Road Tests

Drive review of new Peugeot 2008

Not very fat the current Peugeot range: Down to three models. And one of those, the recently updated Peugeot 2008, is a mutated version of the 208. But in every other respect it’s been a busy period for PSA; ejecting Citroen SA while acquiring an unloved Opel from American owners General Motors to make PSA the second largest motoring manufacturer in the world. Yes, Peugeot has bought itself some German-built competition – the Peugeot 2008 would in fact be quite a formidable Opel Mokka competitor.

In South Africa the Peugeot 2008 range is up to four models. The top split covers the choice between diesel or petrol, then manual or auto and finally trim. But what’s interesting is the 1.6 turbo diesel forms the entry pricing point to the range, only comes in manual and isn’t available with the top GT Line specification.

With the equipment definitely favouring the 3-cylinder 1.2-litre turbo petrol, the performance figures further confirm a precarious position for the oil burner. With diesel the dirty word of 2016 and the rise of automatic gearbox reaching critical mass, the popular choice will be the petrol-powered version.

Lift the bonnet of any modern Peugeot and you’ll be alarmed by the physical size of the engine that appears curled up in a foetal position. Tiny pipes connected to an A4-sized radiator, an airbox that’s about the same size as a cellphone and in most cases a turbo charger no bigger than your fist. Peugeot is far down the road when it comes to downsizing efficiency; apart from the diesel the rest of the range is under 1200cc with a claimed fuel consumption that never goes over 5.2l/100km.

A vibrant engine with a gruff syncopated note layered over a linear power curve. The six-speed auto gearbox prefers to be left alone, merrily married to a set of ratios that soak up everyday life with ease. But like all these petite turbo charged engines, fuel efficiency of the petrol engine paid no attention to its claimed consumption but instead hovered around 7.8l/100km.

The mid-life update is said to emphasise 2008’s SUV all-terrain DNA with a bolder upright grille, raised bonnet, scuff plates, plus some unpainted sections around the bumper and wheels to feign a butch look. Ground clearance of 165mm puts this 2008 further away from gravel than some of its classmates while Grip Control (GT Line) for normal, snow, all-terrain and sand manipulates the traction control in certain instances by transferring torque to the wheel with most grip.

While the exterior is a handsomely grown-up render of the tar-biased 208, the interior is a quixotic place with that polarising small yet chunky steering wheel that’s supposed to provide a better view of the dials. You decide. What it does do, without fail, is animate the feel of sharp turn-in. Separate ventilation controls, unlike the 308’s decision to muddle them as part of the touchscreen, is an obvious fix to an otherwise splendid interior. Other chunks of wisdom come from resizing the boot to go with very good rear legroom.

Peugeot will no doubt be baffled as to how the Renault Captur easily outsells its own SUV. This latest version with revised pricing has the quality to reverse that trend…depends how PSA responds or leverages its latest position. The Peugeot 2008 deserves it.

  • SPECIFICATION Peugeot 2008 GT-Line
  • R349 900
  • 1199cc, 3-cyl, petrol FWD, 81kW, 205Nm, 6A
  • 5.2l/100km, 121g/km CO2
  • 0-100km/h in 10.3secs, 188km/h
  • 1150kg
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