After a slow start, Peugeot seems intent on creating a crossover version of every model in its portfolio.
Base price: $33,990.
Powertrain and performance: 1.6-litre petrol four, 88kW/160Nm, 4-speed automatic, front-drive, Combined economy 6.5 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 9.5 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4159mm long, 1556mm high, luggage capacity 360 litres, fuel tank 50 litres, 16-inch alloy wheels.
We like: Styling, handling, feels like a quality car.
We don’t like: Indecisive four-speed automatic, some cabin details a bit cheesy.
How it rates: 8/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
After a slow start, Peugeot seems intent on creating a crossover version of every model in its portfolio. The latest is the 2008 – essentially a station wagon version of the 208 hatchback, with raised ride height and some mildly macho styling detail. Over 70 percent of parts are shared between the two models. So the 2008 is the new baby of Peugeot’s crossover lineup. It sits beneath the 3008 (based on the 308) and the flagship 508-based RXH hybrid.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Exactly like a 208 and with good reason. While the 2008 may have the look of an off-roader, it has none of the mud-plugging aspirations: power comes from the same (very good) 1.6-litre engine as the 208 and drive goes to the front wheels only. This is an urban express and don’t you forget it. Having said that, the 2008 is a neat piece of work: good steering, a fluid chassis and compliant ride (a little more so than the 208, thanks to the 165mm extra ride height). It’s actually one of the more enjoyable small cars to pedal along a winding road. But there is controversy surrounding the 2008’s transmission. While many other small cars have moved to five, six and even seven-speed gearboxes, the 2008 soldiers on with a four-speeder. Critics argue that’s not good enough for a new-generation car, especially one with modest power outputs. Good point. Peugeot argues that this is not the only model with such a transmission in the segment and points to the car’s adequate performance and excellent fuel economy. Good points also. For what it’s worth, we’d argue that the problem with the 2008’s gearbox is not so much the number of ratios as the erratic shift protocols. The French are famous for making hyperactive automatics and this is certainly one of them: part-throttle changes are often clunky and any hint of enthusiasm with the go-pedal results in a transmission that suddenly wants to rev to the redline in every gear. That’s a shame, because put the transmission aside and the 2008 is a highly polished car on the road. But please stick to the road.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH?
The 2008 is beautifully finished inside (the cabin is almost identical to the 208) but has its idiosyncrasies. The driving position is deliberately unusual: there’s a two-level dashboard and a tiny steering wheel that sits low, almost in your lap. The idea is that you look over the top of it to the dials, rather than through it. Presumably you’d get used to it if you happened to drive a 2008 every day. It’s certainly original. As is much of the rest of the cabin layout. The console is dominated by a large multimedia touch screen, which handles all of the audio and sat-nav (a worthwhile $750 option) functions. The 2008/208 is a car that prides itself on looking forward. There’s no CD player for example, simply a USB plug for your portable music storage or iPod. There are places where the detailing goes a bit Blade Runner, like the lurid blue LED lighting that runs around the edge of the glass panoramic roof on the top Allure model. The jury’s out on whether the 2008 cabin has what you could call flair; you could argue it’s more fantasy styling. At the very least, it’s fun.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
Supermini-sized crossovers are an emerging trend in New Zealand, with the likes of the Holden Trax and forthcoming Ford EcoSport intent on making a big impression. In that kind of company the Peugeot 2008 stacks up really well on price, styling and a genuine sense of quality in the cabin. It should certainly be on your shopping list.
Air conditioning: Climate
Audio: USB/iPod compatible
Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
Blind spot warning: No
Cruise control: Yes
Driver footrest: Yes
Gas discharge headlights: No
Head-up display: No
Heated/ventilated seats: No
Keyless entry/start: No
Lane guidance: No
Leather upholstery: No
Parking radar: Yes
Power boot or tailgate: No
Power seat adjustment/memory: No
Rear ventilation outlets: No
Remote audio controls: Yes
Satellite navigation: Optional ($750)
Seat height adjustment: Yes
Self-parking technology: No
Split/folding rear seats: 60/40
Steering reach adjustment: Yes
Trip computer: Yes