, hill start assist, a lane departure warning system and traffic sign recognition. Even though the Megane is fresh into the showrooms, there are some considerable savings to be made, with discounts of more than 20 per cent already possible. Online car brokers UK Car Discount offered our researchers a car at £16,447, representing a saving of £4,303 off the list price. The saving was even greater on the Peugeot, with a whopping 26 per cent discount possible via New Car Discount, bringing the cost of the 308 GT-Line automatic down to £18,118, a reduction of £6,412. Opt for the manual edition and there’s a similar percentage discount available, bringing the cost down of the 308 to £17,117, a saving of £6113.

Renault Megane vs. Peugeot 308

So which one wins this medium hatch battle, the Spanish-sourced Megane or the French-built Peugeot? These two are level pegging from many viewpoints, similar for performance, evenly matched for space and practicality, and equally good for running costs. The driving experience is contrasting, but of a similar calibre. So price comes into play as a deciding factor, and here the Megane zips out in front. It is both more keenly priced, and marginally better equipped on the safety front, so it looks better value than its dearer rival, even allowing for the difference in transmission between our test cars. It’s a win for the Megane here.

The Luxurious Upgrades Of The New Peugeot 3008

Let’s deal with the elephant in the room first of all – the fact that the original Peugeot 3008 wasn’t exactly pretty. Its cheese cutter chrome grille and slab sided looks did the crossover no favours in the looks department, though these were improved with the 2012 facelift. Sales last year failed to reach 10k, compared to more than 60,000 for the Qashqai and 23k for the Sportage, so it’s fair to say that Peugeot’s medium SUV has been underperforming in one of the car market’s biggest growth sectors. But that’s all set to change with the launch of the astonishingly good second generation 3008, which has been reimagined in just about every way. Cover the badges on the interestingly shaped steering wheel of the latest car, and ask people what car they are sitting in, and we’re not exaggerating when we say that most would probably say Audi. Quality has taken an Olympic-sized leap compared to before, with plush feeling plastics, nicely crafted real wood appliques on this top-spec GT model, and switches and buttons that have just the right amount of damping. The 12.3-inch digital instruments are reminiscent of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit in that they can be configured to how you desire, including the navigation mapping, except in this 3008 it all feels a generation ahead of the German brand, with nicely thought out graphics and crystal clear displays. The 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is perfectly angled for ease of use, and is coupled with a series of piano-style buttons that are shortcuts to the most commonly used functions. We’ve often criticised manufacturers for lumping all of the controls into a single touchscreen, where you need to navigation your way through layers and layers of menus to get at a function, so this solution is incredibly welcomed. Elsewhere, the gear lever is more like a joystick on automatic editions, but feels perfectly natural once you spend a few’ moments getting used to it.

The overall feeling is of sitting in an aeroplane’s cockpit, yet it doesn’t feel closed in, and is airy and spacious, no doubt assisted by the panoramic glass roof. The driving position is command-like, with a good view’ out, and in any case there’s a reversing camera and sensors to help with parking in tighter spaces. Up front there’s a generous amount of leg and headroom, while in the back there’s more than enough space for a trio of adults. Boot space of 591 litres with the seats up and 1,670 litres with the chairs folded down flat is almost class leading, with only the Volkswagen Tiguan bettering it for cargo carrying capacity. The engines in the latest 3008 are carried over from its predecessor, with the addition of this flagship 178bhp 2.0-litre unit from the308 GT and an entry-level 98bhp 1.6-litre powerplant. We spent most of our time with the 3008 GT, which is interesting because it exploits a gap in the market for a powerful, sporty looking edition.

Paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic gearbox, the changes are smooth and slick, while the engine remains quiet, even in the upper reaches of the rev range. Refinement levels are quite simply top notch, with any road and tyre noise nicely isolated, and wind flutter suppressed. Off the line the engine doesn’t immediately feel particularly quick, but it’s the strong mid-range torque that tells you that you’re driving something meatier. Handling is taut, with body lean nicely contained, and excellent grip through the bends. Thanks to Peugeot’s trademark small steering wheel, there’s a greater feel of agility to the 3008 than in many rivals, with nicely judged turn in, good accuracy and plenty of feel. Light around town, the electric power assisted steering weights up for extra feel as the speed increases. Even with the 19-inch alloy wheels, fitted to our test car, the ride comfort is nicely pliant, albeit with a firm edge to it. Low to medium potholes are shrugged off with ease, with only the deepest imperfections transmitted into the cabin.

Peugeot 3008

At motorway speeds the ride is calm, reinforcing the 3008’s comfortable mile munching capabilities. Peugeot has teamed up with French audio specialists Focal for its optional premium audio upgrade, with ten speakers and 515-watts of power. A full suite of safety equipment is included, too, with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver drowsiness detection and adaptive cruise control all available on the new car, in addition to an automated parking system, blind spot monitoring, road sign detection and automatic high beam for the headlights. When the order banks open next month, ahead of its arrival in UK showrooms in January, the 3008 wall be offered with a choice of four trim levels -Active, Allure, GT Line and flagship GT.

A selection of four BlueHDi engines will be available, all including selective catalyst reduction to tackle harmful nitrous oxides. The 118bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 engine is offered with the option of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox, while the entry-level 98bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100 and 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150 are mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. Like the 208 GTi and 308 GTi models, the 3008 GT Line and GT models are offered with special ‘Coupe Franche’ dual colour paintwork, which no doubt will split opinion. But whatever 3008 is your particular bag, we can’t wait to drive it for longer on UK roads.

Peugeot 3008 2017 – A Reliable Family Member

peugeot-3008-2017-1

It’s probably long expunged from your memory, so take a second to recall the previous 3008. Looking more like the box your last car came in it sacrificed everything, including any visual merit, for the sake of space. It will not be missed.

peugeot-3008-2017-1

The new 3008 is part of an avalanche (for want of a better collective noun) of SUVs to come from Peugeot; five in the space of a year in fact, but the compact 3008 will make the biggest noise.

Looks are almost everything in SUV town and the 3008 is appealing. Tall and chunky are a given but there’s some pleasing detailing thrown in, with the nose made up of slashes and strong creases, the rear hiding its lights behind a blacked-out panel and the roof curving neatly towards the tail. We’d probably swerve the ‘Coupe Franche’ two-tone paint finish though, which looks as if the spray boys knocked off an hour early.

peugeot-3008-2017-2

Hoik yourself inside and you’ll find Peugeot’s i-cockpit, a large 12.3-inch display instead of instruments alongside a pokeable 8-inch screen to manage everything. It also means another small steering wheel, which will either suit your tiny paws or leave you longing for a Routemaster. It all hangs together well, the driving position suiting the layout better than in other Peugeots, and it’s clear they worked hard to make it feel special. Premium might be pushing it, but it’s certainly a cut above.

peugeot-3008-2017-5

You’ll justify the 3008 over its regular hatchbox cousin on space, and there’s plenty to go around. That i-cockpit business means a good view out, while headroom isn’t hurt too dramatically if you opt for the sunroof.

peugeot-3008-2017-7
Smoky glass panel reminds us of a 1970s coffee table. Driving experience reminds us of when Peugeots were last this good

It’s a bit tighter out back with the sensuous curves of the roof eating into headspace, and rear feet won’t slot under the front seats, but if you’re loading it up with kids they won’t complain any more than normal.

Where the 3008 might win you over – particularly if you plan on getting behind the leather shirt button yourself – is how it drives. Let’s be clear, this isn’t a 308 on weekend manoeuvres with the TA, but once wound up its balance and composure is a step above the class standard.

You’ll end up catapulting your shopping around the boot and clearing up child vomit for days, but an SUV that relishes being hurled about is a rare treat indeed. Peugeot deserves a pat on the back for remembering even parents have souls.

SPECIFICATIONS


Peugeot 3008 1.6 BlueHDi 120 S&S Allure

peugeot-3008-2017-6Price: £25,750 (est)
Engine: 1560cc turbocharged diesel, 4cyl
Power: 120bhp @ 3500rpm
Torque: 221lb ft @ 1750rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 11.2sec
Top speed: 117mph
CO2: 104g/km
On sale: Now

VERDICT 4/5

peugeot-3008-2017-3

Drive before you dismiss it

Save

Peugeot 2008 – The Nearly Right Stuff

peugeot-2008-suv

The 2008 realises it needs to look like an SUV. La bonne direction!peugeot-2008-suv

As mid-life facelifts go, I’d say this is a pretty successful one. Peugeot’s compact crossover no longer resembles a 208 that’s just had a nasty shock, and now cribs a few styling cues from 2014’s Quartz concept to look a more convincing baby SUV. The grille’s been pulled upright and peppered with a set of 3D-effect plastic inserts, and the wheelarches and sill scuff plates pushed outwards for a bulkier stance. Minor changes, but enough to give this small-ish car a bigger on-road presence.

It still is a 208 of course, carrying over the supermini’s floorpan, engines and dashboard more or less wholesale, albeit with posher materials and finishes (and a bizarre aeroplane throttle-style handbrake). That means a similarly attractive but flawed cabin, in eluding its trade­mark massive touchscreen and shrink-rayed steering wheel combo. I’ve got used to the latter but still find the former a little fiddly and distracting at speed. Ditto the grape-treading pedal placement, knuckly gearchange and ineffectual air-con, but the cabin’s ergonomic shortcom­ings are balanced by the feet that it’s likeably novel – at least Peugeot’s designers are willing to take a risk or two.

peugeot-2008-interior
747 pilots may take a while to realise it’s a handbrake, not a throttle

Besides the buffed-up styling there’s a new trim level at the top, GT Line, with red ’n’ black interior colours and a blingy set of alloys. It’s a GTi-lite recipe that’s worked successfully elsewhere in Peugeot’s model range. Of the three-apiece petrol and diesel engine levels to choose from, we’re testing the most potent (and pricey) 118bhp 1.6 diesel. Its fuel efficiency and decent turn of pace both impress, but its lopsided power delivery doesn’t. After an initially laggy response there’s a big wodge of torque in the middle, which requires a bit of adapting to. Lopsided handling, too. The weeny wheel has an unusually quick power-steering set-up, intended to feel sporty and kart­-like, but in the top-heavy 2008 it seems mismatched. If anything, it feels too fast for the rest of the car, and only served to highlight our test car’s rather clumsy body control.

The 2008 is a product in the right market at the right time, but it’s not quite the right car – yet. Its new look adds appeal, but for now there are still too many flaws to recommend the 2008 against a growing set of talented rivals.

Peugeot Ponders Hybrid 308 Mega-hatch To Rival Focus RS

Peugeot is primed to launch a Ford Focus RS rival that will become the halo model for the range in place of a dedicated sports car, a role previously occupied by the discontinued RCZ coupe. Speaking to Autocar, new brand boss Jean-Philippe Imparato said he would “love to launch something even faster” than the 308 GTi hot hatch. When asked whether there was room fora model above the 308 GTi, Imparato said there was. “There is space for something,” he added. “I don’t have a solution but I am on it.peugeot-308-r-hybrid

“We are very involved in competition sport, like Dakar, and we don’t want to lose this space with our cars. I don’t think we will develop an RCZ replacement.

On each level of our range – 308,208 – we will have something impressive in performance. Do we work on a new RCZ or on the fact that the next 308will be a beast?” While a so-called 308R could use a pure petrol engine, it’s most likely to use the powertrain seen in the308 R Hybrid concept revealed at the Shanghai motor show last year.

That car produced 493bhp and 5381b ft from its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, which consists of the 266bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine from the 308 GTi mated to two electric motors. With its power sources combined, the car had a 0-62mph time of 4.0 sec-2.0 sec quicker than the 308 GTi 270 and 0.7sec inside the time of a Ford Focus RS. The concept also used a six-speed automated manual transmission, but whether this would carry over to a production model is unclear, with hot hatch buyers preferring manual gearboxes.

The project is likely to be part of an upmarket repositioning for Peugeot announced by PSA Group boss Carlos Tavares in April this year. The ‘Push to Pass’ strategy tasked Peugeot with becoming the “best high-end generalist brand” and a direct rival to Volkswagen. Today the average Peugeot is sold for around 2.4% less than an equivalent VW, but by 2018 that gap should drop to 1.3%, before overtaking VW by 0.5% by 2021. Tavares also revealed that 25% of profits on the 308 line come from sales of the GT and GTi models.

The 308 R Hybrid concept could hit 62mph in 4.0 sec
The 308 R Hybrid concept could hit 62mph in 4.0 sec

Imparato said: “Customers want high-level cars and are ready to pay for them if residual values are solid.” He cited residual values of the new 3008 increasing by between 8% and 17%, adding that he felt “really positive” about Peugeot residual values in the UK. Fie also said the second-generation i-Cockpit interior, which is standard on all cars, is a key part of Peugeot’s so-called ‘upper strategy’.

Peugeot 5008 2.0 Hdi Allure

peugeot-5008-1

We’re quite abig family. Seven kids plus two senior-citizen parents means we need a serious family hauler, despite the fact that my older brother and I have moved out of the house. Sundays are sacred, not just for Sunday Mass but also for familylunch. So, when we sold our seven-seater SUV, my mom, who had just undergone aknee operation, needed an other large hauler that wouldn’t be too much of a challenge to get in and out of.

peugeot-5008-1

A van was the obvious choice, the Toyota Alphard being the top one.

But besides the high price tag, what put off my frugal parents was that it consumes gasoline like a Japanese salaryman entertaining his boss and clients on a night out in Roponggi. Next up was either a Toyota Super Grandia, a Hyundai Starex or a Nissan Urvan. All three are too big, though, and my dad, who still loves to drive, doesn’t fancy driving any of these.

Then we saw Peugeot Pasig, and my travel-enthusiast mom saw that unmistakably French lion (named Leo, apparently) standing proudly on the dealership’s facade. We made a beeline for the dealership the following weekend and saw the 5008. The rest is history.

peugeot-5008-2
The overall design is smart and functional

First thoughts on the 5008: It drives very well. Highway cruising is its forte, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t comfortable in the city. The balance between control and compliance is impeccable. Indeed, the French know their suspension settings well, and the modest 5008 drives like no van or MPV should have any business doing so.

On winding roads, you will look for better seats as the car carves into corners with much aplomb, stops on a dime, and feels confident at high speeds or low-grip conditions.

The 163hp turbodiesel is rev-happy: You can floor it all day and keep the needle bouncing on the redline with no problems. It doesn’t deliver a huge slug of torque down low, and tapers off significantly toward redline. The 5008 can hack it at European highway speeds all day. And it’s quiet—much more so than your usual Japanese and Korean vans, and enough to rival even the proud Germans.

peugeot-5008-3
It’s an MPV, but you still feel Peugeot’s sporty genes

A little known fact: For itsfirst self-motorized automobile, Peugeot bought an engine from a well-known German brand. That German-sourced engine (think stars) proved too unreliable, big, thirsty and expensive, forcing Peugeot — which, at this point, had built so many things, from salt shakers and pepper mills, to industrial tools, bicycles and even a dishwasher — to produce its own. Not just for cars, but also for aviation and marine applications.

peugeot-5008-8
The 2.0-liter turbocharged lump is powerful and efficient.

Today, the French company builds engines for all its cars, specializing in small-displacement (1.2- to 2.0-liter) turbocharged powerplants with three or four cylinders.

The one downside to the engine is that Peugeot’s diesel mills, in general, seem very sensitive to fuel quality.

The family driver used to tank up with regular diesel. In a year’s time, the fuel filter was clogged, necessitating an early service. We then switched to premium diesel, and two years since, we haven’t had the need to change the fuel filter yet. After roughly 20,000km, the exhaust emission is clear and the tailpipe is squeaky-clean (relative to those of other diesel-powered vehicles).

A typical service for t he 5008 costs under 200$ — slightly more versus the current crop of seven-seater diesel SUVs. In our experience, Peugeot Pasig has always had the necessary parts in stock. Fuel consumption is a decent 8.5-9km/L in the city, despite heavy traffic and long periods of idling. When I take the car down south, however, I get as much as 14km/L on my 150km round-trip. The same engine powering a different and heavier Peugeot saw me get 500km on half a tank of fuel (roughly 35L) on a recent drive from France to Italy. The potential is definitely there to be super fuel-efficient but super fast!

peugeot-5008-5
Cargo space, you say? Second and third row seats fold flat.

Other foibles? The third-row seats are really tight. My two siblings complain if they sit there for more than 30 minutes. And it’s quite difficult to fold them down or get them back up (you can transform the rear space into a cavernous cargo area by dropping the second and third rows flat in to the floor). There’s no spare tire, only a compressor and a sealant, which worries my mom, who wants to take the car to Baguio but is afraid to do so. The OEM 225/50 R17 Michelin rollers are a tad pricey, too, but they deliver excellent comfort, compliance and all-weather grip.

peugeot-5008-9
These are very stylish 17-inch alloy wheels.

The alloys have an unusual 4×108 bolt pattern, so the aftermarket can’t easily provide me a spare wheel. I’ll have to order a single OEM wheel soon.

LIFE ON THE INSIDE

peugeot-5008-6

  • Steering wheel is firm, hefty, and far better than those of many sportier cars.
  • Seats offer excellent support, but the padding is firm especially for those used to soft, cushy seats.
  • The heads-up display allows you to view your speed and keep within the limit.
  • The panoramic glass roof provides the cabin a charming and elegant ambience.
  • Mobile-device syncing isn’t easy at first, but it becomes automatic once it’s set up.

peugeot-5008-7

‘A Peugeot won’t be your first choice. But give it a go’

The second row is quite roomy, and the front perches are equally good, with the driver getting an excellent seating position thanks to an eight-way adjustable seat as well as a steering wheel that adjusts for reach and rake. There’s a heads-up display to show how fast you’ve gone over the limit, and a decent-sounding infotainment system. No GPS navigation here (the new generation of Peugeots will rectify this based on what I saw at the recently concluded Paris Motor Show), but once you figure out how to sync your phone and devices with the system, you’re all set.

peugeot-5008-10

Overall, we’re very happy to have bought the 5008. Sure, the orientation of the controls take some getting used to, service is a tad pricey, and the driving feel isn’t that of the usual cushy Japanese luxe-barge. But it feels solid, is very fuel-efficient, offers a highly enjoyable drive. It’s also unique and has been absolutely reliable. And it will remain in the family garage for years to come.

Sometimes, it’s good to go out of your comfort zone and try something different. In a motoring nation that is generally conservative, a Peugeot won’t be your first choice. But give it a go. You will be impressed.

SPECIFICATIONS

Peugeot 5008 2.0 Hdi Allure


peugeot-5008-4Price: $44,000
Engine: 2.0-liter turbodiesel I4
Power: 163hp @ 3,750rpm
Torque: 340Nm @ 2,000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Layout/seating: FWD/7
Rival: Honda Odyssey

 

Peugeot 3008 1.6 THP 165 EAT6

Peugeot’s six-speed torque converter automatic doesn’t have the finger-click shifts of a dual-clutch auto but it’s no slusher, being smart enough to merrily flick down a ratio at the right time and changing up appropriately to keep the 1.6 at a near-silent hum on the motorway. Pressing the 3008’s Sport mode button undoes this a little bit, prompting the transmission to hunt for lower ratios too eagerly, while the steering becomes too heavily weighted. It needn’t be that way, because staying out of Sport mode leaves the steering feeling more naturally weighted and with a pleasing evenness. There’s an argument for the rack being a little too quick, but given that body roll is nicely contained, it’s not a significant issue. The 3008 is fundamentally a softer-sprung small SUV than its rivals, though.

peugeot
New 3008 is lower than before but longer, with more head and leg room

Fast undulations result in noticeable but well-controlled vertical movements, while road scars, ruts and potholes are all dealt with well, even if midcorner bumps are more of a problem. There’s more than enough grip for brisk country blasts and no unwanted rear axle movement off the throttle, but the front wheels will give up if you push hard enough. No 3008 gets all-wheel drive, but Peugeot’s Grip Control system is an option, along with mud and snow tyres and a hill descent function.

This 3008 is a marked improvement in the ride and handling department, then, and it’s a real step forward inside. It’s clear that perceived quality and a premium feel were the target, and the 3008’s new ‘i-Cocpeugeot-2017kpit’ cabin works well. An Audi-style high-resolution 12.3in digital instrument cluster and an 8.0in touchscreen are standard on all cars, the cluster being fully customisable via the standard multifunction steering wheel, even if its menus aren’t always easy to navigate.

Peugeot has also introduced a BMW-style gear selector on auto models, and it looks and feels substantial. Dashboard material and switchgear quality is a massive improvement, surpassing that of a Nissan Qashqai and giving a Seat Ateca a run for its money. Equipment such as the aforementioned screens, plus Bluetooth, USB connection, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, climate control, rear parking sensors, lane departure and automatic emergency braking on all 3008s is aggressively good for the class, too.

Furthermore, four (but not quite five) adults will sit comfortably. With rear seats that split 60/40 and fold completely flat (via boot-mounted levers) and an adjustable load bay floor, it’s practical, too. The boot itself has great access, with no load lip and a usefully square shape, and is larger than those of rivals.

peugeot-3008-2017
Turbo 1.6 petrol engine gives smooth, willing performance; ride is relatively soft, yet roll is well contained

Based on our drive on Italian roads, the new 3008 is a dynamically well-rounded small SUV (as long as the Sport button is left alone), while this petrol version’s performance and refinement are more than a match for its peers’ equivalents. Quality, standard kit, space and practicality are all good enough for the 3008 to be mixing with the best small SUVs.

However, and quite fundamentally, we know nothing of prices at this time, save for a range starting point of £21,795 for the entry-level 1.2 Puretech with a manual gearbox in cheapest Active trim. This high-powered petrol model with automatic gearbox is very likely to be north of £26,000 and therefore not worth considering for the majority. Keep things more sensible with a 1.2 petrol or a 1.6 diesel, though, and the 3008 makes a more convincing case for itself than ever before in this hotly contested class.

Peugeot 203

peugeot-203-main

Compared to the scores of upright postwar sedans that looked like church pews, Peugeot’s 203 was a breath of fresh air. In addition to being one of the French carmaker’s most successful products, the 203’s monocoque body and revolutionary engine set it apart. In its day, the 1290cc OHV power plant was state-of-the-art, with an aluminum cylinder head and hemispherical combustion chambers, said to be the inspiration for the famous Chrysler “Hemi” unit.

Continue reading “Peugeot 203”

Peugeot 406 – 1995

PEUGEOT-406-1995

As big family cars go, the Peugeot 406 with its smooth lines was pretty impressive. The most popular version was a four-door saloon that shared a platform with the Citroen Xantia, but this was complemented by a five-door estate car and a sporty two-door coupe designed and built near Turin by Italian performance specialist Pininfarina. There was a choice of engines — initially a 1.8 litre or 2 litre petrol engine, with a 1.9 litre turbodiesel option. But over time there would also be a 2.2 litre and 3 litre V6 lining up beside the petrol pump, with a 2 litre, 2.1 litre and 2.2 litre queuing for diesel. Two of the latter engines had the Hdi (High-pressure Diesel Injection) system. Continue reading “Peugeot 406 – 1995”