As it turned out, the two models were to be launched the next day.
The drive of the Peugeot 5008 and 3008 on the expressways as well as up and down the peak was revealing.
Some background first
Both SUVs are second-generation examples and have been facelifted, sharing many features in common and conform to the present brand identity.
When the current generation debuted in 2016, we had considered them stylish with premium aspirations. With the midcycle facelift, they have evolved to stay in the game with worthy rivals.
The 3008 is a five-seater, while the 5008 seats seven. With the 5008 selling at RM177,312 and the 3008 at RM161,617, there’s around RM16,000 price gap between them.
The facelifted models in Allure trim are locally assembled and are distributed by Bermaz Auto Alliance Sdn Bhd, which took over the brand from Naza Group’s Nasim Sdn Bhd.
Stellantis, of which Peugeot is part of, is fully in charge of production. It plans to sell the two models not only in Malaysia but export them to Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Outside and inside
While both SUVs share much in common, differences exist.
On the outside, they are differentiated by the rear body shape, rear doors, windows and rear hatch.
On the inside, the 5008 has the ability to fold and remove its third-row seats.
The second row of the 5008 also has a rear air vent blower control switch and the centre console storage volume is more.
A new frameless grille introduces a major aesthetic highlight, adding drama to the face, coupled with redesigned headlights.
You will also know this is the latest incarnation with the vertically angled LED daytime running lights that look like “fangs”, which double as signalling lights.
To make it obvious from the front, the model number is now affixed to the edge of the bonnet in line with the current Peugeot template.
The rear gets upgraded LED tail lights with a 3D-claw effect that are particularly appealing in their smoked housings. They also use sequential indicator lights unlike the front ones.
The 5008’s longish appearance makes it look more conservative when seen from the rear, while the 3008’s smaller proportions gets it the trendy vote.
On the flip side, the 5008’s advantage will always be the bigger interior space it offers especially for cargo.
Both SUVs ride on 18-inch wheels albeit of different designs.
They feature Peugeot’s digital i-Cockpit technology which comprises a 12.3-inch digital head-up cluster display, a compact steering wheel for improved driving dynamics, and a new 10-inch touchscreen colour display plus new seat stitchings.
Wireless charging and wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported.
Both SUVs arrive with a plethora of driving aids and safety features that include Active Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Speed Limit recognition, Blind Spot Monitoring, Advanced Grip Control and six airbags.
However, cruise control is not adaptive and autonomous emergency braking isn’t included.
Nothing has changed with the powertrain in the facelift.
The duo continue to use a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, which produces 165hp and 240Nm of torque.
It is paired with a quick-shifting, six-speed automatic and a 2WD drivetrain that sends power to the front axle.
At 1,595kg, the 5008 is 103kg heavier than the 3008.
But it felt more composed as it hit highway speeds or navigated the numerous turns on the way up Genting.
Comfort and quietness are its forte as the suspension is pliant enough to ride over rough surfaces without rattling its occupants.
The engine provides enough urge to swing the SUV up Genting and overtake slower vehicles but can get shrieky when pushed hard.
Braking in both SUVs is linear and progressive. That was amply demonstrated with the 3008 on the return leg when we had to do more intermittent braking downhill.
The 3008 is the more spirited of the duo, able to carve corners with more verve than its weightier sibling. Ride comfort and roadholding are on par with the 5008.
On balance, the few hours we had with the 5008 and 3008 have left a positive impression.
The SUVs boast stylistic flair and competent driving performance, marking them as sturdy contenders in the fight for market share.