Add up all the attributes of Peugeot's little 2008 small Crossover model and quite an attractive little car emerges, thinks Jonathan Crouch.
Ten Second Review
Peugeot's improved 2008 is a small Crossover that offers an arguably more sophisticated take on the kind of little urban SUV-style design popularised by cars like Nissan's Juke. Supermini-based, it offers all the advantages of that compact runabout you were thinking of, together with the kind of added space, style and light off road driveability you probably never expected to be able to enjoy on a small car budget. Here, we try the top diesel version, the BlueHDi 120.
Fashion can take many forms, especially when it comes to segments in the automotive market. Here, we're going to look at one of them, the supermini-based compact Crossover, epitomised in this case by this improved first generation version of Peugeot's 2008. If you're shopping for a model of this kind, you'll probably have noticed just how quickly this category is growing. Back in 2010, Nissan's Juke set the ball rolling, showing other brands that if you took a supermini and re-bodied it with more adventurous, higher-set 'SUV-style' looks, then strong sales would inevitably follow. Since then, we've seen a wide variety of different approaches in this sector and to keep competitive, Peugeot has in recent times been significantly updating the engine range available in this 2008 model, a programme of improvements that culminated in mid-2016 with the launch of this facelifted first generation version, a car with smarter styling, stronger standards of safety and extra media connectivity. Here, we're going to try this model complete with one of the newly added engines, the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 unit.
On the move, the higher, more commanding driving position and mildly SUV-style feel of this model have been achieved without too many obvious changes to the nippy, well balanced handling of the 208 supermini from which this car is largely derived. Under the bonnet, quite a lot's changed since this 2008 model's original launch, thanks to the introduction of PureTech petrol and BlueHDi diesel technology. In the diesel range, this top BlueHDi 120 variant is the only one offered with the advantage of a 6-speed manual gearbox. In this form, the car can tow up to 1.300kgs and manages performance returns of 9.6s and 119mph. For the black pump-fuelled 2008 models, there's no auto gearbox option. That leaves only the question of off-tarmac prowess. Yes, despite the fact that there's no 4WD option on this car, you do actually get some, provided you specify one of the up-market trim levels that come complete with Peugeot's proven 'Grip Control' system. By braking a wildly spinning front wheel, this set-up works with the standard ESP stability control programme to transfer torque to the tyre with most traction and this, along with standard 'Mud & Snow' tyres, is enough to enable negotiation of some surprisingly sticky situations.
Design and Build
If you're one of those people who like the idea of a small Crossover-class car but think more ostentatiously-styled contenders in this class like Nissan's Juke and Ford's EcoSport look rather silly, then the subtly fashionable shape of this Peugeot 2008 will suit you perfectly. The changes made to this improved model mostly centre on the front end where the restyled bonnet no longer features a Peugeot lion badge. That's been moved to the centre of this smarter, more distinctive grille that brings the look of this model into line with that of the brand's second generation 3008. Let's take a seat inside. The feeling you get at the wheel of this car has always been one of the things most likely to sell it to you and the key thing you'll immediately notice here is this car's unusual so-called 'i-Cockpit' interior design, something that's always been a major talking point with this model. You must view the dials over the top of the steering wheel rim and initially, it can take a bit of adjustment and fiddling around until you get to the point where you can see the gauges properly, something not everyone may be able to manage completely to their satisfaction. There's reasonable space in the rear - and a decent-sized 422-litre boot.
Market and Model
At the lower end of the 2008 range, pricing that starts at under £14,000 makes this one of the most affordable small Crossover models out there. Of course, you'll need to pay a lot more than that for this top diesel version. Think in terms of needing a budget of around £20,000 for the 'Allure' version we tried, with a further £1,000 necessary if you want the sportier-looking 'GT Line' variant. There's no automatic gearbox option: you'll need a petrol variant to get that. The 'Allure' derivative gets front and rear scuff plates and wheelarch extensions, plus you're also entitled to niceties like 17-inch alloy wheels, auto headlamps and wipers, tinted rear windows, dual zone air conditioning, power-folding mirrors and rear parking sensors. In addition, there's Peugeot's clever 'Grip Control' system too, which optimises traction based on selectable settings for different kinds of terrain. Stretch up to 'GT Line' trim and you get more dynamic detailing, a Cielo panoramic glass roof, satellite navigation, a reversing camera and sports pedals.
Cost of Ownership
If you're thinking of buying this 2008 as a slightly more versatile alternative to Peugeot's 208 supermini, then one of the most important things you'll want to know about is just how much of a running cost penalty will be exacted by this Crossover model's 85kgs of extra weight. Fortunately, it's not too significant: think in terms of a downside of no more than about 5%, which is good news if you like this car because it's engines are now amongst the cleanest and most frugal powerplants you'll find in this market segment. Like all BlueHDi 2008 models, this '120' variant manages 76.3mpg on the combined cycle. However, because this derivative is the only one in the black pump-fuelled range that comes with an engine Stop & Start system, it's able to return the cleanliest CO2 return - 96g/km. Insurance is rated at group 22A. What else? Well, as usual, a new 2008 will come with the usual three year/60,000 mile Peugeot warranty including roadside assistance. And you can expect residual values after the usual three year ownership period to be pretty reasonable by class standards - the predicted 46% figure is on a par with rivals like Nissan's Juke, Renault's Captur and Kia's Soul.
Some manufacturers seem to believe a small Crossover should be extreme, both in its styling and in the price premium it demands over the supermini it'll be based upon. Peugeot, in contrast, think differently about a car of this kind. This 2008 may not make as overt a style statement as some of its rivals but you sense that's intentional. It's for those shopping in this segment in search of something more subtly fashionable. These customers tend also to be people who appreciate this Peugeot's other key attributes - namely asking prices and running cost efficiency figures that are difficult to beat in this BlueHDi 120 guise. If that's what you want in this segment but you don't feel the need to make any sort of 'supermarket carpark statement', then you probably need to try this car.