Peugeot 2008 review
Paul Murrell’s Peugeot 2008 review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.
THE SUB-COPMPACT SUV MARKET IS BECOMING VERY CROWDED, and as each brand fights for a viable market share, small differences in styling, driving dynamics, equipment and price can make or break a new model.
Peugeot stakes its claim with eye-catching styling, an equally eye-catching entry price and enough pizzazz to stand out.
The 2008 is based on the Peugeot 208 hatchback, but it looks strikingly different thanks to muscular SUV styling. We know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in our opinion the 2008 has just the right degree of French chic.
Peugeot has addressed recent interior quality issues and the 2008 is right on the money. There are three trim levels, Active, Allure and Outdoor and even the entry level won’t disappoint. Once again, it’s French styling that comes to the fore, although it’s not all good news.
The steering wheel is a tiny, oddly-shaped item that feels like something pilfered from Xbox. It has to be small and sort-of-oval because the instrument panel is mounted high and you look at it over the top of the wheel. Although, when I raised it to my preferred position, it obscured the instruments. Frustrating.
The centre console is home to the dual climate controls (although the Active model only gets standard air con), 7-inch multi-function media centre, sat nav (optional on Active), USB connectors and Bluetooth.
Peugeot hasn’t held back on engine choices: there are two petrol variants and one diesel. The 1.2-litre petrol engine (4.9L/100km) is no tarmac-burner, as you’d expect, but gets the job done under most circumstances. Moving up to the 1.6-litre petrol engine (5.9-6.5L/100km) brings a welcome improvement in performance. When paired with the manual transmission, the 2008 can be stirred along, but the four-speed auto really is showing its age and tests the engine by making it work harder than it should.
The diesel engine (4.0L/100km) is only available in the top-of-the-range Outdoor model. Like all Peugeot diesels, this 1.6-litre unit can be a little hesitant off the mark. A drawback of the diesel variant is that there is no automatic option, which will limit its appeal for many potential buyers.
The 2008 is 67% 208, but it gains an additional 200mm in length and sits 96mm higher. Although the interior dimensions are not dramatically different, the 2008 feels airier and more spacious. The extra height delivers the lofty driving position so beloved of SUV buyers. Boot space is 410 litres with the rear seats in the upright position. Dropping them increases the space to 1400 litres and there are useful anchor points, retaining connectors and a cargo net.
The driving characteristics of the 2008 will suit most drivers perfectly. The suspension is ideally matched to the weight and the extra height doesn’t noticeably affect body roll.
When compared with the Nissan Juke, Holden Trax and Ford EcoSport, its natural competitors, the Peugeot feels a cut above. The material used on the dashboard, for instance, could equally happily adorn an Italian suit. However, on the example we tested the right hand daytime running lamp was inoperable, and the car had a mere 700km on the odometer.
The 2008 is well-equipped in standard form with 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, front and rear foglights, roof rails, daytime LED running lights and, with the 1.6-litre engine only, hill assist. Moving up to the mid-spec Allure, there is leather trim, heated front seats, sat nav, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, auto wiper and a full length glass roof.
The Outdoor variant is, as the name implies, aimed at those who want to make an occasional foray into the great outdoors. It will not want to be any more than occasional. The diesel engine provides the extra torque off-roading demands and the Grip Control traction control system delivers added peace of mind for off-road novices with snow, mud or sand modes plus the option of turning off the ESP system.
At the time of writing, the 2008 hadn’t been given an ANCAP rating but with six airbags, all the electronic aids (electronic stability control, traction control, ABS with brake assist, hill start assist and electronic brake force distribution), we anticipate a five-star rating.
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS
Smart, stylish and a good all-round performer, the 2008 should do well in a tough category. The three-cylinder $21,990 1.2-litre Active will draw people into showrooms, but we suspect not many will drive away in one, preferring the larger engine and auto transmission. And it’s a shame the diesel isn’t available across the range. Capped price servicing ($369 per year) and a five-year warranty should allay any fears of first-time Euro buyers about high running costs.