The smarter looks of this revised version aim to draw attention to a very efficient range of engines, plus there’s extra media connectivity and stonger standards of safety.
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. All the petrol variants now use a 1. 2-litre three cylinder unit, this powerplant developing 82bhp in base normally aspirated form or 110 or 130bhp in turbocharged guise. Most users though will want a diesel, the three 1. 6-litre BlueHDi options offering either 75bhp, 100bhp or, as in this case,120bhp. All of these variants return 76. 3mpg on the combined cycle and around 97g/km.
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.
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 the 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 the car has always been one of the things most likely to sell it to you, so Peugeot has hardly changed things at all as part of the updates made to this revised model. We particularly like the styled ‘metal-look’ gearknob and the cool blue frames around the instrument binnacle dials.
Ah yes, the instrument binnacle. The style and positioning of this and the tiny steering wheel is part of the 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. Do that though and for most, the benefits will be well worth having, namely wrist-flick steering feel - and instruments much closer to your line of sight on the roadway ahead.
Just about everything else you need to know can be found on what looks like a tablet PC attached to the fascia, the multifunction 7-inch colour touchscreen, which is fitted as standard to all but the very cheapest entry-level models.
As for rear seat accommodation, well the first thing to say is that the slight advantages this Peugeot enjoys in overall length over rivals like Nissan’s Juke and Ford’s EcoSport really show because the 2008 feels significantly less cramped in the back than either of those two cars. This is especially true in terms of legroom, meaning that an average-sized adult can sit behind a six-foot driver in reasonable comfort.
We’ll finish by taking a look at the luggage area out back. The first thing you might notice is that, rather annoyingly, the parcel shelf doesn’t lift with the tailgate – there’s just the hinged edge you can pull up to see the boot area better. Take the parcel shelf out and a 422-litre boot is revealed, the space on offer being 20% more than you’d get in a 208, which means that it’s one of the larger cargo areas that you’ll find in this class.
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 users tend also to be people who appreciate the Peugeot’s other key attributes – namely asking prices and running cost efficiency figures that are difficult to beat.
If that’s what you want in this segment but you don’t feel the need to make any sort of ‘supermarket car park statement’, then you probably need to try this car.