Peugeot 2008 Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
Car Review

Peugeot 2008

Published: 10 Dec 2019


What is it like to drive?

We’ll start with electric, because it’s most interesting. It’s all typical EV fare – gliding away silently, foxing onlookers, before being made very aware of wind noise on the move with no engine noise to mask it. What’s lacking is the holy-heck-what-just-happened? acceleration even the weediest of EVs offer at urban speeds; the e-2008 is a little more subtle than that, its power delivered smoothly enough to never upset grip at the front axle (at the cost of perplexed, unexpecting passengers).

But there’s more depth to the experience here. A Drive Mode toggle switches between Eco (80bhp), Normal (108bhp) and Sport (the full 134bhp) and allows you to best balance performance and battery range. Kept in the latter it’s a pleasingly brisk car – the punchiest feeling 2008 in the range – but in truth you might explore it once and then default to Normal the rest of the time, only really calling on Eco when the next charger looks ominously far away. There’s an app to help you manage all that sort of stuff, of course.

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The Peugeot e-208 and DS 3 E-Tense have both been criticised for riding too firmly, but the e-2008 is perfectly tolerable, and much like its petrol and diesel range mates, doesn’t really suffer from a punishing ride any more than its myriad rivals on similarly plump 18in wheels. As ever, if you can resist large alloys you’ll have a nicer time for it.

The payoff of a firm-edged ride is reasonably sharp handling, and the 2008 certainly makes its case as the sportiest small crossover thing in the Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Vauxhall empire. Whether buyers will care (or even notice) that it’s amiable to being thrown around is another thing, of course. Of more relevance is how hushed it is on a motorway cruise and just how flipping good the eight-speed automatic is on petrol models. A bit of us dies inside saying it, but it’s a better choice than the manual. We’ll hand our petrolhead card in at the door.

Accruing most sales will be the 128bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol, and rightly so: it accelerates keenly and cruises politely. So much so, the 153bhp version can’t help but feel a little frivolous. Either is a pleasant choice if you just can’t factor an e-2008 into your routine just yet, though.

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