First Drive: The 2008 promises to make it a good year for Peugeot

Peugeot’s new model is set to be a big player in the crowded compact crossover market

Make: Peugeot

Model: 208

Year: 2013

Fuel: Diesel

Date Reviewed: May 13, 2013

Wed, May 15, 2013, 10:11


Peugeot is the latest manufacturer to introduce a new entrant into the increasingly crowded compact crossover market. This segment has seen an increase of 13 per cent from January to March this year, which is remarkable considering there has been a 14 per cent decline in the overall car market.

Peugeot’s 2008 will be manufactured in Mulhouse, France, for the European market. Prior to its arrival in Ireland in August, we travelled to Strasbourg to test-drive it and see if it’s in a strong position to acquire sales from its main competitors, principally the Nissan Juke, Opel Mokka and recently launchedRenault Captur.

The 2008 is easily recognisable as a beefed-up 208 – it shares the same platform and 67 per cent of its components. As such the 2008 is a smart-looking car and Peugeot has remained true to the 208’s original design. The curves in the car’s roof were inspired by the Peugeot RCZ, it’s raised above the rear seats, offering ample headroom for rear-seat occupants.

The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol engine puts out 82bhp, so is best suited to city driving and not very well suited to the cross-country trek.

The good news is that Peugeot will introduce a version of this 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol with a Stop Start system, which reduces its CO2 from 114g/km to 99g/km, placing it in a lower tax band (A2, €180).

We also drove the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre diesel variants. The former offers just 68hp and 160Nm of torque. It’s a relatively noisy engine under load and unless you intend covering high mileage, our preference would be the 1.2-litre petrol alternative. If you’re opting for diesel power, then the 1.6-litre in either HDi and eHDi is the best of the bunch.

We drove the 1.6-litre eHDi for a considerable distance along motorway and rural roads. With 115hp and 270Nm of torque transferred to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, it revels on motorways.

Both of these 1.6-litre diesel models claim to return a combined fuel consumption of 4.0l/100km (58.8mpg).

Sense of space
What’s apparent when driving the 2008 is the sense of interior space on offer. It’s roomy, yet its external dimensions lead you to believe it’s a small car inside.

The rear-loading sill is just 60cm off the ground, which makes for easy loading. There are also some clever touches, such as the recessed rails which run from the sill to the front seat backs. With the rear seats folded flat there’s 1,194 litres of luggage space available.

The 2008 scores highly on the road. It’s competent and engaging to drive, and its handling is superior to the Nissan Juke and Opel Mokka.

The petite steering wheel, carried over from the 208, is great to hold but a little awkward to position so you can see the driver’s instrument cluster clearly.

Peugeot is enthusiastic to demonstrate the optional Grip Control system. It’s an advanced traction control system, combined with the fitment of mud and snow tyres on 17in wheels. It offers reassurance for driving on snow or out of a muddy car park.

Peugeot has yet to confirm Irish prices for its new compact crossover contender. We would envisage prices to start at around €18,000. At this level it will be in a prime position within its segment.