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Road Test: Peugeot 2008 GT-Line PureTech 110

Mild updates bring the 2008 in line with Peugeot’s new large SUVs, explains Alex Grant.

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SECTOR: Crossover PRICE: £20,025 FUEL: 60.1mpg CO2: 103g/km

Within the big shuffle of PSA Group brand identities, Peugeot appears to have drawn the long straw and will be the first with a full line-up of SUVs in its ranks. The 3008 has become a proper Qashqai rival, the 5008 has morphed into a seven-seat crossover and, though last year’s updates were minor, the 2008 has followed suit.

This has a tough task on its hands. The B-SUV segment, pioneered by the Nissan Juke, has a foothold on the top-ten biggest-sellers in the UK, and is becoming increasingly crowded. So it’s not that the old car was a weak proposition, but this mid-life facelift goes a long way towards visually defining it as a proper small crossover, rather than a raised-height compact MPV.

Rugged styling means opting – as the majority of UK buyers tend to – for the higher trim levels. All versions get the new upright grille, but it’s only the top-spec Allure and newly-introduced GT Line models which get the chunky wheel arch extensions to complete the look. Peugeot’s aim is to move the brand upmarket, for which up-specced small cars like this are important; and it can expect strong take-up for the GT Line with its red-pinstriped cabin and sporty styling.

It’s not style over substance. Drivers who occasionally have to deal with harsh weather are catered for here. Four-wheel drive accounts for a tiny share of this segment’s volume, so Peugeot hasn’t offered it. Instead, the more powerful versions of the 2008 feature Grip Control, a traction control system with selectable modes for sand, mud and snow, and suitable tyres for slippery surfaces.

With fleets taking for almost half of UK 2008s, volume has been split almost evenly between petrol and diesel engines. However, Peugeot’s small petrol engines are worth a look; the most powerful version, tested here, produces 108bhp and a surge of mid-range pulling power which makes it feel even more potent. But it’s also good for CO2 emissions of 103g/km, and can be coaxed to 50mpg on the motorway. Factors which can only erode the footprint of the alternative diesel.

Practicality counts for a lot, when luring drivers out of traditional Focus-sized hatchbacks. And the 2008 scores well. It’s on the same platform as the 208, albeit with wider front and rear tracks and a higher roofline. The steering is a little over-geared towards town driving, which can make it a bit too sensitive at high speeds, but it doesn’t feel like a compact, high-riding car. Yet it offers an abundance of space in a tiny footprint, with a well-glazed cabin that doesn’t feel cramped when it’s full of passengers.

It is worth trying on for size, though, as Peugeot’s unusual driving position with its small steering wheel and instruments perched on top of the dashboard doesn’t suit everyone. The panoramic roof is problematic, too, as it doesn’t follow the stepped roofline and reduces rear-seat headroom significantly. Small niggles for an otherwise very versatile compact crossover.

Verdict:

The 2008 has always been a competent compact crossover, with all the right styling, flexibility and mild off-road ability to do well in this class. A little of the 3008’s muscularity, and an on-trend sports styling pack, can only lift that appeal further.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.