Peugeot’s 2008 B+ compact SUV deserves A for effort

Peugeot's 2008 compact sport utility vehicle, which has been facelifted, is surprisingly spacious fo

Peugeot's 2008 compact sport utility vehicle, which has been facelifted, is surprisingly spacious for both passengers and loads. - Credit: Peugeot

Peugeot's 2008 compact SUV is now even more stylish after a family facelift and the addition of a sporty-looking GT Line model, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

In an era of downsizing and one-size-fits-all motoring, we love our superminis and crossovers so no surprise that sales of B-segment compact sport utility vehicles are blossoming.

A supermini on stilts, they boast higher visibility and are easier to get in an out off, so it's a market niche no volume car-maker can ignore with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Vauxhall Mokka and the Peugeot 2008.

Based on the 208 supermini – and better to live with – the 2008 has just been updated three years and more than half a million worldwide sales after launch.

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What's new?

The 2008 gets the new Peugeot family face with a vertical front grille and, on top models, wheel arch extensions while the range follows its siblings with a sporty new GT Line trim level so popular in other models.

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It's a pretty little car, especially with the GT Line's red and black theme inside, and pretty practical too.

Under the bonnet

It's 1.2-litre petrol or 1.6-litre diesel but a wide range of power outputs. Three-cylinder petrol power is offered with 82, 110 and 130bhp, the latter two turbo charged, while the four-cylinder diesel offers 75, 100 and 120bhp.

Unless you rack up huge mileage stick with petrol power – it suits the 2008's character and these award-winning PureTech engines are impressively frugal and punch above their weight.

The 130bhp version really sings, pulling willingly across the range and always eager for brisk acceleration, yet returns around 45mpg in real-world driving and 50mpg with longer journeys.

Unfortunately the six-speed manual gearbox's shift is notchy but a six-speed automatic is available with the 110PS version.

How it drives

There's more tyre noise with the all-season tyres, but they're needed to bring out the best from the innovative Grip Control traction system with standard, snow, mud and sand modes to keep the front-wheel drive 2008 going when the going gets tough.

That said, it rides poor roads well with suspension supple enough to take the sting out of bumps and lumps without feeling soft and soggy. That pays dividends in the handling department with a taut, agile feel through corners and, given its taller stance, body roll is kept in check nicely.

Space and comfort

For a compact SUV, the 2008 has a useful amount of rear legroom for tall adults and not a lot of headroom has been sacrificed with the panoramic sunroof, where fitted, which floods the cabin with light and adds to the sense of spaciousness. The rear bench will seat three adults but it's snug and the cushions are flat and slabby while a middle passenger has to straddle a small hump in the floor.

The deep 410-litre boot is decent for a supermini-based SUV with wide access so will take large suitcases but the rigid load cover has to be manually folded out of the way rather than rising automatically with the tailgate which is not easy if your hands are full. Rear seat backs split 60/40 and fold flat with the cushions lowering to create up to 1,400 litres of cargo capacity.

At the wheel

Peugeot's i-cockpit has been an eye-opener since being launched on the bigger 308.

The smaller steering wheel adds a sporty flavour and you view the dials over rather than through it so short drivers might need to crank the seat height up to get an unobstructed view.

A high-level touch screen is well placed to be easy to use and it's a similar story when it comes to the controls which are user-friendly apart from the cruise control and speed limiter stalk hidden behind the steering wheel.

The fascia and cabin look better than they feel with a lot of hard plastics, even on top of the dashboard and door cappings which spoils the overall quality feel, a shame given classy touches like the double rows of red stitching on the GT Line seats, fascia and even the handbrake lever and tasteful brightwork highlights.

Final say

These compact SUVs have really caught on with buyers who want more space than a supermini in a stylish package and Peugeot's 2008 is well placed – and priced – to fit the bill.

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