The city-dwelling SUV is probably the toughest space for any car brand to compete in, but Peugeot has an ace up their sleeve in the 3008, which in this 2nd-gen guise has been with us since 2016 before being launched in Malaysia the next year.
A mid-cycle facelift has graced it following the 2020 model year which swiftly arrived in Malaysia under new local distributors Bermaz, who have offered it in sole 1.6T Allure trim for a cool RM161,616.
Locally assembled in Gurun at a newly repurposed Stellantis facility, the 3008 will lock horns with the biggest hitters that also dwell in the high-riding C-segment. Encounters with class veterans such as the Honda CR-V are inevitable, but newer challengers have also emerged such as the Proton X70 and Toyota Corolla Cross.
The Peugeot, any Peugeot, has always been the ‘left field’ choice for many Malaysians, but does choosing it over the more obvious rivals immediately imply some sort of compromise in order to be a little different?
2022 Peugeot 3008 Allure - Exterior
As much we in Southeast Asia might think of French cars as niche, they are pretty ubiquitous in Europe. Of that, the 3008 stands apart as the most popular model (by volume) that parent company Stellantis (previously the PSA Group) produces, which are the 4th largest automaker in the world.
The 3008 isn’t exactly the newest entrant into the compact SUV scene, but somehow still looks fresh next to the majority of its class competitors. In designing this 2nd-generation 3008, Peugeot spent a lot of time considering its style factor and that’s obvious even in 2022.
Only the front end has undergone any meaningful aesthetic alteration during the aforementioned facelift, adding a vertical ‘fang-like’ daytime running light (DRL) signature that’s now combined into the main front illumination cluster (with directional LED headlamps) in combination with a new grille pattern.
The quality and intricacy of metal surfacing at play here is something Peugeot should be proud of as it is lacking in most cars at this price bracket, with the possible exception of Mazda. You could poke holes in the argument and insist that the 3008 should have gotten a more thorough revamp, but it quite honestly needed no such treatment.
2022 Peugeot 3008 Allure - Interior
The 3008 is the most popular Peugeot the French automaker produces, and for good reason. Its combination of sharp looks, practicality and a certain ‘Joie de vivre’ seems to effectively snare buyers into a test drive where its interior boasts a similar wow factor.
The door opens into a cabin that feels immediately airier than its dimensions suggest thanks to that panoramic sunroof, but stepping inside the combination of materials and flowing dashboard layout endears it some legitimately premium vibes which carry into the evening when the ambient interior lighting comes into view.
Admittedly, the i-Cockpit will take some getting used to since you’re meant to view the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster above the abnormally small steering wheel instead of through it, but it’s otherwise rather logical and well thought-out despite its emphasis on style and flair.
Leather seats are standard and expectedly plush for all occupants with the driver and front passenger both receiving electric seats. However, a pain point would be the lack of thigh adjustment.
We found rear seat space and occupant comfort levels pretty impressive thanks to a completely flat floor and generous padding that equalled or exceeded the CR-V in terms of shoulder room and leg room with 3 adults sat abreast. Boot space is a commodious 591-litres but can expand to 1,670-litres with the 2nd-row seats folded down.
Practicality might not be the first thing someone thinks of when the 3008 comes to mind, but storage compartments are plentiful and large, especially the centre console cubby.
2022 Peugeot 3008 Allure - Engine & Powertrain
To the surprise of absolutely no one, this Peugeot utilises the brand’s enduring 1.6-litre THP ‘Prince’ turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine, which can trace its origin all the way back to 2006 when it was conceived as a joint development between PSA and BMW.
It has thankfully been through numerous evolutions over that time span and has received the International Engine of the Year award for its displacement bracket for an astonishing 8 years in a row. In this 3008, the unit produces 165PS and 240Nm. And yes, this is unchanged
Importantly, it claims to return 7.0-litres/100km on the NEDC test cycle with peak torque (the real reason any small displacement petrol engine is any good) at a decently early 1,400rpm.
2022 Peugeot 3008 Allure - Behind The Wheel
The 3008 is a bit of a mixed bag from behind the wheel. As an SUV and daily driver, it’s comfortable and plush and smooth and generally quite a refined experience that puts you in mind of more expensive cars, but there are certain characteristics that are not consistent with this on-road personality.
It’s 18-inch wheels are wrapped in Continental tyres with decently thick sidewalls but despite this the usually soft suspension can feel harsh over certain bumps and surface imperfections that meet a certain amplitude. This happens only very occasionally but you do become alert as to what kind of roads to steer clear of.
Secondly, though the exterior and interior styling hints at a more playful chassis, it feels quite numb to drive. The steering, through its undersized wheel, is very light even next to smaller city cars and similarly fast lock-to-lock. Precise and capable of quick manoeuvres, sure, but mostly void of tactile connection.
Still, performance from its 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol is expectedly punchy with a very usable peak torque (240Nm) range for smooth overtaking while maintaining above average mechanical refinement. It’s just too bad it’s paired to the older-gen 6-speed Aisin automatic that’s been with us for more than a decade instead of the newer 8-speed unit seen in Peugeots (even the 3008) sold in other markets, also sourced from Aisin.
The paddle shifters work well and look nice but the shifts themselves never feel any more hurried than they would without the manual override, which always favours slower gear changes with as little judder as it can muster.
2022 Peugeot 3008 Allure - Safety & Tech
Here, again, is an arena where the 3008 might stumble against some of its more established rivals. On the tech front, in terms of convenience in everyday driving, occupants are pretty well catered to with its 10-inch touchscreen and accompanying 12.3-inch driver’s display.
The interface is slick in its styling but isn’t the last word in intuitive operation as it took me a good little while to get to grips with functions. This doesn’t bode well given the fact that most infotainment and climate control functions are controlled by the touchscreen instead of conventional buttons and knobs (as it should be).
There seems to be an obvious intention to sacrifice some degree of ergonomic simplicity in favour of style and minimalism. There’s a number of other inconsistency issues as well, such as the very nicely integrated Qi wireless smartphone charger, but only a single and deeply recessed USB connection which, despite multiple attempts, I never got to work to enable Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
And yes, it definitely does have that feature built-in.
Despite including some welcome active safety features such as Blind Spot Monitoring, Driver Attention Warning and Lane Keep Assist, it misses out on Autonomous Emergency Braking, a cornerstone of any modern vehicle’s ADAS arsenal.
One could argue that Rear Cross Traffic Alert or a 360-degree camera system would be a better addition but with all the data that supports how potentially lifesaving AEB can be, it’s a glaring omission when even local contenders such as the Proton X50 and Perodua Ativa are now carrying it.
It definitely loses points next to its closest class rivals in this respect and could even be a dealbreaker to those who prioritise safety and expect it in their next car, which are a growing percentage of the car buying population.
There’s a lot to be said about the 3008 in Malaysia. Like it’s previous pre-facelift form, its competitors have not managed to match its inherent strengths, though some of its key weaknesses have not been addressed in full.
As a package, the Peugeot cannot be denied as a supremely rounded SUV, blending style and functionality, even performance and luxury in a way that leaves its contemporaries seemingly dull and uninspired by comparison.
However, there are compromises that, to some, could be insurmountable in the minds of would-be buyers. In this case, the spec sheet and value proposition comes tragically close to equalling the flair and the competence offered by rest of the 3008 experience, but ultimately falls short.