Peugeot 2008 Review
A mid-life refresh for the high-selling compact SUV from Peugeot.
- Much improved front profile
- Generous spec-levels
- Surprising driving dynamics
- Significant wind noise
- GT-Line is rather expensive
- Automatic gearbox needs improving
The 2008 came to UK showrooms back in 2013 and has been an increasingly popular seller ever since. Entering a fairly fresh ‘compact SUV’ segment, the 2008 offered a welcomed alternative to rivals like the Nissan Juke. Peugeot have since sold over 585,000 models of the 2008 across the globe and approaching 50,000 on our shores. Their Mulhouse plant in northern France was pushing out a staggering 760 2008s every day in December of last year, which is a staggering amount.
It’s true across the market. In 2012 there were 200,000 ‘B segment’ sales of compact SUVs across the world, this has now increased fivefold to 1 million units sold in 2015, 65% of which were purchased by male buyers.
As is the protocol with most mass-market cars, there is a 3 year facelift due which is arriving into showrooms mid-June. We headed out to Valencia to put this updated 2008 to the test ahead of the UK launch. Key areas of improvement are the exterior aesthetics, which have benefitted from significant alterations and also the kit-list, which has been revised to cater for buyers’ habits.
On the Road
The 2008 is a surprisingly nimble car, which is rare in a segment competing with lifted hatchbacks which possess a compromised driving experience. The 2008 holds its own very well. It featuring the 1.2 litre, 2015 ‘Engine of the year,’ PureTech petrol unit, a 3 cylinder engine which does well to pull out of corners and overtakes with relative ease on motorways. They aren’t the quietest though, in fact the 1.6HDi diesel engine is loud - no two ways about it.
Efficiency is a strong point for the 2008 though - all diesel models are free to tax as they emit less than 100g/km of CO2, and even the least efficient Petrol engine is only £20 a year under current rates.
We actual power and performance of the car will be slightly disappointing if that’s what you’re looking for in a car, but the 2008 isn’t built for that purpose. The 130PS GT Line would be the most sporty model on the list and although it’s got plenty of power around town and on the motorways, it won’t blow your socks off.
Any SUV, be it compact or colossal, should have ride comfort as an absolute top priority. Happily we can report the new 2008 is absolutely fine. The suspension set-up is firm enough that you can feel the road but soft enough as to not make the surface uncomfortable. What’s better is that the higher ride height doesn’t detract from the driving experience - unlike other vehicles in this segment which suffer horrendous body roll. Our test route took us up into the hills surrounding Valencia through some tight and twisty turns. The 2008 handled itself impeccably - sitting flat and refusing to lean over in corners. This really encourages you to keep going and generally improves the manner of which the car composes itself when ‘pressing-on.’ After about an hour of negotiating hair pins and cambered corners, it is easy to forget you’re in a raised vehicle at all as it feels planted and controllable like a normal hatchback.
Also contributing to the handling of this vehicle is the small, dynamic steering wheel which now features across the Peugeot range in their ‘i-cockpit’. The idea is the small wheel is easier to handle and means that the driver remains in control with their elbows tucked against their torso, which reduces driver fatigue. Again, we’re happy to report that this isn’t a gimmick and certainly is a useful feature which improves the experience tenfold - we exited the car wondering why anyone ever bothered with inappropriately large steering wheels in the first place.
Peugeot hasn’t always been a brand synonymous with build quality and refinement, they’ll concede that themselves. The 2008 however certainly feels like a well put-together car and the clever suspension means the 2008 certainly excels at the wafting across potholes.
The heavily bolstered and padded seats also contribute to the elegant ride. Our main quirk with the 2008 is the wind-noise, which is difficult to ignore at motorway speed. It seems to be the bi-product of the chunky wing mirrors which, although they provide great visibility, detract from the tranquility inside the cabin.
In the car
One of the key purposes of this mid-life upgrade is to revise the kit line-up based on buyers’ interests of the outgoing model. Enter, the GT-Line. Peugeot saw the 55% of buyers of the 2008 have purchased an Allure spec or above, meaning there is a substantial demand for the cars with the kit, so Peugeot have brought in their new top of the range GT-Line, which we’ll focus on. This is a new spec-level which is being rolled out across the Peugeot lineup, with styling cues which are a nod to those of the GTi spec cars (even though there is no 2008 GTi.)
With this new spec you get red lines, everywhere. Red LEDs surround the dials, there is a red pinstripe through the interior door handles and the centre of the seat belts. There is also red contrast stitching across all the upholstery and the steering wheel - which is now leather.
Elsewhere in the cabin, you’ve got a nice big 7 inch touch screen which controls a lot of features, but not the essentials. There are physical buttons for things like the air con, heated seats, hazard lights and door-locks etc. This means the centre console is clean and not cluttered and needn’t voyage through menus and sub-menus for basic functions.
Another new feature on the updated 2008 is the Apple CarPlay and Android MirrorLink functionality, a simple-to-use level of connectivity which offers the fundamental functions of your phone without distracting you from the road… Very welcomed.
Inside the 2008 certainly doesn’t feel all that ‘compact’, in fact the large glass roof makes the car feel almost tardis-like. Leg room in the rear isn’t that of a Rolls Royce though, not even nearly. Adults will fit in the back happily, but for long journeys it’d be more suited to children.
Now, boot space, always a big deciding factor for potential buyers. Happily we can report that the 2008 comes with a solid 422 litres of boot space which extends to a whole 1,400 litres when you fold the rear seats flat. Not only is the boot big, but the loading lip is only 60cm off the ground, so you don’t have to deadlift objects to an uncomfortable height. We shouldn’t really use the term loading 'lip’ either because there isn’t one. The entry to the boot is flat and there’s a silver slide-plate so you can place and push items in, instead of dropping them in. Simple but very effective.
Peugeot offer their Just Add Fuel deal on the 2008, an exceptional deal that includes most of the running costs you associate with a new car, including insurance, in one deal. This deal makes 2008 one of the most affordable cars in this segment as no competitors offer any deal like it. All you have to worry about, after the monthly payments, is adding the fuel. There’s good news here too…
Depending what you’re after, petrol or diesel, you’ll be happy with the returns. The 110 1.2 Puretech with Stop & Start is the most economical petrol model, returning 72 mpg on motorway routes. The 1,6 HDi models all return up to 85.6 mpg on motorway routes but it’s the 120 with Stop & Start that offers most in urban conditions, a whole 65.7 mpg.
Our only quirk with the quality of the 2008 is the materials used on the inside. While the interior is aesthetically quite pleasing, the styling and texture of the patterned dash looks good, it is still made of rather scratchy plastics - even on the top spec models. Everything you touch while driving is fine, the handbrake, gear stick, steering wheel and so on; but the underside of the dash, the door cards and the B pillar aren’t quite up to… scratch.
In terms of reliability the 2008 is a safe bet. The updates are all aesthetic, so you can expect the new model to be just as mechanically sound as the outgoing model, which scored a fantastic 95.57 out of 100 in the 2016 driver power reliability table. 33rd position out of 150 cars.
There’s some genuinely impressive new safety kit with the 2008. Our favourite is the
Active City Brake which operates at speeds below 30mph. Using clever sensors on the front bumper, the 2008 scans the road ahead if it senses imminent impact the car will automatically brake itself to reduce the severity of an impact, if not completely avoid the collision.
Other safety features include the Park Assist whereby the 2008 will essentially slide itself into parking spaces, both bays and parallel spots. This works in tandem with the rear view reversing camera so you can ensure the procedure is followed safely.