In-depth reviews

Peugeot 2008 review - Engines, performance and drive

The 2008’s petrol, diesel and electric lineup is among the class best, and it’s decent to drive, too.

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Great combustion and electric powertrains
  • Smart ride and handling balance
  • Build quality
  • Expensive
  • Driving position won't suit everyone
  • Some rivals are more spacious

The Peugeot 2008 rides on the PSA group’s CMP platform. Before its application here, the modular architecture had already been put to use (albeit with shorter wheelbases) in the Peugeot 208, the Vauxhall Corsa and the DS 3 Crossback.

While it endows the latest 2008 with a stronger, lighter structure than its predecessor, it also enables Peugeot to offer the option of petrol, diesel, and fully electric powerplants in the same model. 

The e-2008, along with the DS 3 Crossback e-Tense, are the first cars in the compact crossover class to go fully battery powered. While we cover the electric model in greater detail in our specific Peugeot e-2008 review, in short, it’s a wonderfully smooth, quiet and relaxing car to drive. In the real world it’ll manage a perfectly adequate 200 mile range between charges (and likely more if you only drive around town).

The 2008’s petrol engine range is made up of a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder unit offered in three power outputs. Whether you choose the 100bhp, 129bhp or 153bhp version, they’re great units: the power delivery is linear, it feels lively and the maximum torque comes in at just 1,750rpm, so there isn’t the constant pressure to shift down gears on long climbs or at motorway speeds.

The base petrol engine’s peak torque figure stands at 205Nm, while the middle offering ups that to 230Nm. The top spec engine offers just 10Nm more, and as the extra 24bhp is only noticeable at the top of the rev range, we think that most buyers will be best off saving a bit of cash and going for the 129bhp model. Refinement for this unit is above average for the class, though the equivalent petrol engine in the Renault Captur is quieter still, transmitting a little less vibration into the cabin.

Diesel buyers get one option: a 1.5-litre unit with 101bhp. Peak torque is a healthy 250Nm, so performance is barely affected even when the car is loaded up with passengers. If you plan to cover high average mileages, then little else in this class will use less fuel. Except for the e-2008. 

2008 buyers have a choice of two different gearboxes. The diesel and the 100bhp petrol are available with a six-speed manual only, the top spec petrol is eight-speed automatic only, and the 129bhp petrol is available with either. Weird gear selector shape aside, the auto is great to use; shifting briskly and, at least when pottering about, almost imperceptibly. Peugeot manual ‘boxes in recent times have been vague and rubbery, but the unit in the 2008 is a significant improvement. It’s still not as joyous to use as a Honda or Mazda manual, but it does the job.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

On paper, the performance ranges from the 1.5-litre diesel, which takes 11.4 seconds to cover the 0-62mph dash, to the 153bhp petrol that manages the same sprint in a livelier 8.2 seconds. The 1.2-litre 100bhp petrol version is slightly quicker than the diesel off the mark, but it produces its power further up the rev range, so the extra torque of the diesel unit will better suit those seeking a more relaxed drive.

When we tested the 129bhp petrol model against the equivalent Ford Puma and Renault Captur, whether timed against the clock from 0-62mph, or in a range of in-gear acceleration tests, there was never more than a couple of tenths between these close rivals.

For those wanting a greener alternative, the all-electric e-2008 has a 50kWh battery, uses a single electric motor making 134bhp and 260Nm of torque, and is good for 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds.

Out on the road, the 2008 is accomplished to drive, if not quite class leading. When pitted against the Renault Captur, the Peugeot’s ride feels a little fidgety at low speeds, and against the Puma, the chassis lacks a degree of control and finesse. Still, the Renault leads the segment for comfort and the Puma leads it for fun, so the 2008 remains above average in both areas.

It’s easy to drive, too. The small steering wheel might take some getting used to but the steering itself is very light, making the 2008 a great car for low speed manoeuvres

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