+ Stylish looks
+ Wide range of powertrain options
+ Good levels of equipment
- Can be pricey
- Rear passenger space
- Infotainment system could be better
Verdict: The new Peugeot 2008 is a brilliant allrounder that delivers on the virtues of a compact SUV with little compromise. It not do much to encourage keen driving, but its refinement, handsome design, and premium nature will find it plenty of homes.
Peugeot is on something of a roll at the moment thanks to a really strong product portfolio. Efforts such as the new 3008, 5008, 508 and 208 banishing memories of Peugeot’s lacklustre performances of the early 2000s. The first-generation Peugeot 2008 wasn’t a bad car, but it was very much a hatchback on stilts. This all-new model starts from scratch and is very much geared towards that Instagram-friendly world of Compact SUVs.
It’s a great looking thing, isn’t it? A confident outline is detailed with interesting shapes and contrasting elements. Distinctive lighting signatures and a rather unique grille mean you’re unlikely to mistake it for one of the many other attention-seeking SUVs in the car park. There’s an air of sophistication to this design, an upmarket appeal for sure.
It’s a similar story for the interior that offers occupants plenty of premium materials, interesting textured surfaces, mood lighting and plenty of tech dependant upon trim. The contoured dashboard sets the tone with neatly integrated vents and neat ‘piano’ shortcut keys for the infotainment system. Entry cars get a 7-inch screen, but progress to GT and the large 10-inch system is a strong asset. GT cars also get the very cool 3D instrument cluster that has details lift from the background just like in the cinema. Below that is Peugeot’s trademark shrunken steering wheel and high console that divides driver and passenger.
Rear occupants have a reasonable amount of space, although legroom for adults is not the best in this class. A healthy 434-litre boot is ideal for the weekly shopping trip, and underfloor storage helps keep valuables in one piece.
Variety is the spice of life when it comes to the 2008 with petrol, diesel and electric options. Be sure to check out our e-2008 review if you’re thinking of going electric, but both the 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel are commendable. The little three-cylinder petrol possesses healthy torque and enthusiastic performance that’s at home both in town and on faster roads, while the new 1.5-litre diesel is much more refined than before and impressively economic in the real world.
If you’re after an involving time behind the wheel, look elsewhere. The Peugeot 2008 does very little to encourage a spirited drive, instead focusing its efforts on being easy to manoeuvre around town and comfortable over bumps. Its light steering makes for an ideal urban companion, although the rakish rear windscreen far less so. Thankfully a reversing camera is standard on all but the base specification.
The Peugeot 2008 is a really commendable effort from the French marque, and certainly a car worthy of your consideration. It looks and feels premium, provides a refined drive, and is well equipped from the get-go. Higher trims can prove costly but keep things sensible and there’s value to be had in terms of equipment over some rivals.
The Peugeot 2008’s cabin is a really strong hand for this compact SUV. While many manufacturers in this class put most of their efforts into exterior styling, the interior of the Peugeot is just as impressive. It sports the latest iteration of the ‘i-Cockpit’ design that sees a smaller steering wheel sit beneath the instrumentation. There’s a distinctive dashboard design, customisable mood lighting and plenty of interesting surfaces that give this space real character. It’s a far more expressive cabin than many rivals.
You sit in that desirable raised driving position in a rather sportily styled seat. The front posts prove comfortable, although, longer journeys of 2 hours or longer will leave you wanting a little bit more lumbar support. It’s also worth mentioning that while there is loads of adjustment in the seat and wheel, tall folks have mentioned that the steering wheel sometimes obscures the instrumentation. For the vast majority of the public, including this road tester, this isn’t much of a problem.
Even the most basic 2008 comes with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a series of handy shortcut keys to jump between menus. Peugeot’s system can be a bit clunky at times, and we wish the temperature control was physical, but at least having some tactile buttons helps. The good news is that it is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. GT cars and up get a 10-inch infotainment system that is much easier to use on the move than the smaller screen.
This compact SUV does pretty well for itself in terms of practicality – even if the glovebox is only big enough for actual gloves. There are plenty of little storage areas in the centre console, including a large central space under the armrest. Those in need of more juice for smart devices are also well catered for thanks to plenty of USB charging ports dotted around the cabin. GT cars also get a convenient wireless phone charging pad.
The rear quarters are certainly spacious enough for a pair of adults, but there are cars in this class that offer greater legroom such as the Skoda Kamiq. Those sat in the middle can expect respectable shoulder room and only a modest transmission hump.
Open the boot lip to reveal a good square opening and a flat floor thanks to it being adjustable. You’ll find a pair of little cubbies and some underfloor storage for more fragile items. Its 434-litre boot is big enough for a dog and is larger than that of a Skoda Kamiq, although, it’s a shame there are no handy hooks for shopping bags. Fold the rear seats flat for 1,467-litres of cargo capacity.
All-electric Peugeot e-2008 aside, there are two combustion engine options to choose from. A 1.2-litre petrol that can be had with an automatic or manual transmission, and a manual-only 1.5-litre diesel.
The peppy petrol is a great little three-cylinder that would easily have you believe it was of higher capacity. After just a whiff of turbo lag, its torque pulls the car cleanly with the thrummy motor setting down once up to speed. We’d avoid the automatic gearbox as, while the shifts are smooth, the action can be a little lazy.
If you’re planning on clocking motorway miles, the BlueHDi 110 1.5-litre diesel is a great option. We’ve seen over 56mpg out of this engine in real-world conditions, making it a highly efficient thing. It’s not fast, but its torquey nature is ideal for strong motorway overtakes. At idle this engine can be more vocal than rivals, but it’s a quiet and smooth companion when cruising.
The Peugeot 2008 is right at home in the hustle of a town or city. Being smaller than a full-size SUV means that it can take advantage of tight parking spaces, especially thanks to kit such as parking sensors and reversing camera being available early in the trims. Light steering also makes life much easier at low speeds. Generally speaking, the ride is good, even on larger alloy wheel options, however, thugs are transmitted through the cabin when hitting imperfections at a slower pace.
It’s clear that the designers of this 2008 had no intention of chasing the Ford Puma for class handling honours. The steering lacks any meaningful feedback and is far too light to be enjoyed at a gallop. Instead, the Peugeot delivers a secure feeling afforded by respectable body control and reassuring grip. Any attempt to energetically change direction is met with understeer and a very strict electronic stability system.
The petrol engine with a manual transmission is a great combination, with the driver able to make the most of the characterful little motor. Peugeot’s automatic offering is fine in most cases but hesitates between drive selection and slow when manually commanded. If you're after a diesel, the new 110 1.5-litre won’t disappoint with great economy and much better manners than the BlueHDi 100 engine it replaces.
While the Peugeot 2008 isn’t the outright most practical or engaging compact SUV, as an ‘all things considered’ prospect, it acquits itself very well. That and it might just be the best looking small SUV – a huge factor in this fashion-conscious segment.