MY WIFE, bless her heart, doesn’t care much for cars. She owns one, but like any other appliance it plays only a bit part in her world. What it can do is largely inconsequential as long as it’s working. She thinks 911s are pretty, and loves it when I bring home something with heated seats, but that’s about all that blows her frock up.
This makes her opinion a fascinating litmus test, because it is completely and utterly ignorant to both badge stigma and a car’s on-paper spec.
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Our Magnetic Blue 3008 has been in the family for about five months, but it wasn’t until last week that my wife had cause to drive it. I’ll admit I was nervous on the Peugeot’s behalf about handing over the key; nothing to do with her driving, and all to do with what I thought might be a steep learning curve, given the 3008’s somewhat unconventional ergonomics.
The lady of our house very rarely drives cars that are not her own, and the experience of acclimatising to something new is more complicated in certain vehicles. Peugeot’s second handover scheme mentioned last month exists for this very reason. But I needn’t have worried; her first observation and overarching appraisal was that the 3008 is “very easy to drive”. She liked it a lot.
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What’s interesting about that is people who move from car to car often (i.e. journos in this office) have found the weirdness of Peugeot’s head-up instrument display a little difficult to adjust to. For those unfamiliar with it, the main instrument cluster sits above a low-set steering wheel, so the driver must look over the top of it rather than through it to see data on the screen. It split opinion during Car of the Year testing and was described as controversial in the wrap-up, but it didn’t even rate a mention from the hugs and kisses.
It was a light-switch moment when I pointed it out, which was met with more approval. The only thing she didn’t like was the ride, describing its firmness as “a bit bumpy”. She’s right about that too, but it’s the ‘easy to drive’ comment that stuck with me. If I were a car company, that’s the sort of feedback I’d be happy with from somebody like her. She is not a car enthusiast, but she’s in the target market, and she’s exactly right. There is an ease of use about this car that makes it an enjoyable everyday accomplice.
French cars have come a long way, to the point that even this 3008 with all its interior intrigue and singular style still nails most of the basics. Showroom flair may sizzle at the dealership, but the most design-driven mid-size SUV still needs user-friendliness to win buyers, and if my wife gives the 3008 her approval, that’s mission accomplished.