Cars & Gadgets

By European Standards, This Is the 2017 European Car of the Year

How do you get voted European car of the year? The Peugeot 3008 has all the answers.
IMAGE COURTESY OF PEUGEOT
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When even the most exotic car marques get out of their comfort zones and start making SUVs, you know that’s where the money is. A British carmaker can claim to be the most expensive, a Japanese one, the fastest, and perhaps an Italian one—even though it is still in development—the most desirable. But when it comes to the combination of style, interior design, and proven performance, a panel of 58 European journalists has spoken: the Peugeot 3008 is the 2017 European Car of the Year.

It’s the fifth time the French carmaker has taken the honor, but this marks the first time in the award’s 53 year history that it’s been given to an SUV. As Peugeot began its operations in the country not that long ago, many have yet to discover the 3008, a compact sport utility vehicle that launched in 2009. After eight years, the time was right for a revamp, and today’s model marks the start of the second generation.

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The all-new 3008 is bigger, sharper, and more polished than its predecessor.

The new, much larger 3008’s exterior has undergone an impressive makeover—the front radiator grille gets a healthy, yet not too flashy, dose of chrome, matched by its sharper, more angular lines. This shape goes beyond aesthetics; in wind tunnel testing it’s been proven to aid the 3008’s aerodynamics, having a drag coefficient of only 0.296. In real world terms, that means better fewer trips to the gas pump and lower carbon emissions. Beneath the HID headlights is a unique design touch, the boomerang-shaped inserts that frame the powerful fog lamps. For the rear, one wonders if the taillights, similar to those on the 308 and 508 models, are inspired by the three vertical stripes of a popular German sportswear brand.

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For the interiors, the carmaker likes to parade its state-of-the-art Peugeot i-Cockpit, which makes driving feel more intuitive. A 12.3-inch heads-up digital display shows important driving information in a small area right on the windscreen, so you never have to take your eyes away from the road. Here you can view your speed, cruise control settings and, if enabled, the distance alert function, which warns you if you’re getting too close to other cars on the road. An 8-inch touch screen is at the heart of the dashboard control, which is easy to operate thanks to the ergonomic “piano key” function buttons. Make your selection to control your navigation apps, music or video entertainment options, or make a hands-free phone call.

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THE LION’S ROAR
The three-striped taillights; views inside the i-Cockpit; sliding open the sunroof.

Among the SUV’s best features are the most practical ones, including the no-frills rear parking assist, the handbrake that engages automatically when the vehicle comes to a stop, and the Hill Assist function, which is a godsend in Manila’s stop-and-go traffic. You’ll love it best when you come to crawl while on an incline. The Hill Assist automatically holds your car in place so there’s no danger of sliding back down, even if you don’t step on the brake. Combine that with the SUV’s cruise control—which gets you back to your preferred driving speed—and you can say goodbye to leg cramps for good.

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In Europe, the 3008 comes in a choice of three engine sizes, from 1.2 to 2.0 liters, and with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. How does it perform? Well, a slightly modified version, the 3008 DKR, swept the first, second, and third spots at the recently concluded Dakar Rally, proving its power, durability, and roadworthiness, successfully defending the crown won by its first-generation predecessor. Going over Manila’s notorious potholes should prove tame by comparison. To that end, Peugeot’s Dynamic Rolling Control is called upon, as this hydraulic rear shock absorber system promises better road handling, grip, and comfort. It’s got our vote for sure. peugeot.ph.

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Pierre A. Calasanz
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