Peugeot 2008 review - Engines, performance and drive
The 2008 offers a comfortable drive, but is far from the sportiest or most agile choice in the class
The facelift the Peugeot 2008 was given in 2016 was mainly cosmetic, because under the skin, it’s been left largely unchanged. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The 2008’s PF1 platform has undergone plenty of development over the years. It’s the same chassis as that in the outgoing 208 supermini, but with longer-travel suspension thanks to the increased ride height here, the 2008 should offer improved comfort.
Mid-range Allure Premium 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.
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 and precision you’ll find in other rivals. 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.
The Peugeot’s chassis isn’t as composed as some rivals, crashing over bumps and feeling skittish over broken surfaces. It also loses composure over sharp ridges, so feels much more at home on smoother, gently undulating roads.
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However, the small steering wheel makes the 2008 feel pretty agile, with only small inputs at the wheel needed to make the car change direction. The downside is that the softer suspension set-up means the chassis often can’t keep pace with your requests, so there’s more body roll in corners than would be ideal.
The suspension also has a tendency to fidget over bumps, but nevertheless, the car is comfortable, particularly at lower speeds where the 2008 copes well with potholes and sharp ridges.
On the motorway, 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.
Grip Control is standard on higher-spec 2008s; 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 1.5-litre diesel (which replaced the original 1.6 BlueHDi) – 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 82 petrol engine, with 81bhp, although we’d avoid this base unit as performance is rather sluggish. A better option is the livelier 108bhp 1.2 PureTech 110.
There’s also a 128bhp 1.2 petrol engine, badged 1.2 PureTech 130. In the relatively lightweight 2008, which tips the scales at 1,160kg, it delivers strong performance.
However, for us, the smooth, punchy, economical diesels are the clear pick. There have been 1.4 HDi and 1.6 BlueHDi diesels in the past, but the 1.5 BlueHDi has been introduced in 2018 to help meet new emissions legislation.
The 99bhp 1.5 BlueHDi 100 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 BlueHDi 120 form, but you do pay extra for this and we’d say the 99bhp unit is perfectly suited to every-day driving.
The diesels come as standard with a six-speed manual for the BlueHDi 100, or a standard six-speed auto for the more powerful version; the lower-powered PureTech petrol gets a five-speed manual while the upper two options come with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
In this review
- 1Peugeot 2008 review (2013 - 2020)The Peugeot 2008 is a small SUV that offers upmarket practicality and good value for money
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe 2008 offers a comfortable drive, but is far from the sportiest or most agile choice in the class
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe 2008 is keenly priced, keeping costs down, and is very economical if you choose the right engine
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe 2008 got a more muscular look for 2016, while the interior remains classy with a layout that won't suit all tastes
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIt’s small on the outside, but there’s a decent amount of space for passengers and luggage inside the 2008
- 6Reliability and SafetyAs it’s based on the 208 supermini, the 2008 is tried and tested, and it scores well for safety, too