Peu­geot’s at­tack runs out of road

Off-roader plans have to wait, writes KEVIN HEP­WORTH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

AFRENCH as­sault on the lu­cra­tive com­pact off-roader seg­ment has stalled. Peu­geot’s plan to land its com­pact off-roader here has been de­layed for at least two years be­cause an all-wheel-drive ver­sion of the 3008 won’t ar­rive in Europe un­til 2011.

‘‘The plan is to have the 3008 on sale in the first quar­ter of next year . . . but it will be avail­able as a twowheel-drive model only,’’ Peu­geot Aus­tralia spokesman Mark McCart­ney says.

‘‘We are not call­ing that car an SUV but rather a cross­over that gives choices to peo­ple who may want more than what a medium hatch of­fers, but don’t want an SUV.

‘‘The 3008 is in a class of its own — it’s not a soft-roader, an SUV, a peo­ple mover or hatch­back. It bor­rows el­e­ments from all of those to cre­ate a some­what unique type of ve­hi­cle.’’

The 3008 sits on the smaller 308 hatch plat­form but with higher, wider and longer body­work and ex­tra ground clear­ance that gives the car the look of a par­tially-in­flated bal­loon, but does ben­e­fit in­te­rior space.

It has a range of clever stor­age so­lu­tions and acres of glass that give it an open, airy feel.

Lug­gage space is 1604 litres with the rear seats folded— use­ful, but less than in the wagon ver­sion of the 308.

Peu­geot Aus­tralia has yet to de­cide whether the 3008 will be avail­able here with the ad­justable ‘‘grip con­trol’’ that can in­crease or de­crease trac­tion and wheel­spin con­trol lev­els to each wheel.

McCart­ney says Peu­geot still wants an AWD in its lo­cal line-up but will have to wait un­til the diesel hy­brid 3008 ar­rives in two years.

Peu­geot Aus­tralia is ex­pected to pitch the 3008 as a highly spec­i­fied model rather than push it as a price leader in the seg­ment.

In Bri­tain the 3008 costs the equiv­a­lent of $29,500, un­der­cut­ting most of its ri­vals.

‘‘At this stage it isn’t pos­si­ble to say where the car will sit in the mar­ket or ex­actly what you would con­sider its com­peti­tor. It is such a dif­fer­ent type of car. It an­swers a lot of ques­tions for dif­fer­ent buy­ers who could be looking at sev­eral seg­ments,’’ McCart­ney says.

In Europe the 3008 goes head to head with the Nis­san Qashqai (Dualis in Aus­tralia), Re­nault’s Koleos, VW Tiguan and Ford Kuga.

En­gine choices will prob­a­bly be the same as for the 308: a 1.6-litre turbo petrol, nat­u­rally-as­pi­rated 1.6 petrol, 1.6-litre diesel or 2.0-litre diesel, all mated to a six-speed au­to­matic gear­box.

The 3008 has a five-star safety rat­ing from Euro NCAP.

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