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New Peugeot 2008 prototype review

We drive three early versions of the new Peugeot 2008 SUV, including the all-electric e-2008

We were invited to Peugeot HQ on the outskirts of Paris to drive early prototype versions of the new Peugeot 2008 SUV with all three powertrains.

It certainly feels more like an SUV from behind the wheel with the large bonnet and high-up driving position (although you actually sit lower than in the old car). The new 3D iCockpit is a highlight, prioritising information at the front of the display. However, the old iCockpit foibles, fixed in the latest large Peugeots, return in the 2008. If you sit low and have the small steering wheel high, it obscures some of the display – annoyingly so. It’s a shame, because otherwise the interior is another spectacular design from Peugeot.

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New 2019 Peugeot 2008 SUV moves upmarket

First up is a 128bhp 1.5-litre diesel – an engine that won’t feature in the UK. According to Peugeot’s engineers, there’s still plenty of tuning to be done on the new CMP chassis, with settings based on the already launched DS3 Crossback that shares the same platform.

It’s not a bad place to start with decent body control and a firm, but comfortable ride from this model on its 17-inch alloys, shod with chunky all-season tyres, as this car came with optional grip control. However, both ride and body control are earmarked for improvement and will be worked on in the coming months.

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The gear changes will be smoothed out slightly – good job, too – but the ingredients are certainly there.

The petrol-engined GT model with 153bhp needs a bit more work. Its ride was bumpier (on 18-inch wheels), the steering lighter and a fair amount of wind noise present, too. It didn’t feel especially quick, either, even when Sport mode was selected, which will improve throttle response and weight-up steering.

At the test track, the new e-2008 was waiting for us. As with the smaller e-208, it uses an electrified version of the CMP chassis with a 50kWh battery pack between in front of and behind the rear axle and a 134bhp electric motor. This car was more production ready, we were told, and it felt it.

The ride was better, the car cornered flatly and the steering was more linear. Alongside a Hyundai Kona Electric, it felt like a next-generation electric car – far more mature in its drive and its interior.

There’s only one level of regenerative braking you can select, though, which might not shock first-time EV drivers as much, but may disappoint those who like drive with one pedal for longer and feel like there’s energy going back into the battery at every opportunity.

The e-2008 lacked the instant kick of acceleration rivals offer. Even in Sport mode, throttle response is good, but not up to other EV standards, while its range of 193 miles is a bit disappointing, too.

Peugeot claims that most people will accept the range on offer and instead be swayed by the style, quality and comfort of the e-2008 – and we can’t deny that it scores highly on those points.

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Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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