Peugeot 4008: Who’s A Sexy Boy Then?

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Peugeot have really been pushing their 4008 over the last few weeks. The TV ad shows a couple of chaps dreamily into the distance where a 4008 can be seen doing what sexy blokes do in 4 wheel drives on weekends. They imagine themselves and a friend doing rugged outdoorsy type things. It’s quite a good ad. Peugeot through a stage where the cars suffered a bad case of Ho-Hum-ness but the new bunch are a bit different. We have the drop-dead gorgeous RCZ, the handsome 508 and now the chunky 4008 SUV. The tonka-toy looks, great interior space, smooth drive and excellent 4WD make the 4008 and genuine town-car-off-roader. For most of us, we only need enough room for the dawgs, a couple of shopping bags or a very special friend. 4008 can do that with knobs on.

(The last time I enjoyed a Peugeot ad was the 206. I found the 206 ad on the internet, sent it to Peugeot secret western Sydney location, just off Parramatta Road at Auburn, and before I knew it the 206 ad was on TV. I thought you might enjoy a quick stickybeak at it.)

OUTSIDE:

Our test car was the top draw model with the fat 18” wheels that enhance the boy-racer looks. The aggressive design language starts at the front and continues right through to the deliciously pert rump where the highset tail-lights look reminiscent of the stunning new 508 sedan. The slope of the roof rearward takes away from some of the slab-sidedness that most SUV’s suffer from and lends a certain sporty look to what would otherwise be a terribly run of the mill car. It’s unclear to me why we boys like the toy-like stance on a motor vehicle but all the vehicles that have such a look sell very well, take the delectable Range Rover Evoque for example.

The bling-bling headlights have the addition of eye-popping Xenon and a couple of tasteful LED daytime running lights for good measure. Most carmakers add these for safety but I have a feeling it’s more for the Look-At-Me appearance. It gives you no end of gravitas at the lights because not only does it give the front of your car an impression that it’s growling and flicking its tail, but that when it pounces, the pedestrians had better scatter like like seeds in the wind. Did you know the 4008 shares DNA with the slightly longer 4007? No? Well they do, moreover they share a rather close relationship with the Mitsubishi outlander and ASX. The 4008 shares more than a mere platform, it’s the same car with modified front and rear ends. The doors are identical but all other bodywork is unique to Peugeot and in my opinion looks a better than the Mitsubishi. There’s a booty-load of chrome to keep clean for those who like to pleasure themselves by making their bright-work gleam. You’ll notice the new corporate front end is also chromed to within an inch of its life where the bling has been lavished with gay abandon.

The exterior has gorgeous proportions which are hard manage on a bulky SUV and as I mentioned already, something the Range Rover Evoque did with great aplomb. There is no doubt that when you see the Mitsubishi alongside the 4008 you’ll notice the family resemblance but the spit and polish of the 4008 has given the French option just a little more road presence. All in all I love it, which is not something I normally say about 4X4’s.

This pudding has not been overbaked.

Inside:

I like most of what I see. The interior isn’t precious because it’s meant to be used and even the leather can be given a once over with a moist cloth to get off any bits of your weekend still residing thereon. To really get your bushbashing juices flowing, there is a generously proportioned knob clearly marked 2WD, 4WD and LOCK to flip-flop between modes while on the go. We didn’t take it off-raod because you probably won’t do anything more taxing than a gravel drive. Like most 4WD owners, a gravel drive of a slightly damp country lane is the most difficult thing you’ll do.

The layout is well thought out and for the most part is well made. Many of the controls have a chunky feel which gives an impression of ruggedness which is just want the sexy, out doorsy, hairy chested weekend warrior wants. Some of the knobs have that ghastly chromed plastic trim which never holds up as promised. You can bet your fake tan that the first time your ring finger hits it, a bit of chrome will come away. Despite all that the cabin feels roomy, comfy and above all welcoming. The electrically adjusted seats have acres of cow too. Although I would not pay extra for leather, it’s always nice to see it included. It does matter when it comes time to sell your car because you won’t get more money for your car but your 2nd hand buyers will naturally gravitate towards well maintained leather over fabric every time so your car is easier to move on.

As with the 4007, the 4008 is more Mitsubishi than Peugeot which is not to say that it feels second rate in any way, just not quite what I’d expect from a premium Eurocar maker. At least Peugeot has shoehorned a shedload of extras in, especially on the top model. Although we didn’t have the GPS option, the infotainment system did the trick but I’d beef up the speakers for a bit of extra bang. Importantly it’s all easy to use. The voice guided bluetooth connection takes a bit of getting used to but once mastered it’s a breeze. When paired, your phone will be picked up every time you start the car. You can take, make and screen calls as well as stream a few of your favourite tunes via bluetooth without having to plug your phone in. Mind you charging while in the car is a better idea either via the USB of 12 volt outlet. Because there is no inbuilt Satnav as standard, you may want to use the one on your iPhone. Remember you must disconnect from the bluetooth and/or USB if you want to listen to your car radio while navigating. The phone will always want to send spoken instructions via the car’s speakers when it’s connected to the system, A better option is to simply tune the stereo to stream music from your phone, that way you get the music and navigation instructions via the car speakers. People often complain that they get no noise from their phone when they start Navigon or TomTom. You iPhone Satnav will usually give you street name directions which is something inbuilt GPS systems almost never do.

On the subject of equipment, noticeably absent was the reversing camera which is an unforgiveable oversight in any SUV. Although the visibility is pretty good in all directions, it’s still a big, highset vehicle. There is no way for even the most capable driver to see what’s below the bottom of the rear window. When installed, the LCD monitor is in the rear-view mirror. It’s not my favourite spot for the lcd screen because it can only ever be as big as the height of the mirror. Yes you can see something big behind you but you certainly can’t do any fine work such as very tight parking. As you get older and need reading glasses, you’ll find postage-stamp size screens to be almost useless.

Before we head onto the open road I thought I’d mention the cargo space of which there is much. It’s not a full sized SUV so there isn’t a football-field sized boot, but there is plenty of room for a couple of large dawgs, or large bags, or large anything else you fancyr. The rear seats don’t take a science degree and six double joints to manipulate either. You can lower them with one hand tied behind your back and raising them is as easy.

Now you’ve thrown your gear in the back and your hunny in the front, you’re ready to set off…

The Drive:

The TV ad shows a couple of blokes dreaming a little dream, but the second you set off you notice the CVT auto. I’m sorry but the letters C, V and T do not spell sporty and should never been used in relation to an automobile of any kind. They are awful, so DON”T DO IT. Since Peugeot doesn’t have a CVT in its spare parts bin I can only assume this is an adopted child born of Mitsubishi loins. Give me a manual or regular auto every time. I’m not sure why there is an obsession with CVT of a sudden and can only think it is money and the saving thereof. At least it doesn’t have the god-awful semi-auto of the 508 eHDI, the most horrible transmission ever invented and should be ground to dust and spread to the four corners of the Earth, then forgotten.

The Goldilocks steering is not too heavy, not too light and is fine in the confines of the local Coles carpark however on the open road I’d like a little more feeling, but this is a problem common to most SUV’s. Given Peugeot Australia’s penchant for oil burners, I’m shocked, neigh dismayed that there is no diesel option. There is a diesel option elsewhere in the world but here in OZ it’s not on offer. They say it because the diesel engine only comes with a manual gearbox, but surely that’s a good thing?

On the subject of the mode of the propulsion, the modest 110 KW power plant has to haul round a big 1470KG body and frankly it needs a blower desperately. There is just not enough oomph and the CVT seems to sap the life out of the experience. The addition of a teeny tiny turbo and a big butch manual gear box and the 4008 would be fabulous.

There is no doubt it drives better than some SUV’s on the open road but It lacks the car-like feel of the BMW X3. Our top of the range car had 4WD but the entry level can come as a 2WD which surely defeats the purpose of an SUV. I’ve noticed this creeping in to a lot of small to medium SUV’s and for the life of me I can’t understand why they do it. Surely you’d be better off buying a sporty wagon which drives better, looks better, costs less and uses less fuel so there must be another reason the option is available. Every car maker has told me the same thing, “we do it because most people don’t take them off road”. There you have it.

The ad shows the 4008 being pushed through a picturesque winding country however I wouldn’t describe the drive as sporty, but it is competent, comfy and roomy. The 4008 drives well, looks good and is priced keenly. Consider this, Toyota’s gorgeous FJ Cruiser is 50k on the road and has far fewer gadgety goodies included. It’s just a thought.

Conclusion:

It looks fabulous and is well priced but doesn’t have quite the quality feel you expect from a Peugeot. It’s a great effort that is fit for purpose. The interior isn’t too precious so you could do a bit of easy off-roading if you wanted to.

Interior 6/10

Exterior 8/10

Engine 6/10

Gearbox 5/10

Value 8/10

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