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The Top Gear car review:Peugeot 2008
For:Interior fabrics, useful bootspace, affordability, nice to drive
Against:Looks a bit odd, doesn't it?
1.6 e-HDi 115 Allure 5dr
In the old days, we’d have been talking about a small estate car here. But the car world is all mashed up right now, and so – instead of...
We have a go in Pug’s 208-based 1.6 VTi 120. Not half bad…
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 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.
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.
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 own 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 £13,500, 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 76mpg diesels…).