FRENCH TREAT

Get past the looks of the 4008 and ... well, you can’t re­ally

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

Karla Pin­cott finds Peu­geot’s 4008 soft­roader goes bet­ter on the beaten track than tar­mac. It looks great in any ter­rain

level in a highly com­pet­i­tive field and about $5000 be­low the out­go­ing 4007.

Specs are yet to be fi­nalised but Peu­geot says it will ar­rive in two trim lev­els: Ac­tive on all driv­e­trains and Al­lure ONAWD only. Fea­tures will fol­low those al­ready on the 3008 that ar­rived about 18 months ago, with a de­cent help­ing of LEDS, auto lights and wipers, Blue­tooth, park­ing sen­sors, cruise, cli­mate con­trol air­con­di­tion­ing, sun­roof and 16-inch al­loys stan­dard.

Up-spec ex­am­ples will have leather and heated seats, dark­ened privacy glass, 18-inch wheels and touch­screen sat­nav.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tion will de­cide how close a ri­val the Mit­subishi ASX is. In this in­creas­ingly tough seg­ment, how­ever, the 4008 has to mea­sure up against the other Euro­pean com­pact SUVS, in­clud­ing thevw Tiguan, Re­nault Koleos and Skoda Yeti.

TECH­NOL­OGY

The 4007 it re­places is based on the Mit­subishi Out­lander but the 4008 starts from the Mit­subishi ASX plat­form, with changes to the un­der­pin­nings.

Steer­ing weight and speed load-up have been al­tered, the sus­pen­sion gets firmer springs and harder re­bound damp­ing, and the sta­bil­ity con­trol has been re­cal­i­brated.

It will go on sale here with a 2.0-litre, four-cylin­der that de­vel­ops 110kw/197nm. Out­put is de­liv­ered to the front or both axles via two trans­mis­sions, a five-speed man­ual or a CVT with six-speed man­ual mode and pad­dle-shifters on the steer­ing wheel.

It’s an eco­nom­i­cal lit­tle job in ev­ery ver­sion, with fuel fig­ures of 7.7L/100km for the 2WD man­ual and 7.9L for the AWD, the CVT adding 0.2L on each.

A con­sole dial switches the all-paw’s on-de­mand sys­tem be­tween 2WD/4WD/LOCK, with vary­ing serves of torque dished up to each axle as re­quested from 85 per cent max­i­mum at the front to 82 per cent max­i­mum at the rear in Lock.

DE­SIGN

It’s a stun­ner. From the sig­na­ture float­ing grille, sculpted lines and creases flow back on to the flanks, giv­ing the im­pres­sion of mo­tion even when stand­ing still.

The cut­line at the base of the rear pil­lar marks the changeover from Mit­subishi prod­uct— from the roof to the win­dowsills— to Peu­geot, which also had in­put into the doors of the shared prod­uct that be­came the ASX.

It’s a co­he­sive re­sult but the shapely nose gives the driver no clue as to where the cor­ners are. The pro­tec­tion of park­ing sen­sors will be a must.

The chic cabin has el­e­gant con­tours and finely judged amounts of ac­cent in me­tal or pi­ano black fin­ish.

The seats are con­toured and com­fort­able and it seems ev­ery sur­face and shape has been care­fully de­cided. It’s styled-up but not over­done, ac­ces­sorised but not ghetto-blinged.

In a word, it’s French.

SAFETY

It should also echo the 3008’s five-star ANCAP crash rat­ing, with seven airbags, sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trols and anti-lock brakes with ex­tra help for panic stops and to com­pen­sate for un­even loads.

DRIV­ING

Too many off-roader test drives never get off the road. Peu­geot did this one proud, dig­ging up some of the lo­cal Por­tuguese scenery and sculpt­ing it into a dirt fun park, com­plete with steep slopes (about 35 de­grees) and a healthy layer of loose sur­face.

The 4008 took to it with ease, show­ing theawd sys­tem and ramp an­gles are handy for week­end war­fare. At the fin­ish we were hop­ing the dark­en­ing sky would open so we could give it an­other shot gar­nished with mud. We’re bet­ting it would have been just as un­ruf­fled.

But to get to the great out­doors, most buy­ers will have to trek a great deal of high­way and we were con­cerned about the CVT’S per­for­mance at higher speeds. At 110km/h, it still has more to give for over­tak­ing but some

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