Peugeot 2008 long-term test review: report 1

The original Peugeot 2008 had few rivals when it was launched, but plenty of other cars have since stolen its thunder. Can this all-new version return to the top of the tree?...

Peugeot 2008 long-term test review

The car Peugeot 2008 GT 1.2L PureTech 130 EAT8 S&S Run by Alastair Clements, special contributor

Why it’s here The first-generation 2008 was a success story for Peugeot; will shifting this new model’s focus from utility to style dilute its appeal?

Needs to Do the impossible – match chic looks with ruggedness, and compact proportions with family-friendly space

Miles covered 515 Price £27,730 Target Price £26,331 Price as tested £30,695 Official economy 43.1mpg Test economy 30.3mpg Options fitted Vertigo Blue paint (£725), adaptive cruise control (£300), Semi-auto Park Assist (£250), Open & Go Keyless Entry (£350), Premium HiFi (£590), Panoramic opening glass roof (£750)

11 April 2021 – The Peugeot 2008 joins our fleet

Our growing environmental consciousness – and feelings of guilt from waltzing around our urban spaces in bloated off-road vehicles that were once the preserve of gentlemen farmers and gamekeepers – has persuaded many of us to consider downsizing. That trend has only been exacerbated by the impact of lockdown over the past year.

The consequence has been an explosion in the small SUV sector, with all the major manufacturers rushing to get a supermini-based 'soft-roader' to market as swiftly as possible. One of the first to make it was Peugeot in 2013 with its 2008, itself an evolution of the old 206 SW, which was a kind of halfway house between a traditional estate car and an SUV. 

Peugeot 2008 long-term test review

The model proved popular, selling more than a million units in Europe alone (helped by a mid-life facelift in 2016), and now the French manufacturer has launched the second-generation 2008. This new version, based on the Peugeot 208 small car and sharing technology with the DS3 Crossback and Vauxhall Mokka, swaps some of the utilitarian nature of the old model for a significant dose of style. But behind those sharp looks is a decent boot and a spacious rear passenger compartment, so it should still stack up as a family car. I’m 6ft 3in tall, and even with the driver’s seat positioned so that I am comfortable behind the wheel, I can still fit in behind in reasonable comfort, which is pretty remarkable for a car in this class.

Peugeot 2008 long-term test review

It’s available as a fully electric e-2008 as well as in diesel and petrol forms, and I have opted for the latter with the 1.2 PureTech motor in its most powerful state of tune, mated to Peugeot’s impressive eight-speed automatic gearbox. I’d tried that engine previously in the 2008’s much bigger brother, the 5008, so I knew I was in for a treat.

It feels as if we have lost many of the world’s most charismatic engines in the battle for a greener future, but this tiny but mighty unit defies the trend towards sterility. Mustering 129bhp and, more importantly, an amazing 170lb ft of torque from as low as 1750rpm, the characterful 1199cc turbocharged three-cylinder livewire gives the 2008 a delightfully effervescent nature. It revs eagerly and with a real turn of speed when called upon, aided by the slick-shifting automatic gearbox – although it can be a bit keen to hold on to a gear unless you give it a flick up a gear with the paddles mounted on the steering column.

Peugeot 2008 long-term test review

Unfortunately, opting for this specification also gives the 2008 a fairly hefty price-tag, particularly when mated to the GT trim level of my car, and with a few choice extras added for good measure it tips it over the £30k mark. That puts it in the firing line of more premium rivals such as the Audi Q2 or Mini Countryman, but it’s good to see Peugeot recognising that downsizing doesn’t mean having to give up on some of the ‘big car’ luxuries you might previously have enjoyed.

On first acquaintance, the 2008 certainly feels special, with its futuristic and brightly coloured interior styling and quality finishes. Space and equipment levels are hard to fault, and the signature tiny Peugeot wheel that you peer over to see the dials soon becomes second nature – although I still think it feels unpleasant to hold, much like the legendarily awful ‘Quartic’ steering wheel of the Austin Allegro.

Peugeot 2008 long-term test review

It’s also fairly fun to drive, largely thanks to that sparkling engine aided and abetted by light and responsive steering and well-contained body roll. On the negative side, the ride is pretty firm around town, and that oddly shaped wheel delivers no feedback at all to your fingertips, even by the standards of modern electric power steering systems.

Nonetheless, first impressions are that the 2008 has the quality to match that asking price. I look forward to finding out over the coming months whether the rest of the book lives up to the cover.

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