Peugeot 2008 long-term test review
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?...
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
Mileage 2174 Price £28,065 Target Price £26,644 Price as tested £30,695 Official economy 43.1mpg Test economy 30.5mpg Total running costs (excluding depreciation) £325.77 Dealer price now £23,963 Private price now £21,300 Trade-in price now £21,335
28 June 2021 – Farewell to our Peugeot 2008
Moving from a mid-sized family car to a small SUV after my previous Mazda CX-30, I had expected to be making some significant compromises, but my conclusion after three months with the Peugeot 2008 is that this little wagon is small but almost perfectly formed.
Why the ‘almost’? Mainly because there have been a few frustrations with the car – the odd electronic niggle as I reported in an earlier update, and the annoying relationship between the start-stop system and the eight-speed automatic gearbox of my car that means it can take a bit of ballet on the pedals to avoid rolling backwards on hills.
I’d also have liked it to be a bit more fun to drive. 'Sport' mode sharpens the accelerator response, but makes things all a little too frantic for my liking – though the gearbox responds well to manual shifts in this state, using the well-sited paddles behind the steering wheel. I realise that this class is hardly one where Lewis Hamilton wannabes will tend to shop, but one of the joys of smaller cars is their eagerness and agility, and the 2008 quickly loses its composure if you press on, particularly over mid-corner bumps which can cause it to skip violently.
That’s down to the firm ride, which can be a bit harsh and noisy around town, upsetting the sense of a big car made small that this car otherwise achieves so cleverly. Nor am I wild about the over-light and artificial-feeling steering, and the awkwardly shaped wheel, though I quickly became accustomed to the slightly odd driving position, looking over rather than through the wheel at the clear and stylish dashboard.
None of these gripes could mar the impression of a particularly well-conceived all-rounder. The trick this car performs most effectively is the ‘small on the outside, huge on the inside’ illusion: around town it feels nippy, compact and easy to park, yet occupants never complained of a lack of space in the front or the back, and the seats are supportive and well shaped.
Only in the reduced luggage space does it reveal its small dimensions, yet even then it’s flexible and has useful touches such as the false floor that can be held up out the way while you load the boot.
Another clever addition is the sophisticated ‘Open & Go’ optional keyless locking fitted to my car, a £350 extra. It means you can leave the keys in your pocket and it automatically unlocks as you approach then locks as you walk away – brilliant, unless you happen to need to keep walking past, when the constant beeping can get annoying.
Mainly due to lockdown dominating my time with the car, a lot of my driving was restricted to town duties. That in part explains the lowly overall fuel consumption figure, but it’s still disappointing for such a small engine, at just 1.2 litres and three cylinders. On the flipside, it’s a very engaging and characterful unit, giving a decent turn of pace – albeit a little noisy when pressed hard.
And that engaging nature is reflected in many aspects of life with the 2008: it’s a willing and lively companion, if not always a completely relaxing one, and it’s a car that has drawn many a compliment from friends. The styling takes plenty of cues from the upmarket Audi Q2, not least in the crisp drawing of the rear haunches, and the combination of those sharp looks and the generous spec of my car’s GT trim goes a long way towards justifying the fairly hefty price-tag.
With cars such as this increasingly being chosen by buyers looking to downsize, that strong price becomes less of a concern if the model in question manages to offer many of the ‘big car’ luxuries those buyers had grown accustomed to, and it’s here that the 2008 really scores. It’s spacious, comfortable, fast, with that all-important SUV raised driving position, and packed with the little luxuries expected of a class above, yet all in a compact footprint.
Best small SUVs 2022
Thinking of buying a new small SUV? Then make sure you read our countdown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector – plus, find out which ones we'd avoid
2022 Seat Arona long-term test review
When it first went on sale, the Seat Arona was the best small SUV around, but it's been surpassed by other cars. Has a recent mid-life facelift put the Arona back on top? We're living with one to find out