Back-to-Back. Head-to-Head. And Maybe Even Toe-to-Toe…
It could be a reference to McCann’s difficulties getting in to the new Disco, but take your seats as two newcomers slug it out in an unlikely contest.
On the face of it, this knockout fight is a mismatched contest. A middleweight newcomer against an established heavyweight. Surely the winner is obvious from the first punch? But think again! Here’s why…
Thanks to a young lady who was (allegedly) more interested in looking at the screen of her ‘phone than through the screen of her car, I found a small Ford car parked on my back seat as I was sitting in a queue of stationary motorway traffic recently, so while I wait to see if I need to buy a replacement vehicle I find myself behind the wheel of the latest Mk V Land Rover Discovery.
Meanwhile, elsewhere at my home is Peugeot’s brand new 3008 SUV. And while the two vehicles are – at first glance – far from rivals, since I found myself considering both I guess that means that - in my house at least – rivals is exactly what they are!
So how do they shape up head-to-head?
Round 1: Space
The Disco is B-I-G and has three rows of seats and a big boot out back, so this one is first punch to Landy. But when I needed to take a load of stuff to the tip I struggled for 15 minutes in the rain trying to fold the Disco’s rear seats (not having the dedicated smartphone app that apparently helps. Yes really…)
The Pug, on the other hand, needed just one press of a lever and down came the seat. Simples. So we’ll give round one to Landy while carrying a few Pug-points over into user-friendliness.
Round 2: Driving, Refinement and Safety
The 3008 rides beautifully and the engine is lusty and raspy in a good way – but you’re aware that it’s busy. The Disco is quiet. It’s smooth. It’s lovely. The driving position is lofty and – while NCAP safety love the Pug – I only need to look at my own Range Rover after the crash to know which car I’d sooner have around me when the going gets rough. Disco performance is a reasonable 0-60 in about 9 seconds but much of the time you wouldn’t really want such a tall, wide car to be any quicker! The Peugeot meanwhile is a pocket rocket. Tricky one but the Landy jabs home this round on points. Round 2 to DiscoBoy.
Round 3: Living with ‘em! - Ease of use
In order to drive, first of all one must get in. Sadly that basic task is a (literal) headache in the Disco. The sloping A-pillar for the windscreen may look stylish and OK so my neck and shoulders are hurting from the crash, but even my passengers moaned how they needed to thread their head in first and limbo their legs in after – c’mon lads it’s a Landy not a flippin’ E-Type so how hard do you need to make it to jump in and out?
On this one basic and vital factor alone I could not live with this car for long.
If you’re planning to tow a horse box or go off-road then the Landy will laugh all over the Pug. No contest. But most Discos I see are either belting down my quiet lane at twice the speed limit or blocking the road when the schools turn out. No horses, no mud. So real-world is more about what it’s like to live with, and ergonomically the LR is a mess. After a week I still felt like a stranger to the controls. Press a button unwisely without parking up and reading the manual and you’ll lose the radio or the satnav. But the cruise is still a lesson to all other manufacturers in how to do it. Sadly cruise alone cannot win the day. In the 3008 just a touch and press of the thumbwheels or a flick of a switch and I was changing the instrument layout and scrolling through the DAB radio channels just minutes after driving the car for the first time and feeling like it was an old friend. Round 3. Easy victory to El Puggo
Round 4: Quality
Surely a walk-over for the Disco you’d say with its acres of leather? Mmm… yes the animal hides are much in evidence but dyed white and with bizarre orange stitching on the (grey exterior) test vehicle. Flash cash but no class.
The Pug was less expensive but felt equally upmarket with tweed panels and classy coverings that looked as though they’d last the course. Round 4. Shock verdict – this round goes on points to The Pugster
Round 5: Image
‘Oh image doesn’t matter!’ Really? Where resale value on a £40,000 purchase depends upon buyer image. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that but oh my word isn’t the Disco plug-ugly? The Mk V’s looks can’t be an accident surely? I mean someone has actually intentionally designed it to be this awful. I just don’t get it.
Enter the 3008 which from any angle is an attractive thing. Peugeot had to have a winner with this car and they’ve taken no chances. Ok so Pugs don’t have the best reputation for reliability (although the last couple of years has seen the marque climbing in the charts) but since the LR has usually occupied bottom slot for failures in most surveys there’s nothing to be proud of there either. Range Rover is still seen as a top brand but not the Disco. Verdict: A tie.
OK now. Deep breath. Two rounds and a tie to Landy. Two and a tie to Peugeot. As they enter the ring for the last round they’re both hurting, but both still confident. Seconds out!
Round 6: Costs
Don’t walk into a Land Rover dealer’s showroom to buy a Disco without cash or finance that can fund a MINIMUM of £46,000. And as you drive away that 3.0 diesel will be drinking fuel at the rate of about 39mpg. Plus you’ll need to keep your foot planted if you’re going to make good progress. Insurance could be as high as group 40. 16 for the Peugeot
Expect to drive away in a 3008 for around twenty-five ‘large’. Even in its most highly specified guise the Pug will cost £37,000, well behind the Landie. 50mpg will be the worst you’ll get and the greenest version should top an astonishing 70 mpg if you’re steady. Last round. Pug walks it.
Unbelievable! After six punishing rounds the Disco isn’t looking anywhere nearly as smug as when it first entered the ring. The 3008, meanwhile, is taking applause from the very people who were jeering not 15 minutes ago. How fickle we are.