New Peugeot 2008 Allure 2016 review
We drive the new Peugeot 2008 SUV in mid-spec Allure trim; does it make a better buy?
The update to the 2008 may be largely cosmetic, but the new look is successful and only adds to a car that was already competitive in this sector. A Renault Captur might be marginally more stylish, but the Peugeot is streets ahead in terms of interior quality and class. This PureTech 110 petrol in Allure trim is the sweet spot between equipment, performance, efficiency and value, too.
It seems not even Peugeot foresaw the success of the 2008 in the UK. Bosses expected to sell around 1,500 units annually when the crossover launched in 2013; but instead the firm shifted over 11,000. It’s since been one of the most popular cars in its range, second only to the 208 supermini on which it’s based.
But the French mini-SUV is sitting in an extremely competitive segment, and rivals like the Nissan Juke are trumping it for outright sales. With the larger Peugeot 3008 around the corner, too, it was in danger of looking a bit old, so the brand has just spruced it up inside and out.
The most notable changes are at the front. The badge has moved from the bonnet to sit in the new, larger grille, and you’ll find tweaked headlamps and bumpers, too. At the back there’s a set of revised LED lights, while down the side Peugeot has issued some fresh alloy wheel designs.
Subtle changes then, but just enough to lift the 2008 above its rather bland predecessor. It’s still not as distinctive as a Citroen C4 Cactus, or as svelte as a Mazda CX-3, but you’re unlikely to turn your nose up at it in the car park.
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Inside, Peugeot has elected to make only minor changes to the materials, lighting and equipment levels. That’s fine, however, as it already had one of the best cabins in its class. Quality remains good for a car of this price, while the textured dash, perforated leather door handles and smart dials add a touch of class. Two areas of concern carry over unchanged, however: The tiny wheel and raised dials won’t be to all tastes, and the seven-inch touchscreen remains pretty clunky and heavily reliant on buried sub-menus.
Our Allure spec test car sits in the middle of the range. It does without the sporty red stitching and exterior detailing of new top-spec GT-Line trim, but benefits from most of the kit you’d expect on a small family car. Standard equipment includes a DAB radio with Apple CarPlay (new to the 2008), dual-zone climate control, cruise control and parking sensors. Sat-nav is a reasonable £460 option, but to be honest, some buyers may be better off using their phone’s in-built maps and projecting them through the car’s touchscreen.
There’s no change to space inside, so rear seat passengers get reasonable head and legroom, storage is good and the 350-litre boot is competitive. Beware, though, that the optional panoramic glass roof eats into head space for tall passengers in the rear.
The changes to the 2008 don’t extend to the driving experience, however. The engines and suspension all remain the same, meaning you get a composed but not exciting drive, a notchy, long-throw gearshift, and direct but feel-free steering. Body control is decent for a small crossover, and the ride is comfortable at speed – although the standard 17-inch wheels on Allure trim cars can pick up potholes around town. Again, a Mazda CX-3 is a more incisive steer, but it’s a more expensive car.
The 2008 also gets a Grip Control system with five modes from sand to snow, allowing some all-terrain ability. It’s falls some way short of a proper four-wheel drive system, though.
The Puretech 110 petrol engine is a highlight. It’s not the most refined, but it has a strong mid-range and lots of flexibility. It’s also just as efficient on paper as the much slower PureTech 82. Spending the extra for the Puretech 130 might get you a sixth gear, but it only really feels faster at the top of the rev range. As a result, it’s our pick if you’re not interested in the diesel.