Peugeot is enjoying something of a renaissance. Following the successful reinvention of its 3008 and 5008 models, the 2008 has also now been transformed into a bold crossover.
Available with both petrol and diesel engines, plus an all-electric version (badged e-2008), the range is priced from £21,030.
Peugeot markets the 2008 as an “SUV”, but apart from its raised ride height and short overhangs, it would be a stretch to class it as a 4×4 off-roader.
That said, Advanced Grip Control is offered as an option. It’s an impressive system designed to optimise traction in low-grip conditions by selecting one of three modes (sand, mud or snow) and it offers a Hill Assist Descent Control.
So, though it’s not four-wheel drive, it is the next best thing and gives you a little extra confidence in extreme weather conditions, for instance.
One thing is for sure, its bold SUV-inspired looks give the 2008 serious road presence and sets it apart from its many rivals, such as the Renault Captur, Jeep Renegade, Skoda Kamiq and Nissan Juke.
It’s a class act inside too, featuring the latest version of Peugeot’s ‘i-Cockpit’ – a stylish, futuristic infotainment system boasting fluid, colourful graphics in a cabin that’s cool and individual.
A lot of thought has gone into ‘i-Cockpit’. For instance, the central screen can be navigated completely by touch, but Peugeot’s also realised that fumbling around on the move isn’t always ideal, so there’s also a bank of shortcut buttons directly below, giving direct access to the sat nav and phone.
Just like other recent Peugeots, the 2008 features a small steering wheel and a digital driver’s display set back. It’s an unusual layout, but it soon becomes second nature.
The interior build quality is excellent – rivalling more premium models from Volkswagen and Audi. There’s also plenty of space, with decent head and legroom for adult-sized rear-seat passengers, plus 434 litres of boot capacity (expanding to 1,467 litres with the back seats down).
We tested the most powerful petrol-engine version in high-end GT spec. The 153bhp three-cylinder turbocharged unit is paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and good for a 0-62mph sprint of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 129mph.
Fuel consumption is up to 46.6mpg, while CO2 emissions are 141g/km.
Obviously if you do a lot of miles, then the superb 1.5-litre diesel might make more sense (up to 65.7mph). Or, if you’re ready to make the switch to pure electric, the e-2008 has a useful 206-mile range.
The 1.2-litre engine in our test car is used widely throughout the Peugeot and Citroen range, and despite its size, it’s a punchy performer. Given the choice, we’d probably opt for the mid-range 128bhp version which has more than enough power and slightly better fuel economy.
The 2008 is offered in Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium trim levels. Equipment is very generous, with even the basic version getting 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, LED headlights and i-Cockpit. As ever, the more you pay, the more goodies on offer.
Ride comfort is on the firm side, but still good, while quick steering and a tight turning circle make it a great choice for urban environments. It drives well too, inspiring plenty of confidence, but we reckon it is at its best as a refined cruiser.
More spirited drivers will be pleased to know that you can switch between Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes, and it stays surprisingly flat in faster corners, while general grip levels are also up to scratch. The eight-speed automatic box also works well.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a distinctive compact crossover, then the bold new Peugeot 2008 should definitely be on your shortlist. Practical, well equipped, comfortable, enjoyable to drive and with a premium feel, it’s a class act.