I have just had a Wintery spell behind the wheel of the Peugeot 2008 Crossover.
This is a chunkier and roomier version of their very successful 208 supermini range which has now entered the UK’s top ten sales chart for new cars with 36,303 sold in 11 months of this year.
The UK demand for the 2008 Crossover has been huge. Initially the company expected to sell 2,000 units in the last six months of this year but sales are already 4,000 vehicles and they have orders for 6,000. Supply to customers is currently constrained because production is at its maximum level. In 2014 Peugeot UK had targeted 7,000 sales, in fact with additional production being planned that target has now been raised to 17,000 registrations.
The 2008 five door Crossover range has prices starting from a low £12,995 but rising to £19,345. There are Access+, Active, Allure and two levels of Feline specification. There is a wide range of fuel efficient engine options currently ranging from the 1.2 VTi 82bhp petrol through to 1.6 e-HDI 115bhp Stop & Start turbodiesel. More engine options will follow early next year including the 1.2-litre, turbocharged three-cylinder e-THP units. Currently nine versions with Allure and Feline specifications have Peugeot’s Grip Control and that added grip option is being taken up by 45% of UK customers.
Grip Control is not a full or part-time four wheel drive system but a clever electronic function which utilises the electronic components already present in the vehicle, such as anti-lock braking to lock a spinning wheel so drive is not lost through the wheel with no traction. The electronics adjust the power delivery to a softer map setting whilst the differential juggles the torque to the front wheel with the most grip. The driver can select via a dial located on the centre console, Normal, Snow, Mud, Sand and ESP-off modes. The Grip Control versions also have courser grip tyres. With our poorly kept road surfaces, uncertain weather and poor treatment of Winter roads I would recommend Grip Control, indeed I wouldn’t buy a 2008 or the larger n Peugeot 3008 Crossover without it.
Although the 1.2-litre petrol engine models will appeal because of their lower purchase price, the pick of the power units must be the 1.6-litre e-HDI 92bhp turbodiesel because of its potential for good torque and responsive driving characteristics. It is in keeping with the Crossover SUV styling offering potentially good fuel economy with low 103g/km CO2 emissions with the 5-speed manual gearbox, or 98g/km with the EGC automatic transmission.
As far as which level of specification to choose, the Allure level looks the best option price wise. My test model was just that version, the 1.6-litre 92bhp turbodiesel with Stop & Start with Allure trim with that all important Grip Control and the whole package weighed in at a reasonable £17,245. Officially this version will return 70.6mpg in the Combined Cycle but of course in real life my test drive consumption was way off that but still achieved an average 56.5mpg. In fact driving at a slower pace on country A roads 66.7mpg was the usual figure. It was only a longer spell cruising at 70mph on a motorway journey that reduced the overall test drive consumption to 56.5mpg. With CO2 emissions of 103g/km VED road tax is £0 cost in the First Year rate and then only £20 per annum for year two onwards. Company car drivers will pay just 15% Benefit-in-Kind tax and insurance is a Group 17E rating.
The 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine with 92bhp of power importantly gives 170lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm with drive through a five-speed manual gearbox with well space ratios. These allow an even supply of engine response so it feels gutsy from low to upper mid range speeds – just the range that suits UK driving conditions. It’s nimble in town and cruises efficiently and quietly on the open road and in these driving conditions it is most frugal for fuel economy. On motorways cruising at 70mph the engine remains calm but the fuel economy dropped by 10mpg to 56.5mpg. That is still good but it shows how a heavier and taller compact Crossover will not be as frugal with the fuel as the supermini on which they are based.
The handling can best be described as neutral, neither poor nor brilliant. Being tall there is body roll during cornering and the raised body produces ‘bounce’ from the suspension which at times unsettled the handling during cornering. The front suspension, weighted down by the engine, coped better with potholes than the rear system which didn’t absorb shocks from deeper potholes and there was quite a bit of road noise intrusion, due in part to the grippy tread tyres. The small diameter steering wheel, a feature introduced with the 208 supermini, sharpens steering response but was inconsistently weighted during fast cornering although it was light, easy and nice to use in town traffic and when parking.
The interior, like all modern Peugeot’s, is classy with nice seats, door trims and well equipped, at least for the Allure version and above. The Allure spec has 16-inch alloy wheels, directional front fog lights, rear parking aid, front and rear scuff plates, LED instrument surround lighting, automatic headlights and wipers, electric folding and heated door mirrors and automatic air conditioning. Cruise control, central door locking, DAB radio and electrically operated windows are included as well.
There is the use of ‘mood’ lighting which includes LED edge lighting around the instrument pods and more alarmingly there are laser cut lines in the roof lining which allows back lighting to flow into the cabin. Fortunately it can be dimmed right down because I found it distracting driving at night and so did my passengers. It’s a matter of taste though I admit. All but the base level Access+ specification levels include a large multifunction touchscreen positioned in the centre of the fascia panel but it is fiddly to use on the move and has no shortcut buttons. With such a prominent screen I would have expected sat-nav to be included as standard on this Allure equipment level, you have to go to the Feline level to get it. The speedo, rev counter, temperature and fuel gauges are viewed over the top of the steering wheel, not a problem for six footers but for shorter drivers the steering wheel rim might cut into the driver’s line of vision.
With an overall length of 4,159mm the interior is relatively roomy for a B-segment vehicle and in particular rear seat legroom is good, better than the Nissan Juke, so three adults can be transported with too much complaining. There is a large boot with a low rear sill for ease of loading. The boot space is 360-litres and this goes up to 1,194-litres with the rear seats folded down completely flat.
The 2008 is in huge demand and I can appreciate why that is. It fits the motoring requirements for lots of people with its SUV styling, compact size and competitive pricing with low running costs for most models. Whether it’s coping with the urban jungle or actually getting its wheels dirty in the countryside, it fits the bill and the wallet.
MILESTONES. Peugeot 2008 Crossover 1.6 e-HDI 92 Allure manual. Price £17,245. Engine/transmission: 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel, with Stop & Start, 92bhp, 170lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm, 5-speed manual with Grip Control. Performance: 113mph, 0-62mph 12.8 seconds, 70.6mpg Combined Cycle (56.5mpg on test) CO2 103g/km, VED road tax First year rate £0 then £20 year two onwards, BIK company car tax 15%. Insurance group: 17E. Dimensions/capacities: L 4,159mm, W 1,829mm, H 1,556mm, Boot/load space: 360 to 1,194-litres, braked towing weight 1,270kg. For: Sales demand outstripping supply, versatile, roomy but still a compact SUV design, strong engine, good fuel economy potential, low taxes, Grip Control option, classy interior. Against: Top models plus options are pricey in a very competitive sector, fiddly touchscreen, like or dislike interior mood lighting, sat-nav as standard only on top spec versions, unsettled handling at times. Miles Better News Agency