Peugeot has tweaked its popular 2008 crossover. Ted Welford tries it out.
Ever since Peugeot launched its second-generation 2008 crossover four years ago, it’s been a hugely popular car and is regularly in the list of Europe’s best-selling models in this class.
Based on the new 208, it featured a striking look, a high-end cabin and the option of the electric e-2008, which accounted for 17 per cent of European sales last year – higher than the class average. This segment is fast-paced, however, and as good as the 2008 was at launch, it’s now back for a refresh to keep it competitive. It’s a testament to its importance that the 2008 has been revised ahead of the 208, too, despite the smaller supermini arriving on sale first.
The 2008, to our eyes at least, was always a great-looking car, so Peugeot hasn’t messed too much with the formula in that respect. That said, the 2008 takes various styling cues from Peugeot’s latest models, such as a new three-claw lighting signature and a body-coloured patterned grille, depending on trim level.
All models now come with a larger 10-inch touchscreen as well, while Peugeot’s trademark i-Cockpit digital instrument cluster has had an update as well.
The main change with this new 2008 is an upgraded electric model. Boasting more power and a bigger battery, Peugeot now claims up to 252 miles, up from 214 on the previous car.
The French firm continues to offer ordinary petrol engines too, using its tried-and-tested 1.2-litre turbocharged PureTech unit. You can have it with 99bhp in the entry-level Active grade, but our test car uses the more powerful 129bhp output with a six-speed manual gearbox, though an eight-speed automatic is also available.
Accelerating to 60mph takes 8.7 seconds in this 2008, while Peugeot claims up to 52.7mpg and 127g/km CO2 emissions. A 48-volt mild-hybrid will join the range in 2024 too.
Jump inside and if you’re not familiar with modern Peugeots, the combination of a tiny steering wheel and a large instrument cluster means you might have to change your usual driving position a bit. But once that’s sorted, it’s very easy to get comfortable in the 2008. In fact, it drives well, with a compliant ride that’s very well-judged for British roads, not being overly soft yet not firm. It’s a balance many of its rivals can’t get right.
The 2008 isn’t marketed as being sporty in any way, but it handles surprisingly well, and combined with the small steering wheel, feels nimble for a vehicle of this type. Though the light clutch and long throw of the manual gearbox in the 2008 takes a bit of getting used to (it’s the same across all manual models from Peugeot’s parent company Stellantis), this petrol engine is a great fit. It delivers more than enough pace for a compact crossover, yet can return getting on 50mpg in regular driving.
Peugeot’s design language has gotten progressively bolder in recent years, and even as the ‘old’ 2008 is discontinued, it still looks remarkably fresh. As we’ve mentioned, Peugeot hasn’t gone too extreme with the styling changes, but there are various touches inspired by the firm’s newer models.
These include the fancy colour-coded grille, which looks fantastic to our eyes, and a new three-claw LED lighting signature at the front. There is a range of distinctive new wheel designs available, with the split design on our Allure test car looking particularly good.
The main change inside is the new 10-inch touchscreen. Previously available on only top-spec 2008s, all models now use it. Though we’d prefer a few more shortcut buttons to improve its usability, it largely works well. The digital instrument cluster remains a talking point as well, really helping to modernise the interior and bringing a great level of personalisation to the displays. It’s a great-looking cabin too, with the small steering wheel and sculpted dashboard making it far more interesting than plain rivals like the Skoda Kamiq and Ford Puma.
The quality is mainly impressive, though some of the plastics on the door cards feel a bit cheap, and there’s far too much gloss black used around areas like the gearstick where it’s most likely to be scratched. There are roomier cars available in this class, however, with the 2008 not quite having the same level of flexibility as some of its rivals – the Kamiq’s rear seats slide, for example, while the Puma has a huge underfloor boot storage area.
Peugeot has trimmed the choice of trim levels available on this new 2008, leaving three models to choose from.
It starts with the Active, which brings climate control, LED headlights and rear parking sensors, but misses out on alloy wheels or the digital instrument cluster. Both of these are provided with the Allure trim, our pick of the range, which also brings leather-effect seats, tinted rear windows and front parking sensors. At the top of the range, the GT model then adds upgraded LED lights, configurable ambient lighting, keyless entry and a reversing camera.
The compact crossover class is filled with so many options that it can make standing out difficult. But Peugeot’s 2008 continues to shine through with its eye-catching styling, bold interior and reasonable road manners.
Upgrades here, at least on petrol models, are fairly small but highlight how impressive the 2008 was in the first place. This Peugeot might not lead the segment, but it’s placed very close to the top.