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  • Impressive packaging; fine interior quality; decent engines; performance with manual transmission; expected price tag
  • Four-speed automatic unacceptable in 2013; still not as roomy as a small wagon; no reversing camera available; no AWD option

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review

The Peugeot 2008 enters a new sub sub-compact SUV segment yet to reach Australia, but it’s one that will offer buyers small, jacked up wagons based on light hatchbacks, for less than $25,000.

In fact, the 208-based Peugeot 2008 and its forthcoming rivals, the Fiesta-based Ford EcoSport and Clio-based Renault Captur, all have their international launches staged within weeks of each other – stay tuned for first drives of the other two – while the Barina-based Holden Trax will arrive first in Australia mid year.

For what it is, the Peugeot 2008 is a surprisingly good package. Despite being based on the city-sized Peugeot 208, the mini SUV teams ample room and storage space for a small family with stylish and sophisticated design. It’s arguably one of the best-looking small SUV models from the outside, and although it’s classified as a sub-compact SUV, it certainly doesn’t look miniature in person.

Like the 208 on which it’s heavily based, the interior is of much higher quality than expected for a car of its size, while equipment levels are also impressive. Once inside it doesn’t take long to notice the high quality fabrics and plastics used throughout the cabin. Although hard plastics are used on the doors, the look and feel of the dash and instrument cluster is good enough to rival several more expensive SUV models.

All Peugeot 2008s come with a seven-inch high-resolution colour touchscreen that controls audio and satellite navigation (the latter not yet confirmed for Australian cars). In addition, there are also two USB ports for connecting and charging phones and media devices.

Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review

We used the satellite navigation system to guide us over 300km across France and found it precise and accurate. Nonetheless, the iPod integration via USB proved glitchy (as in 208 GTi) with our iPhone 5, while another iPhone 4 randomly skipped and blacked-out during playback. This was not an issue using Bluetooth audio streaming.

There are some equipment omissions, however, such as the lack of a reversing camera; although it does have sensors all around. Peugeot decided that a self-parking system was a better use of its resources than installing a reversing camera. This may change for Australian-delivered 2008s, but it remains to be seen.

The front seats are located slightly higher than in the 208; good news for those whose view of the multi-function display in the 208 is obscured by the steering wheel due to its less than ideal seating position.

The seats are supportive and comfortable, and although it may not look it, you can genuinely fit four adults in the car without any hassle. The rear leg and headroom is decent if you measure south of 180cm. It can carry five but the fifth rider will feel the squeeze.

The cabin ambience is very good, with dark textures well contrasted with other tones throughout. There’s the option for a textured roof lining, but even in base trim we found the 2008’s interior to be of excellent quality.

The boot, measuring 422 litres with the rear seats up is surprisingly large, measuring more than a 100L larger than the size-larger Subaru XV, and even 27L larger than the Volkswagen Tiguan two sizes up in the SUV class. This means it can easily accommodate a large pram and the week’s shopping at once.

Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review

Of course, you can fold the rear seats completely flat, which increases the boot size to a massive 1400L, making those trips to Ikea a less frustrating experience.

The Peugeot 2008 has been built to accommodate eight different engine configurations, four petrol and four diesel. Australia’s powertrain line-up is still to be finalised. The only engine that has been confirmed is the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol, which has 88kW of power and 160Nm of torque.

The Achilles heel of the 2008 will be its four-speed automatic, the only automatic option to be offered. It is unacceptable for any new car in 2013 to launch with just four gears. In five-speed manual form the 1.6-litre petrol weighs in at 1080kg and goes from 0-100km/h in 9.5 seconds, but the auto struggles with an additional 60kg and takes a further 1.7 seconds to complete the same dash.

We drove the manual variant around the twisty mountains of southern France and found it to be more than adequate for the task with well-placed gear ratios and an easy to operate clutch.

Handling-wise the Peugeot 2008 is superb. It turns in well and has enormous grip, regardless of its fuel-efficiency-over-grip optimised tyres. Pushed well past its modest tyre grip levels, the Pug’s body control and agility proved excellent, particularly for a tall riding vehicle. The stability control system is well calibrated, only interfering when required.

Excellent ride quality is also a 2008 highlight, with Peugeot’s mini SUV absorbing the bumps with minimal cabin intrusion. We will have to wait for an Australian drive in October to assess the car’s ride on local roads, but from first impressions it’s likely to be comfortably firm and controlled.

Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review

The other potential for Australia is one of the two 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engines. The engine is available with either 84kW of power and 270Nm of torque or 68kW/230Nm. It’s likely that Australia will stick with the lower-output diesel given the price-sensitive nature of the sub-compact SUV segment.

We drove both diesel variants and found them largely ideal, although neither are as smooth as the petrol. Both offer better fuel efficiency (no Australian figures yet) and a six-speed manual instead of a five, but without a traditional automatic option neither is likely to be overwhelmingly popular in our market.

Peugeot Australia is also considering a 60kW/118Nm 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol as a price leader. Our brief drive in that model, which is manual only, was not particularly pleasant, with the three-cylinder unit making considerable noise to get up to speed (0-100km/h in 13.5 seconds). What is a sweet little engine in the 208 hatchback, struggles with the extra weight of the 2008.

All 2008s have a system called Grip Control, which s Peugeot’s attempt to compensate for the lack of a four-wheel-drive system. Basically a multi-mode traction control unit, the torque-vectoring system works in five different modes (standard, snow, all terrain, sand and off) and uses a computer system to work out the best way to distribute torque between the two front wheels.

We tested the 2008 in muddy conditions and managed to easily get stuck. But with the grip control on, it certainly made a difference getting out. Nonetheless it’s by no means a replacement for 4WD and the 2008 should not venture too far from the tarmac too often.

Peugeot 2008 Review
Peugeot 2008 Review

The Peugeot 2008 will face tough competition when it arrives here in October. Pricing will be announced in the coming months, however we suspect that if the 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine makes the cut, it will start in the low-20s for the manual, with the 1.6-litre petrol likely to be in the mid- to high-20s depending on specification.

While the 2008 is an impressive sub-compact SUV with decent performance, good space utilisation and an impressive ride and handling balance, the untried four-speed auto will no doubt affect its driveability … and possibly its standing against the forthcoming EcoSport, Trax and Captur. Stay tuned.


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PEUGEOT 2008 BREAKDOWN

Peugeot 2008 Review
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  • Zaccy16

    Looks like a decent car, handling sounds promising and with a manual has adequete performance, the renualt captur and ecosport look as good as this or better IMO, all three of these cars will smash the horrible barina based trax!

    • Andrew

      They should smash the Trax, but most probably won’t considering people (more often than not) base their purchases on the stereotypes surrounding brands (e.g. Peugot and Renault being expensive, unreliable)

      • Henry Toussaint

        The Trax also has AWD Avalible I’m pretty sure..They should make this have AWD!

      • Zaccy16

        i agree, people will buy the trax even though it is a POS becuase it has a holden badge stuck on it!

        • Tom

          No, people won’t buy it because it has a Holden badge stuck on it, just like you.

  • richeiduck

    they have to be joking surely with a 4sp auto/

    • save it for the track

      The lack of auto’s or older type auto’s in many of these European marques is an indication of the expectations of their home markets. Most Europeans buying a car of that size in that price range would go manual anyway. I know first hand just how well a perceived ‘low power’ diesel performs on European roads with a manual, with 66kw and about 200Nm more than adequate in a small wagon on a european trip with three adults a child and a car full of luggage. Even managed 180 on the autobahn in it. The cargo space seems excellent for the size of the vehicle.

    • shgfh

      No 4spd auto on this in France (manual only range there). They probably think it’s a joke that you can’t/won’t drive manual.

    • Westie

      Agree that four isn’t enough, but I’d take a properly calibrated four speed over some of the hyperactive six speeders out there. Think VE Omega 3.0 4sp vs 6sp. No better economy, barely better performance and forever chopping back and forth between gears.

  • mo

    The reason this car is cheap is because its not AWD. Honestly I don’t understand the 2WD SUV segment. They have the disadvantages of SUV’s, and none of the advantages. If you want a city car, get a city car. If you want a car with some off-road credentials, at least get one with AWD! This car has no raison d’etre.

  • Carl96190

    A four-speed automatic . . . would that be the AL4, which was one of the worst pieces of engineering to come out of the French automotive industry? I have one in my 406 diesel. Service the ‘sealed for life’ transmission every 20,000km, have an extra capacity sump pan fitted and perhaps even an oil cooler, unless you want to pay for a rebuild every 100,000km or so.

  • Steve

    Today I drove one of these and I loved it, but it has flaws. It handles really well, the cabin is beautifully appointed, but it is a bit underdone power wise. The engine needs more power and it needs to be a 6 speed auto. The top of range Allure runs at around $35k and for that sort of money the car needs decent performance. The cabin layout, quality interior and the space is worthy of the money if they could give it a bit more grunt.

Peugeot 2008 Specs

ACTIVE : 1.2L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 5 SP MANUAL - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
PEUGEOT
Model
2008
Variant
ACTIVE
Year
2013
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
1.2L
Cylinders
INLINE 3
Max. Torque
118Nm @  2750rpm
Max. Power
60kW @  5750rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
W/kg
Bore & Stroke
75x90.5mm
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
50
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
4.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
0
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1556mm
Length
4159mm
Width
1739mm
Ground Clearance
165mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:780  Unbrake:560
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
0
Front Rim Size
6.5x16
Rear Rim Size
6.5x16
Front Tyres
195/60 R16
Rear Tyres
195/60 R16
Wheel Base
2537
Front Track
1482
Rear Track
1492
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Driver
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Interior
Cloth Trim
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Driver
Satellite Navigation
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  20,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
8-I-10
Country of Origin
FRANCE