Dirty driving in a French car arouses the senses
THE first thing we checked in the 2017 European Car of the Year is whether it had a full size spare wheel.
It did, so the second thing we did was to take all five 15-inch alloy wheels out for a bit of dirty driving. We headed to what is arguably to the best-kept tourist secret in Msunduzi — the Karkloof Safari and Spa.
On the fast, smooth gravel road past Otto’s Bluff, the electronic stability programme allowed a spirited drive, but any attempt to get the back to step out a bit was met with a firm no from the digital wizardry that pulled the big Peugeot straight as soon as it detected lateral movement.
As with most modern cars, the system cannot be fully turned off.
Over the corrugations, the rear independent suspension is tuned for a soft ride, which can translate into harder bumps than the much firmer suspension of other cars in this price range. We were heading to a spa not only to get a feel for the Pug’s handling, but also to evaluation of the driver’s seat’s massaging ability. The Peugeot 3008 GT Line can give its driver five types of massages, with three different levels of pressure ranging from “cat’s paws” to “wave”.
We asked professional masseuse Saifon Sansuriya, who learned her craft in Thailand, to rate the seat’s abilities. She was not content to just sit in the Peugeot, and instead took us out on a mini game drive to show what Karkloof meant with the “Safari” part of their name. We did not attempt the 4x4 route to the Karkloof Falls, but stuck to the gravel roads until Sansuriya found a spot to park under the languid gaze of the resident giraffes.
There, the cat’s paws on the firm setting really impressed Sansuriya. “This is really nice! People may not want to come to our massage parlour with such a car!” she said.
The massaging seat is not the only sensory delight in this French car. Peugeot’s i-Cockpit in Amplify lights up the head-up digital instrument panel and sends the engine sound through the six speakers “to stimulate the experience on-board”, according the Peugeot. Then there are three fragrances on offer, all developed “to arouse the senses” in collaboration with Scentys and internaning One of the Karkloof Safari Spa’s giraffes looks on as masseuse Saifon Sansuriya tests the massaging seat. tionally renowned perfumer and Antoine Lie.
The cockpit is dominated by an eight-inch touch-screen, complimented by a 12,3-inch digital instrument display panel in front of the driver. The screen is digital and can be set to display ye olde dials or digital read outs, or the GPS map.
Flappy paddles behind the steering wheel integrated controls allows the driver to gear down seamlessly but the electronic automatic transmission is so smooth at one can just let the car get on with choosing the right cog for the moment.
A charge pad in the central console allows cellphones with the latest battery tech to recharge while laying on the pad, doing away with all the cables that clutter up a cabin.
The refrigerated glove box between the front seats is huge — one can easily fit four two-litre bottles in there, while the gorgeously stitched rear seats are as comfortable as those in front. The only possible improvement Peugeot could make to the rear seats would be to add a recline function.
A 12 Volt power socket allows the teens (you would not want toddlers besmirching that pretty stitching) to power those phones that do not recharge on the charge pad.
Our favourite gizmo at night was the mood lighting, but the lights outside are even more impressive.
The fog lights provide cornering assist, the head lights are full LED, with day-time run- lights front and rear that differentiate this SUV from all the other very similar profiled vehicles out there.
The 3008 GT Line does not just compete with other SUVs, as buyers will look at any big car selling for R519 900.
This includes a three-year or 100 000km warranty and a fouryear or 60 000km service plan.
At the time of print, the same money could buy a Ford Ranger 3,2 TDCi Wlldtrack, in auto or 4x4, a Toyota Fortuner 2,8 or VW Tiquan Allspace 1,4 TSI. But none of these offer a scented cockpit that also massages.
This is not so a car, but a perfumed massage parlour engineered by a French company so that it will not step out of line when taken for a bit of dirty driving.