Back in March I declared my excitement at the arrival of a Peugeot 2008 finished in Pearlescent White paint and sitting on snazzy ‘Eridan’ alloy wheels. The 2008 is one of the best models in the youngest line-up Peugeot has ever had. I certainly felt very ‘on trend’ driving it, as I don’t need to tell you, the crossover market is booming right now, and the growing number of 2008s (and Renault Capturs) I’ve spotted on recent trips is remarkable.
Our 2008 is the range-topping Feline, with Mistral Ambiance trim, which gave me the chance to test all Peugeot’s gadgets, including its infotainment system, Grip Control, parking sensors and heated leather seats. After stepping out of the sensible, but spartan, Skoda Rapid I felt like Joe Ninety. I was immediately impressed with the Peugeot’s upmarket cabin, with attractive materials, sturdy switches and a Germanic feeling of quality. Many road testers bemoaned the fact the steering wheel could block your view of the dash-top instruments, but in reality it’s only a problem if you frequently swap seats with another driver.
The 2008 is a useful size, with enough interior room to accommodate four adults in comfort and their bags in the 360-litre boot. Folding down the rear seats is a single-handed job and the loading bay is flat, wide and tall, with a smooth loading lip. A high-set driving position also gives a great view ahead. I reckon Peugeot judged its chassis set-up very well too. I live near some challenging roads and the 2008 never once ran out of talent, always feeling surefooted. It rode well too, its extra suspension travel quietly soaking up bumps. Sadly the weather didn’t allow me to test Peugeot’s Grip Control system very often, but it proved itself in a muddy field (even if my own optimism got the car stuck in a bog in the end). It was economical too. The 1.6-litre e-HDi engine, with five-speed gearbox, topped out at 58.8mpg in June, when the roof bars were off the car and I used the superb stop-start system as much as possible, coasting to a halt in traffic.
So, what about the bits I won’t miss as much? The 91bhp engine had reasonable mid-range punch and proved refined on the motorway, but I yearned after the 113bhp version. Forgive me for coming over all Top Gear, but 12.8 seconds to go from 0-62mph felt sluggish in a car costing £18,845. If it had been my own, I may already have given in to the temptation of an ECU remap. It was a feeling exacerbated by the ageing five-speed manual gearbox, which had a long throw and rubbery feel, compared with the far slicker six-speed found allied to the more powerful engine. The infotainment system was also a mixed blessing. It’s a shame, because it ticked all the boxes in terms of functionality, with DAB digital radio, USB and auxiliary connections, Bluetooth and satellite navigation, but after six months, I was still learning some of its quirks. To give just one example, the signal strength and battery level of my mobile phone was displayed on the radio and trip computer screens, but removed in favour of vehicle altitude on the oft-used satellite navigation screen. I can’t remember the last time I needed to know what altitude I was at.
Now on to the subjective areas. We had our good and bad days, but I eventually fell out of love with the small steering wheel, which made the car feel nervous on long motorway slogs. Call me mad (my sunroof-loving dad will), but I’d also choose mine without the panoramic roof. While I’m sure many owners think it’s fabulous, I found it made the car hot in summer and because I was sat in the front on every single journey, I never once got to look out of it. I wouldn’t consider any of these “deal-breakers”, more learnings I can hopefully impart to help buyers specify the perfect 2008. Mine would be a 1.6 e-HDi 115 Allure with optional ‘Eridan’ wheels, as I’d happily swap the luxuries of the Feline for more poke and a sweeter gearbox. It’s a hugely likeable car, with style, practicality and excellent economy in a neat package, making it a worthy buy if you’re tempted by a crossover.
The 2008 is. If the number of them I’m seeing on the road is a fair barometer, the small Peugeot crossover is incredibly popular, and with good reason.
The 2008 was fault free… until a few days before its departure. No big deal though, the driver’s door mirror just isn’t folding all the way in.
|Date arrived:||3rd March 2014|
|Mileage to date:||9,001 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||70.6mpg (official combined)
54.3mpg (on test)