UPS | Frugal, comfortable and more fun than it looks
DOWNS | A handful of ergonomic quirks
OUR TIME WITH Peugeot’s 3008 was just drawing to a close when the hot hatch road trip featured in this edition was being planned, so naturally I was asked to bring my long-termer along as support vehicle. I say naturally because, as far as camera cars go, the 3008 diesel auto is as good as it gets. Its combination of thick torque and a slick gearbox make tracking shots a cinch. A split tailgate and fold-flat seating make the photographer’s life safer and easier, too. Plus, when things get entertaining, the car’s sprightly handling means it’s never too far behind the harder-driven test cars, even after a mountain pass.
The 400km road trip afforded loads of time – some of it parked alongside a lake – to reminisce about a vehicle that has proved its worth repeatedly over the last year as a family-friendly people mover, bicycle transporter and one-man commuter. Admittedly not the most exciting car to drive or look at, returning to it after brief spells in other machinery always felt like coming home to a familiar haven, a happy place.
While in our care, I covered nearly 17000 trouble-free kilometres, with the Peugeot proving an exceptionally comfortable companion thanks to well-shaped seats and an ergonomically sound driving position. I particularly appreciated the heated leather seats during the Cape’s icy winter mornings, as well as the dual-zone climate control, which coped admirably withkeeping the car’s large cabin volume equally icy on all but the most scorching of summer days, when it was merely cool. Many cars claim to have a panoramic roof, but at 1.6 square metres of glass, the 3008’s roof is worthy of the name. Watching the expressions on my daughter’s friends’ faces as the powered blind retracted, seemingly forever, was always fun.
I found plenty of other things to value about the Peugeot’s clever cabin, like the facia design with its toggle switches, chrome detailing and rotating head-up display, and the vast number of storage spaces of varying size and usefulness. Some, like those in the rear footwells, were never used. Others, like the chest freezer between the front seats and the watermelon-friendly door pockets, were used daily.
But perhaps the attribute we’ll miss most is the 3008’s meagre drinking habit. Over the year it averaged 7.66ℓ/100km. As the fuel price kept rocketing and one turbocharged petrol test car after another came through topCar’s door, knowing the Peugeot was using up to 40% less fuel to do the same job was truly enlightening. With everyday town and surrounds driving you can easily better 700km on a tankful. Granted, it’s not like you can drive like a conscience-free hoolatic – a blend of hooligan and lunatic invented by my nine-year-old while admonishing me – all the time, but you don’t need to drive like you have a hat on your head, a cellphone stuck to your ear or are turning 140 next June to achieve it either.
It hasn’t all been dreamy though, and there are a number of things we’d like fixed on the next 3008, apart from its awkward front-end styling. For starters, the central storage lid – hinged for left-hand drive – opens towards the driver. That particular cost saving versus irritation factor requires a rethink. Satellite controls hidden behind the steering wheel spokes aren’t clever, either. Those of you who may disagree with me, take note – Peugeot has abandoned the idea on newer models like the 508. The audio system, though Bluetooth-enabled with USB and Aux-in, is not optimised for iPod and has pokey buttons fit only for fingers far more elegant than mine.
But that’s it really. One or two initial quality fears proved unfounded, the cabin turned out to be as durable as it was comfortable, and the 20000km/12-month service it required was carried out as professionally and efficiently as could be hoped for. Though on that note, if it was our hard-earned purchase money, we’d opt to change the oil twice as often as technically stipulated, just to keep Herr Diesel sweet.
And so it’s time to say goodbye to the 3008, a car that exceeded all our expectations and kept on surprising with its talents, and in all probability will do the same for its new owner