Fancy dials, great petrol engines and a decent EV
Firm (ish) ride, pricey if you tick too many boxes
What is it?
Oh yes, it’s another dinky SUV. But it’s hard to be angry at something wearing the face of a robotic chipmunk like this Peugeot 2008 does.
It’s an aesthetically pleasing thing all round, really, looking like it was designed from the off as an individual model. As opposed to the old 2008, which had the demeanour of a 208 hatchback carrying Christmas weight. This new one looks big, mind, and indeed it’s longer and more commodious than before.
And with a bit more of a USP to it. As well as the usual handful of petrol and diesel options, there’s a fully electric e-2008 in the range that simply slots batteries and motors beneath the regular car and wears some very minor exterior tell-tales. It’s available on all trim levels – right down to the base-spec Active with its diddy 16in wheels – and thus democratises plug-in powertrains a little better than numerous rivals have. It’s trying to make electric power seem normal.
Peugeot’s put effort into making the e-2008 drive more like a regular automatic car, too, and speaking of transmissions, the higher powered petrols are available with a grown-up eight-speed auto as well as a conventional six-speed manual.
The engine range largely echoes the Peugeot 208’s, but the power outputs are higher to compensate for more weight and size: the entry-level 2008 has 99bhp, and the friskiest is no longer the 134bhp EV, but a 153bhp petrol, in line with the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense it’s essentially a cousin of. The best-selling model will be a 128bhp petrol with a manual gearbox, with the e-2008 making up around ten per cent of sales and the sole, 99bhp diesel a meagre five per cent.
Electric feels like the most natural fit for the glitzy, tech-heavy interior and the same mixture of 100kW power and 50kWh battery as the e-208 have been slotted under the e-2008, adding around 350kg to the kerb weight (and thus topping 1.5 tonnes) but keeping it all in the floor. Better for handling, and it means room for people and luggage is completely unimpeded too. The fully charged range is 193 miles.
All 2008s are front-driven only, but Grip Control – a rufty-tufty stability control system for looser surfaces – will be an option. Most buyers won’t care, nor will they be bothered that Peugeot and Michelin worked together on bespoke tyres to reduce rolling resistance to make the whole thing more refined and efficient. The existence of both evidences that a bit more thought has gone into this than puffing a bit of air into a 208 to inflate it into the class above, though.
All of which bodes well for this being a dinky SUV that continues to make us smile once its rodent-esque face is out of view. Prices start at a whisker over £20,000, with the cheapest e-2008 costing eight grand more.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
We can hear you stifling your yawns, as yet another small SUV thingy launches. This is among the good ‘uns, though: it suits its skin, rather than looking like a bloated hatchback, and while its tech is all nabbed from the smaller 208, it’s implemented beautifully and – between the optional electric power and those fancy dials – gives the 2008 a genuinely fresh feel in a bustling, often dizzyingly crowded genre.
Cost might be of minor concern, however: if you want one of the nicer transmissions, the two-tone colour scheme and some decent safety equipment, you’ll be sailing towards 30 grand before you know it. Peugeot’s strict opposition to discounting means its cars have better residuals than ever, mind.