Making an impression in the Crossover stakes
The Peugeot 2008 faces some tough opposition in the compact Crossover market.
With some very economical engines and subtle but handsome styling, it may well be in with a decent shout.
Despite its beefy looks, the 2008 is front-wheel drive only, but some off-road ability is delivered on pokier 1.6-litre petrol and diesel variants via a clever 'Grip Control' traction system. This comprises an intelligent traction control system and special Mud & Snow 'All Weather' tyres, a compromise between full winter tyres and usual summer rubber.
Grip Control automatically improves the vehicle's traction on difficult surfaces such as snow, mud, dirt tracks and wet grass, working with the vehicle's Electronic Stability Programme to maintain the best possible traction from both front wheels.
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It has five selectable operating modes which can be chosen by the driver from a dedicated control mounted on the centre console, not unlike a Land Rover 'Terrain Response' system.
The engine line up will be familiar fare if you're familiar with the 208 supermini. Base versions get a choice of either an 82bhp 1.2 VTi petrol or a 70bhp 1.4-litre HDi diesel. Moving up the range, there's a 120bhp 1.6-litre VTi petrol unit and either 92 or 115bhp versions of the 1.6-litre e-HDi diesel, an engine with Stop & Start and, in lower-powered form, offering the option of an EGC auto gearbox.
The 2008 features a higher driving position than the 208 and it's longer too. At 4.16m, it's fully 20cm longer than its supermini cousin and there's a good deal more road presence to it as well with its pronounced wheel arches. With 17-inch alloy wheels and Mud & Snow tyres, it looks quite purposeful but the ground clearance is decidedly modest so it doesn't seem as if it's trying to project an image it can't live up to. You wouldn't choose one to tackle the Rubicon Trail for example.
Still, it's probably got more than enough about it to shrug off most British weather conditions. The black bumpers and body sills serve to protect it from abrasions with the addition of front and rear body protection and side mouldings in stainless steel. The front face adopts the latest Peugeot family face which is a heck of an improvement on their last one, it has to be said. LED daytime running lights and an intricately sculpted headlight pod give the 2008 a distinctive frontal signature and there's some really slick detailing, such as the way the metal door bases cut into the black sill mouldings or the way in which the tail lights frame the 2008's subtle shoulder line. It's not the most overtly styled car in its class, but it's quietly handsome in a way that's old-school Peugeot. There's a 360-litre boot. Pricing sits in the £13,000 to £20,000 bracket and the 2008 Crossover range consists of four trim levels: Access+, Active, Allure & Feline.£¡ Building on a product positioning strategy introduced with the 208, the 2008 has what Peugeot describes as 'competitive and progressive pricing', with less than a £1,000 walk from an equivalent trim level 208 version, coupled with high levels of specification. All variants get LED daytime running lights, colour-coded door mirrors and handles, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, driver's seat height adjustment, a decent quality CD stereo with a 3.5mm Jack for an external audio device and steering wheel-mounted controls, air conditioning that also cools the glovebox, six airbags and ESP stability control.
Further up the range on Feline and Allure models, the patented Grip Control system is fitted, optimising traction in poor conditions with the help of beefier 'Mud & Snow' tyres.
Overall, with four badge levels, six engine choices, six alloy wheel designs, seven trim environments, eight colours and 18 options to choose from, Peugeot hopes that the 2008 range has things fully covered. Peugeot is a company on the up right now. That might not seem instantly apparent from a brief glance at current UK sales figures but overall trends suggest that the firm has weathered the recessional storm.
The introduction of the 208 has helped here and this 2008 compact crossover vehicle can only bolster that sales performance.
It looks a solid product and has been competitively priced and specced for its intended market.