Peugeot 3008 GT-Line: Fast & Beautiful

Awards are no guarantee of success. And truthfully much of that has to do with there being too many of them. Awards for engines, awards for SUVs, awards for family cars, budget cars, design, safety. Right down to the mere process of cobbling something together be it from wood or giblets of carbon, 6kW or 600kW, giving the wonky creation a name and joining the queue for some hollow form of praise.

One award, Car of the Year, bestowed on the 3008 is a fairly weighty gong, you’d assume. The inarguable zenith of all things excellent. The sales team should have an overwhelmingly long waiting list but perception is such a haunting anchor that the brand’s latest 5-seater SUV will not have it easy – despite housing the engine that won Engine of the Year (in its category). Peugeot’s next transition phase is a hot topic with the usual cliff notes of dealership retention and product expansion but right now pretty much everything hinges on the 3008 living up to its accolades.

On the surface you expect a beefed up 2008 with a bit more of this and a bit more of that but as good as the 2008 is, it’s not ground breaking and the overloaded infotainment system can be buggy. The previous 3008 was closer to a generic MPV at a time when the world was going gaga over the SUV. Clear then an entirely new tactic was needed. A new platform. The 3008 has both. Plus rugged SUV looks and shorter overhangs fused with typically French eccentricity which is a bit bling around the front but tightens up around the rear. It’s attractive, looks expensive and has none of the foibles usually associated with growing up.

Peugeot claims an extra 24mm of rear legroom but it’s not quite ready to rival the Countryman for space while luggage capacity of 520 litres is nearly 90 litres up on the forerunner which should keep away the luggage accessories and racks even with the rear seats in place. An evolution of Peugeot’s controversial i-Cockpit design debuts in the 3008 with added personalisation but no amount of reworking is going to soften the polarising opinion the first time you hold the teeny helm. Peugeot’s fettled the gauges, illuminated the graphics with vibrant hues and begun to rescue a design we all feared would be a major sticking point for all future models.

There’s plenty of reason to persist however because the cabin is a remarkable space with gorgeous little details, novel materials and better ergonomic shortcuts. They’re clearly relying on a high level of specification here to tip the first impression off to a good start. The GT-Line models at launch beamed 3D navigation and reverse camera and pinged when you strayed over lane markings. Adaptive cruise control, active beam assist and blind spot monitoring will possibly be left out when the base Active model arrives next year while those massage seats have crossed over from Citroen’s DS catalogue.

Peugeot has aimed for the middle when choosing an engine suited to the South African market. The 1.6-litre turbo petrol and automatic gearbox tick the relatively modest goals required but in 2018 a 2.0-litre diesel and 1.2-litre turbo petrol with manual gearbox accompanied by leaner interior spec will prop up the range and we expect both will subtly enhance the product in their own way. The Peugeot 3008 is a commendable effort for a brand that knows it has to rebuild credibility. You certainly can see the enormous effort.

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