The Peugeot 2008 ticks a lot of boxes. It’s great to drive, the engine range (electric included) is fantastic, and the cabin design and build are class leading. However, it’s quite an expensive option alongside traditional competitors, and the strongest competition offers most of the same qualities for less. The Renault Captur feels almost as posh and is just as good to drive for less money. As it’s the 2008’s main rival, that’s a setback for the Peugeot.
There’s now a bewildering amount of choice on offer in the supermini sized SUV market. UK buyers have no less than 20 small SUVs to choose from, with options from nearly every mainstream badge now available. Peugeot was among the first to jump on that bandwagon with the arrival of the first 2008 in 2013. And in the face of so much new competition it’s brought out an all-new one, using an all-new recipe to boot.
Underneath is a new platform called CMP, meaning petrol, diesel and fully-electric versions of the 2008 are all offered – most rivals simply stick with petrol power alone.
More reviews for 2008 SUV
Car group tests
Used car tests
If that’s not enough of a unique lure, the newcomer’s distinctive styling might stick out in what’s becoming a conventional class, too. Modern Peugeot traits like the three red slashes inset into the black rear panel are present, while the metalwork to the side is broken up with sharp creases along the doors.
It gets better inside, too. The 2008’s dashboard looks great, and it has the build quality to match; only the Mazda CX-30 feels on its level for fit and finish for this sort of money. The 2008’s highlight is the 3D digital instrument panel. It works by using two screens: one in the usual place, and another on the underside of the cowling, the latter of which reflects against the first. The effect is that the speed readout, important warnings and navigation instructions appear to float in space above the rest of the information, like a hologram.
Fancy tech ahead of the driver makes the clunky infotainment system all the more disappointing. Graphically it’s not bad, but seemingly important functions are buried within sub-menus, the sat nav is slightly confusing, and simple acts like changing the temperature are harder than they need to be.
It’s fairly spacious inside though. Rear legroom is pretty reasonable – certainly a step up over Peugeot’s supermini offering, the 208 – while a 434-litre boot is above average for the class.
For a class so packed, very few contenders offer anything special from behind the wheel. Exceptions are few and far between, but the 2008 is one of them. The Citroen C3 Aircross is more comfortable on the move and the Ford Puma is more fun, but the Peugeot delivers a pretty good balance between the two. The chassis feels lively, but the damping is well sorted and noise from large bumps is impressively muted from inside the cabin.
Peugeot reckons that the most popular engine in the range will be the PureTech 130 petrol, and it’d be our pick, too. It’s a well known, smooth 1.2-litre turbocharged unit with 128bhp with good performance, refinement and economy impressive in equal measures. The six-speed manual gearbox isn’t too bad either, but the shifting process is spoiled somewhat by the odd square-shaped gear knob, and like other PSA products the shift action isn’t all too pleasant.
It’s well equipped, though. The 2008 comes in a choice of four trim levels, with base Active models offering 16-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen, air conditioning, LED daytime running lights and rear parking sensors as standard. The Allure+ adds 17-inch wheels, automatic air con, front/rear parking sensors and black roof bars; upgrading to satellite navigation is a £650 option. The GT Line driven here jumps another inch in wheel size, and also adds a reversing camera, navigation and heated front seats. The top end model, simply badged GT adds a host of driver safety tech and a panoramic roof, over the strong standard equipment found on Allure and GT Line.
But here’s the problem. Yes, the 2008 is well built, good to drive, well equipped and fairly practical, but so is the new Renault Captur, and that’s vastly cheaper, too. Prices for the 2008 start from £20,150 for a 99bhp petrol model in Active trim. By contrast, a Renault Captur in Play trim, offering the same power from its turbocharged petrol engine – plus larger 17-inch wheels – costs just £17,595.
And given Renault’s current zero percent finance offer on the entry-level Captur, the 2008 loses further ground in the finance stakes. Place a £1,082 deposit (a figure that Renault will contribute a further £500 to) and the Captur Play TCe 100 will cost £219 per month over a two year agreement. Now that’s cheap compared to any car in this class, but it highlights the Peugeot’s higher interest rate and initial price; on similar terms, the 2008 will set you back £343.96 per month.
The top spec 2008 GT, fitted with a 153bhp petrol and eight-speed automatic gearbox costs £31,575 – a Captur with the same power output costs a whopping seven grand less, and there’s simply no competition on monthly terms.