Roadtrip: The Peugeot 2008

posted in: 2008, Peugeot, Reviews, Roadtrip, Travel | 0

With its excellent three cylinder, 1.2 PureTech engine, commanding driving position and ample cabin room, I was looking forward to taking the Peugeot 2008 on a bit of a roadtrip to Cornwall to see how it faired on a longer journey and a number of reasonably challenging roads. Suffice to say, it more than did the job. Here is my review of the Peugeot 2008 Feline.

First Impressions

Although the 2008 is based on the successful 208, there is a sense from both the outside and in the car that there is a lot more space. The ride height has been raised, and the cabin is roomy, with plenty of headspace and good rear legroom. The boot is definitely in a different league to the 208 too – the 2008 feels more like a tall estate than a compact crossover. The Feline model in black is an attractive car, with nice details such as chrome effect mirrors, a smartly brushed interior and lovely 17 inch Eridan wheels.

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Engine Performance & Gearbox

The PureTech engine – 1.2L with 3 cylinders – deserves its own section in this review as to be honest I felt like it was one of the better things about the Peugeot 2008. It’s particularly gutsy for a little engine, and pulls impressively through the gears, giving the impression of a much bigger engine with more torque than it actually has. 0-62 mpg is achieved in a little over 9 seconds, which is incredibly respectable, but in terms of everyday performance, it’ll rarely pull away in anything other than 1st gear, and it can certainly be a bit shouty in the higher rev ranges, but to be honest they are the only indications that you’re driving such a small and efficient engine.

On the roadtrip to Cornwall I only had to put fuel in once – on a longer trip the mpg figures averaged 40-45 which is as expected from the engine in question but no less impressive for a car of this nature. Thanks to one of the best start-stop systems I’ve come across, progress is just as seamless in traffic as it is on the motorway and it carries in comfort no matter what – wind and road noise is suitably and comfortably muted and the car feels grown up and composed.

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Although the 6 speed gearbox does the job, its shift can feel a little clunky at times, which was a slightly disappointment considering the attention to detail and level of perceived quality throughout the car. It’s doesn’t hinder progress, but it doesn’t put a smile on your face with each shift and it its slightly awkward position can make changing gear feel a little hard work and contrived at times.

Ride and Comfort
Aside from the occasionally intrusive engine noise, the interior is a pleasant place to be and the car is poised and for the most part assured in the cruise – far more than I expected it to be. It’s a smooth ride, and the added visibility you get from the ride height and elevated seating position makes the drive reassuringly commanding.

Adding to the feeling of comfort inside are the nice little touches that add the charm and relative quirkiness of the 2008. A panoramic roof, similar to that on the Jeep Renegade (but without the ability to open it) is a welcome feature and the little blue illuminated LED strips that surround the speedo, rev counter and the glass roof itself are attractive features that introduce a friendly and affable character to the car.

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Equipment and Practicality

The 2008 is well specced. A touchscreen sat-nav, which is the PSA standard and more than does the job when it comes to ease of use, standard duel zone climate control and automatic lights and wipers add an element of value for money that seems to be concurrent with where Peugeot are pitching this car. The equipment feels like it belongs in the car, and despite its 208 underpinnings it actually puts the car into a far more premium category than maybe it deserves to belong.

Practically, compared to its rivals, it’s slightly smaller in the back but a good amount of headroom makes up for this. There’s good boot space and a handy little cubby hole in the centre console where you’d expect it to be, but the rather fussy handbrake arrangement sacrifices space where maybe cup holders would have been more appropriate. The actual cup holders, in fact, are buried under the heating switches and this inevitably means that anything bigger than a Coke can doesn’t really fit, which is not ideal.

Despite any niggles with the basic arrangement of the front, however, there is lots of space here and the car still manages to convey a sense of light and airiness throughout the interior. It’s actually deceptively large and it feels like a big car, even when it’s quite evidently not.

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Prices

With everything bolted on and attached, as was the case with the ‘Feline’ test car with the 1.2L PureTech 130 engine, you’re looking at a surprisngly affordable £18,995. For the base ‘Access’ entry level model (still benefitting from the excellent PureTech engine) prices start at £13,195. I’m sure most people will be able to agree that this a good deal of car, and equipment, for the money.

‘Grip Control’

In rather inclement weather and on a range of different types of roads, travelling to Cornwall gave me the opportunity to test the Feline’s ‘grip control’ mode – essentially a feature that calibrates the way power is delivered to give the front wheels a little more grip on challenging terrain. Some light off-roading is certainly possible with the 2008, but of course it is two-wheel drive only and the car only comes with standard transmission, so don’t expect wonders. If you were serious about off-roading while still having that crossover/family appeal, you’d be far better going for one of the 4×4 transmission options on some of the Peugeot’s slightly costlier rivals.

Summary

There is a lot to like about the Peugeot 2008. Although it lacks, in some areas, a sense of practicality that some families may want in a family crossover of this ilk, the sense of space and light provided by the panoramic roof and well designed interior in my mind make up for this confidently. The car is an affordable option in this sector, and some lovely touches make the 2008 a friendly, likeable and some might say attractively charismatic machine to spend time in. The grip control on the Feline model is a nice touch, and even if it doesn’t add much to the off-roading capability of the car, the ride height and excellent visibility makes you feel like you’re in a capable machine, which in my mind mean that Peugeot have fulfilled their raison d’etre with the 2008.

It’s an attractive car too, and while some may see the design a little fussy, it’s well in line with Peugeot’s current lineup, and a new facelift model coming out in the coming months adds a new modern element which sees a revised front grill, extended wheel arches and a GT line spec. Read more about this here.

The engine deserves a special mention, and as many people have already pointed out, the PureTech powerplant really is a winner in this sector. It manages to be the highlight of the car – making what could ordinarily be a cumbersome and rather clunky family crossover into a stylish, efficient, affordable and reliable modern example of just how much car you can get for your money. Add a sense of space and a design that lends itself almost anything you throw at it, and you get a likeable, if not completely polished car that delivers far more than it deserves to.

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