Peugeot has announced the new 2008 crossover, set to debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show in early March.
As the name implies, 2008 is to the 208 supermini as 3008 is to the 308 family car - think rough ‘n’ tumble styling, a more voluminous body and a dash of off-road style presence. It’s a 208 for those who want something just a little more interesting. And if the 2008’s advert doesn’t feature a guy running around in his pants, then all the better.
At first glance, it should hit the mark. The 208’s styling cues are there all right, particularly at the rear where the twin-pronged tail-lights wrap around the corners of the car.
Towards the front, there are hints of the larger 508 RXH, with a small, chromed grille and a deep chin spoiler, equipped with a faux skidplate for those excursions onto perilous terrain. Like that tricky kerb outside your kid’s school.
Tough plastic trim wraps the car’s lower regions, and roof rails exude the required all-purpose image. It’s bigger than the 208, but not by the sort of amount that would make it feel unwieldy around town. The raised driving position might even make it better for such situations.
Not that the concept is anything new, of course.
If you want a supermini, raised on stilts and given chunky, unique styling, then there’s another vehicle already waiting for your wallet to open: The Nissan Juke.
The Juke arrived a few years back, based on the humble and almost completely anonymous Micra. Nobody could accuse the Juke of lacking personality, though you’re as likely to hate the crazy styling as you are to love it. It’s part concept car, part Nissan GT-R roofline and part Nissan 370Z rear lights. Inside the loony-bin features continue, with a colour-coded centre console apparently taking inspiration from a motorcycle’s fuel tank. Why? Who knows, but it’s nothing if not unique.
If green living is your thing, then you may be tempted to send your money Peugeot’s way. The company says CO2 emissions will start from just 99 grams per kilometre, which will qualify it for free road tax and zero congestion charge. E-HDi diesels and even the 208’s 3-cylinder engine will be available.
Nissan has taken more of a performance angle with the Juke. You might get a 1.5-litre diesel to kick off the range, and it may do 57.6 mpg, but you’ll still pay £95 a year in road tax.
And while the Peugeot’s higher-performance models haven’t yet been revealed (you can probably expect the turbocharged 1.6 THP to appear at some point), the Juke tops out with the 200-horsepower Nismo. Or the 545-horsepower Juke R, if you’ve got £400,000 handy.
The 2008 is unlikely to match that, but there’s one other figure Peugeot will be hoping for with its latest crossover - the Juke’s sales. Since going on sale in 2010, the Juke has sold like bizarrely-shaped hot cakes.
With less polarising styling, could the 2008 do even better?
Priced from: Not yet announced
On sale from: Late summer (order books open in June)
Peugeot has already sold 20,000 208s in its first six months on sale in the UK. Given the UK’s love for crossovers and small Peugeots, the 2008 could be on to a winner. Of course, it has to beat the Nissan Juke to do so, which isn’t doing so badly itself.