Based on the zippy Peugeot 208 light hatch, the 2008 brought practicality, dynamic handling and excellent interior to the mix but was undermined by a lacklustre powertrain. Its mid-life facelift has changed all this thanks to the zippy 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo engine mated to a Toyota sourced six-speed automatic transmission that makes it hard to believe you’re driving the same car.
While the previous model barely made an impact here against the likes of the segment leading Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX and Holden Trax, the 2017 Peugeot 2008 sets a new standard in terms of performance, handling and comfort while being an affordable European alternative.
Price and features
The Peugeot 2008 currently comes in two variants, the Active and Allure both powered by the new tiny, but gutsy, 81kW PureTech e-THP engine.
The entry level Active is priced from $26.490 and comes with more standard features than before including a new central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and reversing camera plus rear parking sensors, cruise control with speed limiter, electronic folding door mirrors, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The $30,990 Allure comes with extras including satellite navigation (a $1500 option in the Active), automatic parking, ‘Grip Control’ traction enhancement for driving on mud, snow, and sand, 17-inch alloys, and autonomous emergency braking (active city braking).
Both variants come with automatic transmission, with manual modes via the gear shift if you feel like providing more input.
Pros and cons
Performance is excellent for such a small engine. The 81kW/205Nm 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo provides far livelier acceleration than its tiny capacity suggests, with more than sufficient oomph for quick getaways and effortless highway cruising. It’s also very efficient, with a diesel-like combined fuel economy rating of just 4.8L/100km.
Unlike the drab 1.6-litre engine it replaces, the new powertrain makes the most of the 2008’s excellent chassis. Smooth and responsive handling is enhanced by the suspension that provides a comfortable ride that seems tuned for Australian conditions.
The cockpit is ergonomically designed with a low steering wheel that sits under the gauges rather than around them. This is a little disconcerting at first but it helps you read the gauges without having to take your eyes off the road, which, combined with the comfortable front seats, helps reduce fatigue. Everything is elegantly designed, a highlight being the ‘cobra’ shaped handbrake lever.
As well as being a joy to drive, the Peugeot 2008 is pleasant for passengers with a spacious, light-filled cabin. The rear seats are excellent and seat two adults comfortably. There’s plenty of legroom and unlike some small SUVs there’s an unobstructed side view and good vision over the front seats. Not many crossovers make for good family cars, though this would be more than adequate with a couple of kids in tow.
On the minus side, the base model doesn’t come with the active city braking. And there’s no manual option, though the automatic is still an enjoyable car to drive especially in manual mode.
And while it has undergone a facelift it still looks a little bland compared to the CX-3 and new Toyota C-HR which totally belies the fact that this is such a great car to drive – it's like Cinderella minus the ball gown.
If you’re quick you’ll get a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, however this is a limited offer meaning any 2008 sold after June 1, 2017 will only be covered Peugeot’s regular three-year, 100,000km warranty.
The one to get
Not much separates the two variants, but the Allure’s extra kit including the Grip Control, active city braking and cruise control makes it capable car. If you can afford an extra $1000, the panoramic glass roof with opaque sunblind and LED lights adds a heap more atmosphere and wow factor to the cabin.