D-road tamer

Dirty driv­ing in a French car arouses the senses

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN and SHAY KALIK

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.

Giz­mos in­side

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.

The com­pe­ti­tion

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.

PHO­TOS: AL­WYN VILJOEN

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.