Peugeot’s all-new 2008 will be manufactured in Mulhouse, France, for the European market, and is due to arrive in Ireland this August. Prior to its Irish launch we travelled to Strasbourg to test drive the 2008 and see if it’s in a strong position to acquire sales from its main competitors, principally the Nissan Juke, Opel Mokka and Renault Captur.
The 2008 shares the same platform of the 208 and 67 per cent of its components. The 208 is a smart looking car and Peugeot has remained true to the 2008 original design sketches, you’d happily have one sitting in your driveway. The curves in the car’s roof were inspired by the Peugeot RCZ, it’s raised above the rear seats offering ample headroom for rear seat occupants. There are some personalisation options available for those that desire an individual look, mainly coloured mirror caps and trim sections on both the exterior and interior.
The Peugeot 2008 will be available across three trim specifications, Access, Active and Allure. The equipment details for each level will be confirmed closer to the car’s launch, we would however envisage that the majority of sales will be cars finished in Active trim. Across Ireland customers can choose from one petrol and three diesel engines to power their 2008. The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol engine produces 82hp, it’s ideally suited to city driving. We drove our test car through some tight and twisty country villages where it delivered admirable performance, coupled with a chirpy engine note from the three-cylinder engine that’s mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Following on from its Irish launch Peugeot will introduce a version of this 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol with a Stop Start system, this reduces its CO2 from 114g/km to 99g/km, which places it in a lower tax band (A2 €180).
We also drove the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre diesel variants. The former offers just 68hp and 160Nm of torque, it’s a relatively noisy unit under load. Unless you intend covering high mileage, our preference would be the 1.2-litre petrol alternative, it’s got a charm all of its own. If you’re opting for diesel power then the 1.6-litre HDi and eHDi are the best of the bunch. We drove the 1.6-litre eHDi 2008 for a considerable distance along motorway and rural roads. There are copious amounts of power on offer for a car of this size. With 115hp and 270Nm of torque transferred to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, it revels on motorways. It’s also a quiet, smooth diesel, with little or no engine noise transmitted into the cabin. Both of these 1.6-litre diesel models will return a combined fuel consumption of 4.0l/100km (58.8mpg).
What’s apparent when driving the 2008 is the sense of interior space on offer, it’s roomy, yet its external dimensions lead you to believe it’s a small car inside. You can choose to have a panoramic roof which increases this sense of space further, allowing natural light to illuminate the cabin. The rear loading sill is just 60cm off the ground which makes for easy loading of items, there are also some clever touches integrated, such as the recessed rails which run from the sill to the front seat backs, with six hooks to secure items safely. With the rear seats folded flat there’s 1,194 litres of luggage space available.
The 2008 is competent and engaging to drive, its handling is superior over some of its competitors, including the Nissan Juke and Opel Moka. You’re not going to expect a compact crossover to offer thrills, it’s a practical car for carrying out family duties. Nevertheless, if it handles and drives proficiently, it’s more relaxing and effortless to live with on a daily basis. The petite steering wheel has been carried over from the 208, it’s great to hold but a little awkward to position so you can see the driver’s instrument cluster clearly.
One of the optional extras available is the Peugeot Grip Control system. It’s effectively an advanced traction control system, combined with the fitment of mud and snow tyres on 17” wheels. You can select which mode you require from a dial on the centre console, allowing you to choose from snow, off-road, sand and ESP off. We tested the system on some muddy tracks that included some steep ascents and descents, where it proved to offer remarkable grip for a front-wheel drive car.
Peugeot are yet to confirm Irish prices for its new compact crossover contender, we would however envisage prices to commence from approximately €18,000. At this level it will be in a prime position within its segment, thus optimising its sales potential in this ever-growing segment.