Peugeot 2008 review
The Peugeot 2008 is a Nissan Juke-rivalling crossover SUV, but with the plusher feel of a more conventional estate car
The Peugeot 2008 sits towards the more conventional end of the booming small crossover market. It may look and feel less adventurous than 4x4-themed rivals like the Nissan Juke, but it does offer the practicality of an estate car and its plush interior appeals.
As it’s based on the Peugeot 208 supermini, it drives well and has proven mechanicals and technology. Unlike some rivals, the 2008 isn’t available with four-wheel drive, although Peugeot’s Grip Control system features on some high-spec models, and this is very effective in boosting traction on slippery surfaces.
The 2008 can seat five people and accommodate a decent amount of luggage, and is comfortable and simple to drive. Overall, this is a mature, easy-to-live-with choice.
The 2008 is Peugeot’s contender in the fiercely competitive and increasingly popular compact crossover market. The ‘crossover’ genre combines the compactness and agility of a supermini with the high driving position and fashionably rugged style of an SUV.
Under the skin of the 2008 is an extended version of the 208 supermini platform. The crossover is offered in five-door hatchback form only, and is very similar in style and execution to the Renault Captur, which is probably the Peugeot’s closest competitor. The 2008 is chunky and tall, yet curvier and more stylish than most of the opposition, although it’s not quite as distinctive as some more adventurous rivals like the Nissan Juke and Citroen C4 Cactus.
Although it looks like a shrunken SUV, don’t expect it to be happy ploughing through muddy fields – unlike many crossover rivals, the 2008 is only offered with front-wheel drive; there’s no four-wheel-drive option. That’s to keep weight and costs down, says Peugeot.
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If you want your 2008 to have stronger all-weather performance, Peugeot fits Grip Control as standard to many models. This is a switchable traction control system combined with all-season tyres, which makes the car much better equipped to deal with slippery or icy roads.
Overall, the 2008 is a more comfortable car to drive than the 208, with slightly more supple suspension, while the boxy exterior hides an interior with decent space: four adults of average size will be comfortable here and the 360-litre boot is bigger than that of the Nissan Juke.
Having been launched in 2013, the Peugeot 2008 range was updated in 2015 with new engines that complied with Euro 6 emissions regulations. The simplified line-up now has just two powerplant sizes – a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel – but you can choose from six power outputs (81bhp to 128bhp) and four trim levels (Access, Active, Allure and Feline), as well as an Urban Cross special edition. Plus, on top of the standard manual transmission, you can opt for a two-pedal system: either the ETG robotised manual or the EAT6 automatic.
Engines, performance and drive
The 2008’s raised ride height means there’s longer-travel suspension than in a supermini, so you not only feel the benefits in terms of ride comfort, but visibility as well.
Mid-range Allure models come with 16-inch alloys that offer comfortable progress, although even if you go for optional 17-inch wheels, the ride is still cosseting. Add in lively steering and a tight turning circle, and the 2008 is a surprisingly capable urban runabout.
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Head for the open road, and the Peugeot keeps body roll fairly well under control. It never feels unstable, cornering confidently but perhaps lacking the fun factor you’ll find in rivals like the Skoda Yeti. The 2008’s steering wheel is very small by class standards, and while that means fast responses, it can make the car feel nervous on the motorway.
Speaking of motorway driving, the 2008 is a refined car to drive at speed – especially in top-spec models with their long sixth gear, which allows the engine to turn at 1,900rpm. However, the Citroen C4 Cactus is even quieter at high speeds.
Grip Control is standard on higher-spec 2008s, and the system improves traction in low-grip conditions. While some rivals use four-wheel drive to do this, Peugeot’s set-up sticks with a front-wheel-drive transmission and uses the car’s traction control and special all-weather tyres to deliver extra grip. A central dial allows drivers to select one of five modes: Standard, Snow, Off-Road, Sand or ESP Off. With the system set to Snow, the car copes admirably with icy conditions.
Although there are currently only two engine sizes available – a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel – the 2008 line-up offers a wide choice of power outputs.
The current range of petrol engines is exclusively three-cylinder 1.2-litre, now that the old four-cylinder 1.6 VTi engine has been discontinued. Kicking things off is the 1.2 PureTech petrol engine, with 81bhp, although we’d avoid this base unit as performance is rather sluggish. A better option is the livelier 108bhp version of the 1.2 PureTech. There’s also a 128bhp 1.2 petrol engine, which serves up sparkling performance.
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However, for us, the smooth, punchy, economical diesels are the clear pick. The old 1.4-litre HDi engine that was offered at launch in 2013 was replaced in 2015 by a new 74bhp version of the 1.6 HDi diesel.
But the 99bhp 1.6 HDi delivers the best blend of performance, economy and value. Although it can be a little noisy when you rev it hard, it’s never too intrusive, and it gives the 2008 a decent turn of speed. Performance is even more impressive in top-spec HDi 120 form, but you do pay extra for this.
A five-speed manual gearbox is standard in lower-powered 81bhp and 109bhp versions of the 1.2-litre petrol 2008, and also in the 74bhp and 99bhp diesels. This gearbox can sometimes feel a little notchy, but it never baulks.
Move up to the top-spec 128bhp petrol or 118bhp diesel, and you get a smoother six-speed manual box as standard. You really feel the benefit of the extra ratio on the road, as you’re not constantly fishing for the right gear.
If you don’t want to use a clutch pedal, your transmission options depend on which engine you go for. The entry-level 1.2 petrol unit has an ETG gearbox option, which is a ‘robotised’ manual that changes gear for you, but it isn’t very smooth or satisfying. Step up to the 1.2 PureTech 110 and you get Peugeot’s EAT6 full automatic transmission, which is smooth and shifts quickly. Disappointingly, there’s no automatic option for diesel engines at present, although Peugeot did offer its 1.6 e-HDi unit with an EGC box from 2013 until 2015.
MPG, CO2 and running costs
In diesel form, the 2008 can be exceptionally economical and capable of low emissions. In fact, all current HDi engines emit less than 100g/km of CO2, in all three power outputs, so under the existing regulations owners won’t have to pay any road tax.
The lowest-polluting model in the range is the 128bhp diesel, with 96g/km, but our choice as the best all-rounder is the 108bhp version, which is cheaper and still very lively, yet claims CO2 emissions as low as 97g/km and fuel economy of 76.3mpg. The 81bhp version is a bit weak in terms of performance, but offers exactly the same efficiency figures (97g/km and 76.3mpg).
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Not surprisingly, petrol versions of the 2008 aren’t quite as economical, but even so, every single version currently on offer has CO2 figures of 114g/km or below, so VED rates are still very low. The best petrol version in this regard is the 81bhp 1.2 with ETG transmission, which claims 102g/km and 64.2mpg economy. The 1.2-litre 108bhp petrol manages 60.1mpg, while the 128bhp petrol averages 58.9mpg.
Petrol-powered 2008s are a little cheaper to insure than the equivalent diesels. The 82bhp models sit in a very low insurance group 11E, while 108bhp versions are in group 18A or 19A; the 128bhp models are in group 21A.
The diesel line-up ranges from group 15E for the 74bhp model to group 19A for the 99bhp version and group 22A for the 118bhp 1.6 HDi.
Peugeot prices the 2008 competitively as standard, and the car is expected to hold on to its value pretty well, in line with its rivals in the supermini-sized crossover market – which is very much flavour of the month among car buyers at present. The 2008 is certainly on a par with competitors such as the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Kia Soul; our experts predict that it will retain about 46 per cent of its value after three years and 30,000 miles.
Interior, design and technology
A boxy shape and chunky detailing give the Peugeot 2008 a distinctive shrunken 4x4 look that helps it to stand out from the crowd.
The nose is inspired by the 308 hatchback’s, while the stepped roofline, traditionally styled silver roof rails and extra chrome trim above the back windows add a bit of interest to the 2008’s shape. The large tailgate is more upright than the one on the Citroen C4 Cactus, and the lower load lip and level boot floor make loading easy.
Inside, the 2008 feels very upmarket by class standards, and rather more sober than the funky detailing of rivals like the C4 Cactus and Nissan Juke. There are soft-touch plastics on the dash, a smart centre console and blue-rimmed dials. High-spec models offer the plushest trim. The quality of the switchgear is good, although the Citroen feels better built and has a higher-grade feel.
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However, unlike in the Cactus, you need to drop the steering wheel into your lap to see the dials, rather than look through the wheel, which some drivers may find irritating. The seats are comfortable, but as in the Citroen, the driving position isn’t the most natural, although it’s something you soon get used to.
Peugeot has lots of worthwhile options to consider, including rear parking sensors with electric folding door mirrors and a panoramic glass roof (for around £400 each), metallic paint (closer to £500) and pearlescent paint (over £600).
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The entry-level Access model has a decent level of kit as standard, but has to make do without the mid-range Active’s touchscreen infotainment system (which includes USB connectivity, a DAB digital radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity).
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The infotainment touchscreen is clear and very similar to the set-up in the Citroen C4 Cactus, although the scrolling sub-menus take some getting used to. Like the Cactus’ system, the animation takes its time, so navigating through the screens isn’t as slick as the system in a Skoda Yeti.
The touchscreen can be combined with the optional Peugeot Connect Apps USB key that connects via 3G, allowing you to access apps such as live traffic, parking and points of interest information.
Sat-nav is not available at all on Access models, although it’s optional on mid-range cars (costing around £450) and comes fitted as standard on top-spec Feline versions.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
The Peugeot 2008 is offered in one bodystyle only: a five-door hatchback with five seats. It combines compact exterior dimensions with a reasonably practical cabin, although supermini-sized MPVs such as the Ford B-MAX are still rather more practical than SUV crossovers like this.
The high ground clearance makes the 2008 look chunky, but it’s actually quite compact. Still, it’s slightly larger than some rivals, measuring 4,159mm long and 1,829mm wide. By comparison, the Nissan Juke is 4,135mm long and 1,765mm wide, while the Renault Captur is 4,122mm long and 1,778mm wide.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The 2008’s cabin feels bright and airy, and up front there’s plenty of room for even very tall adults – although if you have a panoramic roof, that can eat into headroom. The raised ride height is a definite bonus in terms of the sense of space. Cabin storage up front is limited to a small bin behind the gearlever, while the glovebox is restricted because the fusebox is located behind it; Peugeot hasn’t switched it over in the conversion from left to right-hand drive.
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There isn’t nearly as much space in the back. The seats are comfortable and there’s a decent amount of headroom available, although legroom isn’t brilliant – a common issue with small crossovers like this. There isn’t much stowage space for rear passengers, either.
At 360 litres with all the seats in place and 1,172 litres when the rear seats are folded, the 2008’s boot is on a par with rivals like the Nissan Juke, but the Renault Captur leaves it trailing, offering 377 litres and 1,235 litres respectively.
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The back seats in the Peugeot fold in a 60:40 split and leave a completely flat load area. It’s easy to access the boot, too, as the load lip is lower to the ground than in many rivals. There’s also space under the boot floor, which offers extra, hidden storage room. We’re pleased to see that a space-saver spare wheel is standard across the 2008 range, unlike in most rivals, which now have a puncture repair kit only.
The Peugeot offers respectable towing abilities for the class. The maximum braked towing weight depends on the model you have, and ranges from 940kg for the lower-powered models up to 1,300kg for the most powerful diesel.
Reliability and Safety
The 2008’s running gear and technology are carried over from the 208 supermini. That car has had its fair share of electrical niggles, especially with the touchscreen infotainment system.
However, 2008 owners praised the general reliability of their cars in our Driver Power 2015 satisfaction survey, so it looks as though these glitches have been ironed out. Impressive rankings in the running costs and comfort categories of the survey show it’s an efficient and easy car to live with.
Elsewhere, the mechanicals are tried and tested, having been used in other models in the Peugeot line-up, so durability shouldn’t be a problem. The 2008 earned a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, and has a similar set of safety features to the Kia Soul, although the Renault Captur achieved slightly better percentage scores across the board.
Models with the Grip Control system tailor the front-wheel-drive transmission to suit different road types and weather conditions; this is a useful safety feature on slippery surfaces.
Peugeot’s warranty applies for three years, which is the industry standard. Some rival brands do offer more generous cover, including Renault (four years), Toyota (five years), Hyundai (five years) and Kia (seven years), although the fact that Peugeot applies no mileage limit makes its package a definite cut above the rest. Plus, it’s possible to extend the standard warranty on the 2008 at extra cost.
Most models in the 2008 range have service intervals of 12,500 miles, which is about average for this type of car. But you’ll still need to have a check-up carried out at least once a year to keep the warranty intact. Servicing plans are available to spread the cost on a month-by-month basis.
If you’re financing your car through Peugeot, it offers a popular programme called ‘Just Add Fuel’, which is a single monthly payment that covers all motoring costs such as routine servicing (but not wear parts), road tax, breakdown cover and even comprehensive insurance (provided you’re over a certain age, have held a licence for at least two years and already have two years’ no claims discount). This runs over three years, and means you don’t have to think about any of the above items.