French carmaker's mid-size crossover gets a mid-life refresh with visual tweaks and new equipment
Peugeot updates crossover The Peugeot 3008 sports angular headlight and tail-light clusters and an infotainment system with a screen that folds flush with the dashboard when not in use. -- PHOTO: ZAPHS ZHANG

The "middle child" in Peugeot's family of crossovers - a sort of halfway house between a regular passenger car and a sport utility vehicle (SUV) - has just received an update.

The 3008 loosely resembles the 308 hatchback on which it is based, but in an effort to ape an SUV to some degree, the 3008 is 137mm taller than the 308.

However, this is not exactly news - this 3008 is largely the same as the one that was launched in 2010, but with a few tweaks, most of them cosmetic.

The newcomer sports Peugeot's current corporate "face", with the angular headlight and tail-light clusters (featuring LED lighting) making it look less cutesy than its predecessor.

Inside the cabin, most of the switchgear and amenities (including the head-up display and panoramic glass roof) have been carried over wholesale.

What is new, however, is its infotainment system, which sports a screen that folds flush with the dashboard when not in use. Along with that, other new "toys" that come standard with the updated 3008 are a satellite navigation system and a reverse camera.

The biggest carry-over is the 3008's drivetrain, a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel with 115bhp mated to a six-speed automated manual gearbox (electronics actuate the clutch instead of the driver's left foot).

While the engine is useful, delivering plenty of in-gear punch (if sounding a little agricultural while at it), thanks to its 270Nm of torque, the transmission leaves something to be desired. It has neither the smoothness of a conventional automatic nor the swiftness of a dual-clutch gearbox.

For the uninitiated, the car is bound to induce motion sickness as it lurches around, a phenomenon particularly apparent during low-speed city driving.

It is possible, though, to work around the 3008's clunky transmission.

When I took matters into my own hands (literally, with the paddle shifters mounted behind the wheel) and performed the gear-changing "manually", releasing the throttle just before shifting up, as I would with a manual gearbox-equipped vehicle, it made for far smoother progress than if the 3008 drivetrain was left to its own devices.

There are a few other niggles as well, such as the central storage box. While there is an appreciably generous amount of storage space inside, the box is hinged on the right side and opens on the left, so locating items therein is an inconvenience for the driver.

Of course, this French crossover has its share of merits. It handles in a surprisingly tidy fashion and consumed 7.5 litres/100km of diesel on average during my time with it.

Granted, that is some way off Peugeot's official claim of 4.2 litres/100km, but then again, I was hardly conservative with the throttle input and the air-conditioning output.

So, the 3008 lacks polish in a few areas, but its amount of standard equipment is impressive, it is hugely practical (it holds a maximum of 1,604 litres of cargo and has a clever split-folding tailgate), it is remarkably frugal and, best of all, it is keenly priced.

Including COE and a $15,000 Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme rebate, the 3008 costs $141,900, which should help it find some favour among buyers looking for frugality and practicality (plus a little Gallic flair) in equal measure.

CAR INFORMATION

Peugeot 3008 Diesel 1.6 e-HDi ETG (A)

Price

:$112,900

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1,560 cc

Horsepower

:

113 bhp / 3,600 rpm

Torque

:

270 Nm / 1,750 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A) ETG

Acceleration

:

12.6 sec (0-100 km/h)

Top Speed

:

183 km/h