DRIVEN: Peugeot 2008 is no run-of-the-mill compact SUV
JOHANNESBURG - At first glance you know this isn’t the run-of-the-mill compact SUV because its lines and curves had everyone sit up and take notice.
Like their rugby team, the French can be absolutely splendid or on an off day, completely hopeless.
Fortunately with the new Peugeot 2008, they managed to win the Six Nations with a sublime combination of style, design, innovation and technology.
The compact SUV market continues to be a popular one and if South Africans can look beyond the usual suspects the 2008 presents an attractive very well-specced alternative.
Peugeot are at pains to point out to put prospective buyers at ease that they have a massive new parts warehouse, a quick turnaround time as well as a courtesy car if repairs take longer than expected.
The designers at Peugeot have managed to make a car that stands out in a segment that can often be bland. It’s well balanced and proportioned with a recessed windshield creating a more horizontal bonnet, and well proportioned lines that end at the tailgate with the now familiar three LED claws in the light cluster, while 18 inch alloys add to the allure of the overall look of the 2008.
The 2008 identity numbers now also return to the bonnet as Peugeots of old.
The interior is equally impressive but the star of the show in the range-topping GT Line that we drove during the launch is the third-generation i-Cockpit system featuring a 3D display with traffic sign recognition that projects like a hologram. In addition mixed material seats and a full leather and composite material interior with soft touch surfaces and green stitching makes the 2008 one of the more appealing in this segment.
The infotainment system is Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatible and it's also fitted with a wireless charging compartment and fold away phone tray. You’ll notice a frameless electro-chromatic rear view mirror and the characteristic oblong Peugeot steering wheel which I find particularly appealing.
Under the hood of the range introduction level Active model is a three-cylinder unit that produces 74kW and 205Nm fitted to a six speed manual transmission while it’s auto sibling as well as the Allure and GT Line all have an upgraded 96kW and 230Nm engine mated to a six speed automatic gearbox with paddles behind the steering wheel.
We’ve come to accept three-cylinder engines as nothing strange anymore as technology improves and during the 400km drive on highways, secondary roads and a fair bit of very wet and muddy dirt tracks, it was never found wanting either while passing slower traffic or keeping up momentum in the mud.
At 4.3m long and 1.5m wide it’s deceptively big but the engine and gearbox combination proved to be almost perfect while the steering remained nimble.
The list of standard safety and technological equipment in the 2008 is a stand-out feature in the segment.
Driver Assist plus that combines lane departure avoidance system linked to the Lane Positioning makes it possible to choose your position in the lane. Adaptive cruise control, Park assist, automatic emergency braking, driver warning alert, active blind spot monitoring, driver warning alert, automatic high-beam and hill assist descent control make up an impressive list.
If it was me and I was in the market in this segment I would most certainly have the 2008 high on my list of choices.
PEUGEOT 2008 PRICING
1.2 Active MT R359 900
1.2 Active AT R399 900
1.2 Allure AT R429 900
1.2 GT Line AT R479 900