OWNING a 3008 is fun, I’ve come to realise. Why has it taken almost three months to work that out? I blame the traffic. Most of the time I spend in DVI-87Q takes place during Melbourne’s peak hours. I usually have loose bags on the back seat, things in the boot, and no real opportunity or inclination to get stuck into it.
But a few nights ago I had to run an errand when the rest of the family were asleep. The car was empty, the roads were quiet, and I was in the mood to make short work of things. Lucky for me, the Peugeot was up for it too.
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A mixture of attributes can make an SUV capable of putting a smile on your face. For some it’s raw power, others unerring grip, but in the 3008’s case it’s all about the responsiveness of its front end. Quick-witted steering means a slight twist of the forearms is all it takes to get crisp direction changes out of it. And there’s just enough stickiness from the tyres to make it work, even though the ContiCrossContact LXs are fitted primarily for their aptitude in slippery conditions, as part of the Grip Control system that’s standard fare for the GT-Line.
All-wheel drive isn’t available anywhere in the 3008 range, but Peugeot has gone after some off-road credibility with this variant (and the less expensive 3008 Allure) by adding electronic aids that make it perform better on loose surfaces. Now would be the perfect juncture to talk about how good it is, or otherwise, on sand or snow, but I’m yet to take it anywhere near either, which is probably representative of mid-size SUV ownership in the majority.
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It’s nice to know the functionality is there, but for now its talents remain theoretical. And if urban dwelling is the plight of most 3008s, does having Grip Control make sense on the off-chance there’s a trip to the ski slopes during its time in the family?
Ultimately the likelihood of that is for individual buyers to decide. Some minor off-road testing at Car of the Year suggests the system has merit, but the trade-off is a louder cabin from the roar of the heavy-duty rubber (though without driving a quieter rival back-to-back it’s not terribly invasive), as well as slightly higher fuel consumption, which is claimed at 7.3L/100km rather than 7.0L achieved by the base Active.
Personally, I find the chunky tread pattern and squarer sidewalls of the 225/55R18s to be aesthetically pleasing. And the economy penalty bothers me less than it would if I had paid extra for AWD hardware in a different mid-size SUV, then lugged it around as dead weight for 99 percent of driving, using even more fuel in the process.
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So I think it makes some sense, and along with the 3008’s amusing dynamics I’m finding smug satisfaction in driving a car that others consider to be slightly left of centre. That’s an ongoing battle for Peugeot to fight in Australia.
For what it’s worth, my Magnetic Blue companion has been holding up its end of the bargain without drama, and its virtues are still being understood well after the initial acquaintance phase has ended. Let’s hope there are yet more layers to peel back.