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The Top Gear car review: Peugeot 2008

£13,140£20,290
7/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Interior fabrics, useful bootspace, affordability

Against: 

Looks a bit odd, doesn't it?
Interesting inside, slightly disappointing outside. The 2008 is a proper little mashup, which just about works.

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Our choice

Peugeot

1.6 e-HDi 115 Allure 5dr

£18,290
N/A
71mpg
10.40s
115bhp
105g/km

What we say: 

Bye, bye dreary 207 SW, hello cheery 2008 - the 208's taller, flashier, more off-roadery cousin

What is it?

A 208 with an extra zero in the name. Although it’s not quite as simple as that. In the old days we’d have been talking about a small estate car here – that’s how Peugeot used to diversify its hatchbacks. But the car world is all mashed up nowadays, and so – instead of creating a successor to the 207 SW mini-estate – Peugeot has decided to inflate the 208 to create the 2008.

In other words, it’s Peugeot’s first proper crack at a part-hatch-part-SUV-type-thing that’ll fight for attention among the Renault Capturs and Nissan Jukes of this world, in the increasingly busy small ’n’ chunky crossover market.

Driving

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the way it goes down a road. The VTI version weighs just 1,080kg – a little more than the 208 on which it’s based, but still much less plump than the old 207 – and it’s not particularly tall, so there’s not much slop and sway. The 1.6-litre petrol engine (a less powerful, non-turbo version of the 208 GTi’s) feels lively enough, but go for a 115bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine and things aren’t quite as sweet. It’s 100kg heavier than the petrol and, while it’s stronger, you really do feel the extra mass over the front wheels – whether it’s over speed bumps or through the exciting part of a corner, where it has a tendency to wander wide.

The 2008 is FWD only, though pricier versions come with Grip Control, which uses electronics to divvy up power across the front axle. Even so, it’ll never fully defeat the landscape, and feels like an unnecessary gesture towards its SUV aspirations.

On the inside

It feels similar to a five-door 208 inside, with the addition of a few extra centimetres of headroom for rear passengers. It’s 65mm taller than the 208, the boot’s more useful and the floor is flush to the edge for easy loading. The rear seats fold flat, too. The cabin layout is familiar, though there’s an awkward new handbrake and refreshed materials – we particularly liked the optional coppery air vent surrounds and hessian-effect dash trim.

Owning

If you can live with the looks, you’ll probably get along fine with the 2008. The 1.6 HDi should deliver over 50mpg in the real world (we know, because our 208 long-termer did so). And with all those nice fabrics in the cabin, you’ll have plenty to stroke should you get bored in traffic. With a boggo car starting at around £13,000, you can imagine doing so with a justifiably smug face, particularly given how the sweet 1.2 triple feels anything but bargain basement in use. It even averages 57mpg (although if economy is your thing, look at the 70mpg diesels…).

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
1.2 PureTech 130 Allure 5dr
9.3s 110g/km 58.9 128 £17,240
The cheapest
1.2 VTi Access+ 5dr
13.5s 114g/km 57.6 82 £13,140
The greenest
1.6 BlueHDi 100 Active 5dr
11.3s 95g/km 78.5 99 £16,490

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

6/10

Dacia Duster

£9,260£15,810
The Dacia Duster is about the same size, but does without fashionable fripperies and just gets on with life. Much cheaper, too.