Peugeot 2008 Review
The Peugeot 2008 is an SUV you can buy with your heart and your head. It looks cool, is cheap to run, easy to drive and has a big boot. But it’s a shame the back seats aren’t roomier.
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If small SUVs are more rugged versions of superminis, then the Peugeot 2008 is a 208 that’s kitted out for a paintballing trip. It’s a small and tough-looking SUV with higher ride height and all of the superb cabin and tech that makes the 208 so special.
The 2008 has a bold look comprising strong colour schemes and a variety of slashes and creases that make rivals such as the Volkswagen T-Cross look more than a little tedious.
And the French flair loses no momentum as it flows on into the cabin. It has two massive infotainment screens and a bold design. Not to mention interior quality that feels up there with the best SUV in this price range.
Those screens are worthy of special mention, though. The first is a fairly conventional centre touchscreen that is used to operate everything from the sat-nav to the heater.
The second screen is more interesting and replaces conventional instruments behind the steering wheel. It has a 3D effect with visible depth and it’s also fully customisable with slick animations when you switch between views. It’s a neat piece of kit no other car this price offers up.
Peugeot’s thrown everything at making the 2008 eye-catching outside and in. And it's worked.
And not many do better than the Peugeot for front-seat room. It will easily accommodate two tall adults and there’s plenty of scope to move the seat and steering wheel, though lumbar adjustment isn’t even an option.
Tall passengers on the back have bigger worries, though, they’ll find their knees brushing the front seats if they’re sitting behind someone else who’s tall. On the upside, there is plenty of head and foot room.
Hit the road and you’ll find the Peugeot wants for little. Its steering is light in town, but weights up to give you more confidence at faster speeds. The slick six-speed manual gearbox (an eight-speed auto is optional) is the perfect match for the Peugeot’s sporty small steering wheel and, with little body lean to speak of, it’s a fun car to hustle about.
That’s particularly true if you choose one of the three PureTech petrol engines – the 130hp version being the pick of the bunch because it is both sprightly and cheap to run. Want to eke out as much fuel economy as possible? Then you’ll want the 100hp diesel which makes up for its noisy running with punchy performance yet great miles to the gallon.
But what makes the 2008 standout from alternatives is its eye-catching styling that proves cheap-to-run and practical family cars can still be desirable. For that reason alone, it’s worth shortlisting against cars like the Seat Arona and VW T-Cross.
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The Peugeot 2008 has loads of room for a young family and a boot that’ll happily swallow all their kit. That said, rear-seat legroom is tight if you have to carry four tall adults.
Even before you get sat behind the 2008’s steering wheel you’ll notice the benefits of its upright SUV body. Getting in is a cinch and you could can slide back out again rather than having to haul yourself to your feet like you do in a lower-slung car like the Peugeot 208.
There’s very little to complain about in terms of space upfront. Head and legroom aren’t an issue and a wide range of adjustment for both the steering wheel and seat (top-end models seats are electrically adjusted and heated) means you can always get a comfortable driving position.
That said, whether your body’s geometry works with Peugeot’s iCockpit design isn’t guaranteed, so you may have to compromise slightly on your driving position just to get a clear view of the dials above the steering wheel.
The back seat will also be fine for anyone up to six foot tall, although it’s a shame it’s doesn’t offer any adjustment. Oh well, there’s loads of head and foot room and even the middle seat is okay for a fifth passenger. Try to put anyone taller in the back, though, and you’ll find knee room is in short supply, particularly if you and your front seat passenger are a similar height.
Need to carry little people? No problem – the 2008 has room for three baby seats and the mounting points are easy to find hidden behind (flimsy-feeling) zips on the bottom of the seats.
Peugeot has crammed its 2008 with storage spaces so it gets four door pockets that will all swallow a bottle of water, a deep space underneath the front centre armrest and a couple of cupholders in between the two front seats.
More novel is the lidded cubby on the centre console which has a stand for your phone. And there’s no need to worry about charging because you can have your 2008 with no less than three USB ports, plus a USB C and 12v power socket.
The Peugeot has a 405-litre boot with an extra 29 litres hidden under the floor – meaning it’s about average for the class. The boot has an adjustable floor which means heavy luggage can be slid into place and the boot’s square shape makes it easy to load.
If you need more room, the Peugeot’s back seats split 60:40 – so you can balance between boot and rear passenger space – to reveal a total load capacity of 1,471 litres or enough to fit a few loads from IKEA.
The Peugeot 2008’s light and easy to drive in town, comfortable on the motorway and grippy in corners, although the extra performance of the top-of-the-range petrol isn’t needed.
You can have your Peugeot 2008 with a choice of three petrol and one diesel engine.
The three petrols are all based around the same 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech producing either 100, 130 or 155hp.
The 100hp version can occasionally feel a little flat-footed in the 2008, while the 130hp version gives you sprightly performance and decent fuel economy. It gets from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds – a full two seconds quicker than the basic model – yet returns near-identical fuel economy of just under 50mpg. You can choose to swap the slick six-speed manual gearbox for an eight-speed automatic but, unless you only drive in town, there’s no need.
The 155hp model is only available in the top-spec GT model, which costs £32k, so the extra performance isn’t worth the higher cost.
The 155hp model has the auto as standard. It shifts gears smoothly when left to its own devices but try and take manual control and it’s frustratingly slow to respond. In fact, the performance never feels that much quicker than the mid-range model.
If fuel economy is your main concern, then head straight for the 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel, which will return up to 62mpg. It’s a little noisier than the petrol models, but once you get up to speed it’s fine and it delivers a slug of torque that pulls you quickly up to motorway speeds.
The 2008’s fun character carries through to the way it drives. Petrol models offer nippy performance and a characterful thrum that suits the 2008’s cheeky personality. All models have plenty of grip in bends and body roll is well contained.
Thankfully, it does all the boring stuff well too. In town, jacked-up suspension means you can hit speed humps like they’re not there, and also gives you a good view of the road ahead. Visibility out the back is hampered by the 2008’s large rear pillars but you can add a reversing camera which is fine for parking.
Even when you hit the motorway the Peugeot 2008 remains a solid contender. Reach a steady cruise and the suspension that could be jiggly in town smooths out bumps better and there’s only a little bit of wind flutter around the windscreen.
If you want to make long journeys as comfortable as possible then the 2008 is also available with a range of safety aids that can accelerate, brake and steer the car for you on the motorway.
Another option worth considering is Peugeot’s Grip Control. In lieu of proper four-wheel drive, this traction control system distributes power to whichever front tyre has the most grip and can be preset to deal with a variety of road conditions including sand, snow and mud. It sounds like a fad but actually proved itself to be very effective.
The Peugeot 2008’s wacky cabin and huge screens look like they’re from another planet. Although, you might have to be an alien to know how to operate them.