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Long-term test review: Peugeot 2008

Final report: Peugeot 2008 crossover has been a great all-rounder, but now it’s time to say goodbye

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Peugeot 2008 can still cut it in the crossover class. It’s comfortable and offers a good level of tech, but after six months with this facelifted version, what we’re really excited to see is how Peugeot smooths out the kinks with its replacement, as it’ll take inspiration from the newer 3008.

Mileage: 10,336Economy: 49.8mpg

The stack of notepads you see me holding are all from features that our Peugeot 2008 has whisked me to and from during its six-month stay at Auto Express. The crossover’s been all around the UK, from far away Welsh towns to the city centres of London, Leicester and Birmingham, and each trip has helped me get to know the car better.

So as my time with the 2008 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on how the Peugeot works as a jack-of-all-trades.

First up is comfort. Long motorway stints have given me plenty of time to gauge how relaxing the 2008 is, and I’m still impressed with how good the seats are. The side bolsters hug you nicely so you don’t slip on the leather too much, and there’s good enough lumbar support to keep me comfortable for hundreds of miles.

Another point I’ve noticed is how impressive the 1.6 BlueHDi diesel is. It’s averaged around 50mpg over 10,336 miles, which is in line with what Peugeot says the 2008 should achieve in real-world driving. With 300Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, the 118bhp unit also feels lively, so overtaking is rarely an issue on motorways.

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In our last report, I pointed out that the soft chassis set-up means a fair amount of body roll when cornering, leaving the 2008 trailing against rivals like the Mazda CX-3 on twisty roads. However, in urban areas and on roads that are filled with speed bumps and potholes, the softer and more comfortable ride has been great.

Driving around London, the quick steering makes the 2008 feel like a smaller car than it actually is, while the raised ride height gives a great view of the road ahead. It does exactly what a compact crossover should do: seamlessly integrate with your busy life. However, that does make one or two of the downsides more apparent.

Take the tech. I like that it gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, but the touchscreen feels dated. To change radio stations, enter an address or use my phone, I often find myself prodding the screen several times to get a response. The on-board voice control isn’t an ideal alternative either, and I’ve often repeated instructions or just reverted back to prodding the screen.

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But these have been minor blots on an otherwise clean copybook. The 2008 has handled all journeys with ease and in comfort, has proven itself as a great vehicle for weekend getaways and has fitted well with my London life. It’s not the freshest crossover, but it’s certainly more than competent.

Peugeot 2008: second report

When it comes to steering wheels, size matters. We examine the Peugeot 2008's 

Mileage: 10,109Economy: 49.4mpg

When it updated its 2008 crossover, Peugeot tweaked a number of different areas to help keep the car at the top of its game – but one thing it didn’t touch was the car’s controversial i-Cockpit layout.

• Best crossovers on sale now

This has been a contentious subject since the concept first launched on its 208 supermini. Having spread to the 308 hatchback and 2008 we’re running on the Auto Express fleet, the small steering wheel set-up has been making waves once again. The idea of the i-Cockpit, Peugeot says, is that the small, sporty steering wheel is positioned lower down on the dash, with the dials and instruments above, so you peer over the wheel rather than through the gap between the centre and the rim.

But as I found out after breaking out the tape measure, the 2008’s steering wheel is actually narrower than that fitted to one of my colleague’s cars, a sporty Caterham Seven. The claim is that this layout means you divert your attention away from the road for less time than with a conventional dash, but I’m not so sure. You see, I don’t feel comfortable with the wheel down by my knees, and in a higher, more natural position it obscures the dials, so I spend more time bobbing around trying to see what speed I’m driving at.

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However, while this is a clear drawback to the cabin layout, the narrow diameter wheel brings other benefits, which I’ve been enjoying once I’ve managed to get the 2008 away from the congested streets of south-west London.

On twistier roads the small wheel and quick steering give the car genuine agility that most people might not expect from a compact crossover. In fact, the 2008’s keenness to change direction at normal speeds sometimes takes me by surprise, although the soft chassis set-up means it does roll a little when you initially turn into a bend.

This can take some getting used to, but you quickly learn how much lock to add and how the 2008 responds to your inputs. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll ever feel natural or relaxed with that low-down driving position.

It’s an issue that continues to firmly divide opinion, but while the 2008 has been updated, it’s important to remember that this is still i-Cockpit version 1.0 – and as with most things, it’s undergoing a continual process of improvement.

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Peugeot’s second-generation i-Cockpit made its debut on the 3008 crossover late last year, and with a digital display in place of the analogue dials here – plus a sleeker, more suave cabin overall – the concept makes more sense in the real world and for city driving in particular.

There are still a few caveats to the 3008’s improved layout, but following this car and the larger, seven-seat 5008 SUV, it’ll be interesting to see how Peugeot handles the redesign of the next 2008’s interior.

Peugeot 2008: first report

The most active member of our team takes Peugeot 2008 crossover into the great outdoors.

Mileage: 8,164Economy: 53.2mpg

Most people buy a crossover to deal with the daily grind, even though many manufacturers make a strong case for their small SUVs as lifestyle vehicles on top of the usual family-friendly sales pitch.

Take for example the newly facelifted Peugeot 2008, which has recently joined our fleet. Ad campaigns for the car featured the likes of free divers, parkour runners and desert journeys. I’m not quite as extreme as that, but to find out whether Peugeot’s crossover works as a runaround for weekend warriors in addition to delivering everyday usability, I’ve taken our 2008 on a few adventures of my own.

A 500-mile round trip to North Wales for some mountaineering and camping with a friend kicked things off, and the first thing that struck me was how comfortable the driving position is.

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Out top-spec GT Line – which is new to the revised 2008 range – features a unique interior design. The red-stitched seats make long motorway jaunts a breeze, but hug you nicely on tighter B-roads. The rest of the interior feels minimalist and modern, while there’s a decent level of tech on offer, including Apple CarPlay, as well as some neat features like the expansive standard panoramic glass roof.

We’ve gone for the 1.6-litre BlueHDi turbodiesel; with 118bhp and 300Nm of torque, it’s a strong engine. And the 2008 is also surprisingly good fun on twisty roads. Once off the motorway on the drive to Wales, I found myself forgetting about comfort and revelling in the 2008’s relatively decent driving dynamics for a higher-riding small crossover.

The grunty engine pulls the Peugeot out of corners strongly while the steering is sharp, helped by that small wheel as part of the i-Cockpit design (which I’ll talk about more in future reports). Driving like this does highlight the soft suspension, however, so there’s a fair amount of body roll – but at least the smooth ride makes it competent at racking up the miles.

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It’s also relatively practical, offering enough space for the outdoor equipment ‘lifestyle’ types like me need to pack aboard. Although our camping gear quickly filled the 360-litre boot, I’ve since taken the 2008 on a few mountain biking trips and found that, once you fold the rear seats down, the 1,194-litre maximum load capacity is more than enough to swallow my bike, as well as several big bags. So the sporty-looking 2008 caters well for those with an appetite for exploring the environment. But what about the environment itself?

Interestingly, Peugeot is one of the few companies to release its real-world fuel economy figures to the public, offering a little more transparency post-Dieselgate. Over a mix of roads I was keen to see how my driving stacked up not just against the quoted laboratory numbers, but also when compared with what Peugeot claims is realistically possible from the 2008. Our 53.2mpg average was nearly on par with Peugeot’s 54.3mpg real-world result and a good one at that, but way off the 76.3mpg official NEDC figure. No surprise there.

It’s not exactly a letdown, because the 1.6 BlueHDi 120 engine has proven frugal when carrying a full load. However, some of the tech that initially impressed isn’t quite so sophisticated the more you use it.

Take the auto wipers. If the blade isn’t perfectly clean, water will smear across the sensor, tricking it into thinking it’s raining hard and speeding up the wipers. Gentle drizzle can mean the wipers go off as well. 

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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