There are many cars out there, but how many truly look and feel different. Peugeot offers an exceptional alternative in the form of the new 3008 SUV Active. If the name sounds familiar but the looks don’t it’s because its first generation was an oddly shaped crossover, looking like a seven-seater MPV, but only managed to seat five. Nonetheless, it was a surprisingly good car blessed with an efficient diesel engine, an interesting manu-matic transmission, and really good ride and handling.
Launched just two years ago, this new generation takes on a more definitive SUV look, making it easier to categorize this severely underrated car.
With a lion for a badge, it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of lion-inspired design touches. The grille resembles the lion’s nose while the headlights feature fangs cutting into their shape. Foglamps are mounted high up on the body, with the very bottom sporting a silver bash plate.
Towards the side, it boasts of a profile like a sport wagon, although much higher up off the ground. It features blacked-out pillars to give the roof a floating look. Large wheels give it some presence on the road.
Behind is a simple black bar stretching across the tail gate. The lion theme continues with claw marks cut out to serve as the LED taillights. On the bottom, two integrated exhaust give it a high-end sporty look, much like other European sport sedans.
The impressive exterior is paired with a beautifully minimalist interior. Rather than a dizzying array of buttons, Peugeot has carefully segmented the interior functions. The high-mount LCD screen in front of the driver, called the i-Cockpit is designed to make the instruments easier for the driver to read. It’s paired with a hexagonally shaped wheel. The dashboard that seemingly wraps around the driver makes it feel like one is piloting a space ship. On the center is a large center LCD screen for entertainment, climate and other options. Below the air con vents are the piano keys that control these functions.
Lower on the glossy center console are the engine start button, the ergonomically-shaped transmission stick and electronic handbrake. On the upper right of the flat surface is the Advanced Grip Control knob which comes with settings to allow the car to manage various kinds of terrain.
The rear offers proper room for adult passengers and is quite comfy thanks to the lightly reclines seats. The rear cargo area boasts 520 liters of space, which can be tripled to 1580 liters by folding the rear seats. There’s lots of tools to help organize your cargo, from little cubby holes to a movable cargo floor. Even the tools are organized neatly in a little compartment in the center of the spare tire.
All this is pulled along by a 1.6-liter turbo petrol engine that makes 165 PS and 240 Nm of torque. It’s paired to a six-speed automatic that drive the front wheels. Nonetheless, the Advanced Grip Control knob mentioned earlier is still quite functional and will easily handle any light excursions off-road if need be.
Design and specs aside, the real treat to the 3008 is the drive. The vehicle is extremely quiet and easily one of the most pleasant to drive in its segment. The ride is soft but not floaty like an American car; just the right amount of comfort over bumps without sacrificing stability.
The hexagonal wheel is very comfortable and light, suitable for any difficult driving situation. It’s even easier to grip and turn than a conventional wheel.
A 1.6-liter engine may seem too small for an average-sized SUV, yet the turbo easily makes up for it, rocketing the car up to speed faster than you expect. The automatic stick is quite comfortable and is very light to shift in manual mode. Though there are also paddle shifters behind the wheel.
There’s hardly any penalty in fuel consumption as the 3008 will easily return 9 km/L in the city in heavy traffic or as high as 16 km/L on the highway.
Perhaps the only downside is the visibility as there’s not much of it given the car’s small windows, particularly at the back. Thankfully, there’s a whole array of cameras that give you a bird’s eye view of everything around the car.
If you do decide to get one, it’s priced at a tempting PhP 1,890,000. This comes with a whole buffet of perks, like the inclusion of Autosweep and Easytrip RFIDs already installed upon delivery with P500 worth of credits for each RFID. There’s also a 24/7 Service Center at Peugeot Pasig, with 24/7 towing and assistance.
Text and photos by Iñigo S. Roces