The evergreen Peugeot 2008 is a familiar sight on our roads, but can it still mix it with the new kids on the block in the hotly contested small crossover segment?
What is it?
Originally launched in 2013, the 2008 was refreshed in 2016 and is marketed as an SUV.
However, though it has a raised ride height, scuff plates and roof rails, it doesn’t have a four-wheel drive capability.
That said, it is blessed with Grip Control, a clever system which boosts traction in low-grip conditions in tandem with All Season Goodyear Vector tyres.
Grip Control optimises traction on the front wheels and you can choose your drive mode (standard, Snow, Mud, Sand and ESP Off) via a rotating dial situated next to the gear selector.
Priced from £16,495, the Peugeot 2008 SUV’s competitors include the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, plus the recently launched Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona and Citroen C3 Aircross.
It was awarded the 2017 Auto Express Driver Power Best Small SUV and there are four trim levels – Active, Allure, Allure Premium and GT Line. There’s also a good choice of economical petrol and diesel engines, plus manual and automatic transmission.
The 2008 still looks good and post 2016 updates include a new vertical front grille, bumper and lights, plus the addition of Grip Control and extra exterior colours.
The car is well built, and is generally stylish, fitting in with Peugeot’s more upmarket image.
It’s as well packaged as ever, with room for adults front and rear, plus the 1/3 – 2/3 rear seats flip down easily giving a generous boot capacity of between 410 – 1,400 litres. There are also plenty of small storage spaces.
The high driving position and cockpit will be familiar to other Peugeot SUV owners, but might take others by surprise. There’s a small steering wheel, while the instrument binnacle is set back just below the windscreen.
A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard throughout the range (including DAB) and it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Mirror Link. There are better quality screens out there, but it does the job.
If you want Grip Control and automatic dual zone air conditioning you will have to opt for Allure or above, or Allure Premium and above for a sat nav and the excellent panoramic roof.
The 2008 comes with two efficient petrol and diesel engines, both available in three power outputs.
The three-cylinder 1.2-litre PureTech petrol (badged 82, 110 and 130) is fastest if you opt for the 130, reaching 62mph from standstill in 9.3 seconds, while the most economical choice is the 82 (capable of 64.2mpg).
The 82 is ideal for town-driving, while the 110 is the best all-rounder. However, the 130 is the only petrol engine available as a six-speed manual or automatic (82 and 110 have five-speed manual gearboxes).
Emission levels are low for all three – ranging from 102-114g/km.
The BlueHDi diesel (75, 100 and 120) is one of the most economical engines on the market. It’s also willing and relatively refined, with low CO2 emissions ranging from 96g/km for the 120 to 97g/km for the two less powerful units.
All three diesels are capable of 76.3mpg, which is excellent, and – as ever – your engine choice will depend on whether you drive mainly in town or spend most of your time on motorways.
How does it drive?
I tested the top-of-the-range GT Line version of the Peugeot 2008, which is priced from £20,595, and is something of a revelation.
At first the small steering wheel and sporty driving position seem slightly strange for a fairly tall crossover, but you soon get used to it.
The 129bhp PureTech turbo petrol engine is a lively performer and thrummy in the best possible way.
With sharp steering and minimal body roll, it’s nimble and progress can be surprisingly brisk if you’re in the mood. The ride is on the firm side, but it’s never uncomfortable, and there’s plenty of grip. All in all, a thoroughly entertaining drive.
There are more refined cabins in its class, but it’s never obtrusive and it settles down nicely when cruising.
Thankfully my 2008 had Grip Control fitted and I was able to put it to the test in snow.
I was sceptical at first, but after selecting Snow mode it really did provide extra traction and I was one of the few front-wheel drive cars venturing out of our village. It’s no substitute for a 4×4, but it’s the next best thing.
The Peugeot 2008 has matured well and is still a stylishly distinctive, well-packaged, engaging alternative in a very competitive sector.