The SUV or crossover market is hotly contested these days.
The Peugeot 3008 — which won the prestigious Car of the Year 2017 title at the recent Geneva International Motor Show — is more than up to the task.
The 3008’s forceful, futuristic shape is likely to be a hit with millennials as well as baby boomers looking to be hip.
The LED daytime running lights are housed together with aggressively styled full-LED headlamps.
Moving rearwards, the high waistline is broken up by wide protective bands of plastic.
This lends a touch of ruggedness to the styling while the glossy black roof — which I really like — helps make the entire vehicle look sleeker and less bulky. Rounding it out are massive 18-inch wheels pushed to the corners to help create a squat, purposeful stance that will appeal to both sexes.
For those who can’t wait to get behind the wheel after seeing the award-winning car in the flesh, the only version available at the moment is the 3008 BlueHDiEAT6 GT-Line.
The Euro6 1.6-litre BlueHDi turbo diesel engine is mated to an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission.
Those born before the advent of the Internet will probably still think of diesel-powered cars as noisy and pollution causing.
But the clean burning 120hp powerplant under the hood is quiet, and inside the car, you can’t tell it’s a diesel. Sound aside, because it’s a turbo diesel, there’s 300Nm of torque at 1,750rpm, and I’m happy to trade a nice engine note for effortless step-off from a traffic light and hassle-free overtaking.
There are even paddle shifters on the multifunction steering wheel should you feel the need to self-shift.
If you prefer the delivery and characteristic of a petrol engine, you’ll be glad to know that the petrol variant of the 3008 — the 1.2 Puretech and the 1.6e-THP — will be launched in Singapore in the third quarter of this year.
The petrol variant, which has clinched the International Engine of the Year title multiple times, has been winning fans the world over.
While the exterior styling is avant-garde, the i-Cockpit manages to look high-tech yet elegant, immediately evident when you enter the gorgeous cabin.
There are creature comforts and cutting-edge tech, yet it doesn’t look too geeked out or require a PhD in engineering just to figure out the climate control.
The steering wheel departs from convention by having both a flat bottom (not uncommon) and top, which allow better visibility of the instrument binnacle.
Peugeot’s i-Cockpit now consists of a configurable 12.3-inch display that can display a host of information including navigation and speed limit.
Look over to the right and situated up high on the centre console is an 8-inch touchscreen display, and below that sits a row of seven silvered toggle switches which, together with the capacitive touch screen, controls the climate control and entertainment system and is both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay ready.
Why did I bring up capacitive? Well, it means you don’t have to press “hard” on the screen, but it also means that you can’t operate the screen when wearing gloves (not a problem in our temperate climate).
The features I love include the panoramic sunroof, the wireless enable Qi charging (those with Samsung phones will love this), the VisioPark 2, which provides a 360-degree view around the car so you can watch Park Assist automatically park for you.
With the Peugeot 3008’s Mirror Screen function, you can reproduce your smartphone screen on the car’s touch-screen to make calls, choose music, read and send text messages.
The function is compatible with Mirror Link protocols (Android smartphones), Android Auto and Apple Carplay (iPhone 5 onwards). And with a simple touch of a button on the steering wheel, you will enjoy the remote voice recognition function through the smartphone (Android Svoice and Apple Siri).
The cabin is simply wonderful to chill in. No stone has been left unturned in its design. There’s the factory-fitted Nappa leather and details like blue-hue ambient lighting in the cup holders, as well as a massage function for the driver’s seat.
Moment of inattentiveness? No worries, the 3008 will automatically brake if the car in front decelerates and there’s even Lane Keeping Assist to help you stay within your lane.
So it looks good and is chockful of tech and features, but how does it drive?
Well, get set to have your cake and eat it. There’s nothing fancy about the McPherson front and twist axle rear suspension but the tuning on the spring and dampers are just right. Not too soft to wallow around corners yet not too firm that low speed ride suffers.
The diesel variant I tested might have only 120hp but it feels light on its feet and faster than the 12.7sec century sprint time suggests.
The Peugeot 3008 manages to look chic and is chockful of uber-cool tech. That, to me, is a winning combination.
Visit autofrancesg.com to register your interest for the Peugeot 3008.