I was exploring a photo location at a golf course and fishing lake, and took the instruction to “go wherever I wanted” a bit too literally. As it turns out, the heavy rain we’ve suffered lately had made this particular mud track impassable. It was all going so well at first. The relatively soft and long-travel suspension (there’s 165mm of ground clearance) soaking up bumps and ruts with aplomb, while the light steering reduced any unwanted kick-back through the wheel. As the track became more gloopy, I was glad of the standard mud and snow tyres, and could feel them slipping and then nibbling at the surface as they fought for traction. At this point, I put the 2008’s ‘Grip Control’ dial into its ‘Mud mode’. This alters the electronic stability programme and uses the front brakes like a limited-slip differential to send power to the front wheel with the most grip. I should have turned back then, but the two puddles in front of the Lion-badged bonnet looked so innocuous. The water actually hid a pancake mix of mud and sand several inches deep. As neither front wheel had any grip, it was clear no amount of toing and froing was going to be productive. Do I blame the car for getting stuck? Not at all. This was definitely a case of driver error. At press events, I’m often given the keys to a vehicle and access to an impossible-looking (but meticulously planned) off-road course, designed to flatter the model in question. Experiences which have no doubt exaggerated my confidence. So, this was a reality check then. But, a word of caution. Technology like ‘Grip Control’, can lead to driver-optimism as well. While shuffling grip across the front axle is certainly a great traction aid, it can only do so much. With four-wheel-drive I could most likely have reversed out of my predicament, but with drive only to the two front wheels, that wasn’t possible here.
Back on the road (and thoroughly jet washed), the long-travel suspension is just as welcome as it is searching for photo spots. On the terrible asphalt around my area, the added comfort is welcome, even if it means the 2008 does lean in bends and squat during braking a little. With more than 4,000 miles showing on the odometer, the 1.6-litre e-HDi motor is now well run-in, and it’s a likeable engine. I’m particularly impressed with how quiet it is from cold and during long motorway runs, when it’s barely audible. Economy is a respectable 50.6mpg, but I’ll be seeing if I can get closer to Peugeot’s claimed 70.4mpg next month, as I’ve decided to take tips from The Extra Mile column, and remove the roof rack, except for when I actually need to use it.
The long-travel suspension, which boosts the Peugeot 2008ís ride height, also makes my local roads more comfortable to negotiate.
You have to flip up the parcel shelf manually, and when you forget to put it back down, it blocks your rear view.
|Date arrived:||3rd March 2014|
|Mileage to date:||4,233 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||70.6mpg (official combined)
50.6mpg (on test)