DRIVEN ➤ Peugeot 2008: Upmarket practicality & good value for money
By Wayne Gorrett
The three ‘Double-O’ models from French manufacturer Peugeot – 2008, 3008 and 5008 – seek to build on recent successes by off-spinning a wider model range from its core hatchback and saloon models. They represent diverse and alternative offerings in a seemingly insatiable but fiercely competitive crossover/SUV bull pit.
The smallest of Peugeot’s ‘Double-O’ family – the 2008 – is a compact five-door crossover. It competes in one of the most cluttered and fastest growing areas of the new car market and is manufactured at PSA’s Mulhouse plant in Alsace, France.
Originally launched in 2013 to replace the 207SW (Peugeot had no plans for an SW variant of the new 208), this restyled 2008 was introduced in early 2016. It goes head-to-head with rivals such as Nissan’s Juke, the Renault Captur, Citroen’s C4 Cactus and the Ford EcoSport, et al.
Riding high on the modular PSA PF1 platform currently deployed beneath the Citroen C4 Cactus, the Peugeot 2008 shares the same underpinnings as its smaller 208 hatchback sibling.
The refreshed 2008 was the first of Peugeot’s models to introduce the bold pug-nose front end with its new almost vertical grille, not unlike KIA’s new Sportage.
Both the lion emblem and ‘Peugeot’ lettering have been relocated from the bonnet to the grille, placing the 2008 in line with the brand’s heritage. The tail lights feature the now familiar claw LED light signature.
On the inside the refreshed 2008 shows little change. The dash switchgear is classy and the raised instrument binnacle and diminutive, multi-function steering wheel that make up Peugeot’s i-Cockpit are easy to get used to and is a Gallic quirk with which I’ve never had an issue.
While most of the upper cabin plastics have been upgraded, the same cannot be said of the coarse, scratchy plastics lower down. The seats remain stylish and roomy and four grown-ups will fit comfortably inside the 2008.
At 422 litres, the boot of the 2008 is a very decent size in comparison with many of its rivals. The rear seat upright is split 60/40 and when folded flat via a clever quick-release mechanism, a cavernous 1,400 litres of space becomes available, so the 2008 can still carry plenty of cargo.
Trim grades and equipment
It is currently available in four trim levels; the range-entry Active, Allure, Allure Premium and the visibly sportier GT Line.
All are very well-equipped and even the Active has air-con, colour touchscreen infotainment, a leather steering wheel, alloy wheels, cruise control and remote locking. Allure adds bigger 17-inch alloys, wheel arch extensions, climate control, rear parking sensors, electric rear windows, auto headlights and wipers, smarter interior trim and the Grip Control traction-enhancing device.
Allure Premium adds front and rear scuff plates, roof bars, a rear spoiler, panoramic glass roof with electric blind and ambient lighting, Mirror Screen / CarPlay / Android Auto, DAB digital radio, navigation, colour reversing camera, privacy glass,
The top-spec GT Line carries its sportier looks very well. It has black alloy wheels, a black chrome radiator grille and gloss black detailing throughout. Inside, there’s ambient lighting, aluminium sills and pedals along with contrast-stitched GT Line trim.
Engines and transmission line-up
The expansive range of petrol and diesel engines is definitely a 2008 strong point. On the petrol front, Peugeot’s award-winning 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder PureTech petrol engine is available in three states of tune – 82, 110 and 130hp – and has CO2 emissions ranging from 102 to 114g/km.
A super-efficient 1.5-litre 4-cylinder BlueHDi turbodiesel power plant is also available in two states of tune; 102 and 120hp, with CO2 emissions registered at 96 and 97g/km, respectively.
Of them all, my engine pick would be the stronger and more characterful 130hp turbocharged petrol engine. For a little three-pot, the performance is truly astonishing.
Five and six-speed manual gearboxes are available across the range, while the six-speed automatic is reserved for the two stronger petrol engines and the 120hp diesel.
Peugeot’s Grip Control optimises traction in low-grip conditions. Using the rotary dial located in the centre console, simply choose from standard mode, Mud, Sand, Snow or ESP Off. Grip Control is available on certain Allure models, but standard on all of the GT Line range.
Safety & Security
The refreshed Peugeot 2008 achieved five stars in the now tougher EuroNCAP crash test, ensuring the car is one of the safest in its class.
Standard safety kit across the 2008 range includes ESP with hill assist, ABS with electronic brake force distributor, emergency brake assist, automatic hazard light activation under emergency braking), child safety door locking, seatbelt alarm, six airbags, dual rear seat three-point ISOFIX location mounts, tyre pressure sensors and daytime running lights.
The full range is fitted with a Thatcham-approved Category 2 immobiliser, while an alarm is standard on all trims.
Ride and Handling
With its well-balanced chassis, there is a confident feel to the Peugeot 2008 when under way as it displays reasonably good road manners for a compact crossover and – depending on engine choice – a semi-decent turn of performance. It won’t set any records in the sports department, but it makes calm, controlled and civilised progress.
However, should an ‘enthusiastic’ mood take you, it feels grippy and entertaining through the twisty bits and while there is little body-roll to mention, a tad more lateral support in the driver’s seat would be welcome.
In a triumph of fashion over function, Peugeot has given the 2008 a chunky, aviation-like handbrake lever that both looks ridiculous and is ergonomically awkward to use. I would rather Peugeot deploy a conventional handbrake with a push-in button, or revert to the electronic device deployed elsewhere in the current Peugeot model range.
Numbers talk, particularly impressive ones. Peugeot has sold more than 780,000 2008’s around the world since 2013, with UK customers taking over 52,000 of them.
Peugeot has an immensely likeable car in the 2008 – particularly in the mid-range Allure trim. Its stylish appearance, comfortable cabin, expansive engine range, light off-road capability and good on-road handling continue to make this compact crossover an attractive proposition.
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