No one can accuse Peugeot of not making the most out of a floor pan. Flushed with the success of the 3008 – a crossover vehicle based on the 308 – they have now performed the same trick with the 208 writes Ian Strachan.
That was in 2013 and the result was the excellent 2008 compact crossover. Now it’s had a makeover, with a new front-end, more aggressive styling and new models.
The 2008 has all the virtues of the 208 in terms of sportiness, handling and performance, combined with the robustness and practicality of an SUV.
This is certainly an innovative car. It may be small but it has a tough appearance and a stable ride which, combined with more ground clearance and electronic grip control, means it can cope with adverse conditions. It also has lots of room inside.
The 2008 Allure which I tested is powered by a willing three cylinder 1.2 litre petrol engine delivering brisk 130bhp performance. But this is a car that looks at home on a motorway or negotiating country lanes. A traction control system and good tyres give it more off-road capability than you’d expect in a car of this size.
It’s a good looker too. The new front end gives it an assertive look, as do new wheel-arch extensions, scuff plates and chunky alloys.
It handles remarkably well, even in slippery road conditions. Cornering is sure footed with no body roll and the sensible suspension set up ensures a comfortable ride.
The engine provides good performance throughout the speed range, delivering power smoothly but with plenty of mid-range pull. It’s helped by a pleasant-to-use six speed manual transmission.
Fuel consumption comes in at a respectable 58.9 miles to the gallon in mixed driving. A facia indicator tells you which gear you should be in for optimum efficiency, and there’s also an engine stop/start feature to avoid warming the planet while you’re waiting for traffic lights to change.
The high-quality interior is light, with attractive roof graphics. The dashboard is well laid out in a cockpit style and the small steering wheel is pleasant to use. The inside is spacious with plenty of room for five adults. The large luggage area can be further improved with the ability to fold the rear seats flat. There’s also a storage area beneath the boot floor.
Equipment levels on the Allure specification are generous. Standard features include smart 17 inch alloys, satellite navigation with touch screen controls, a DAB radio and CD player with MP3 compatibility and two USB ports, parking sensors including park assist for tricky parking manoeuvres (an extra £500 including reversing camera), cruise control, electric heated door mirrors, roof rails, an excellent dual-zone air conditioning system and electric windows. You also get automatic headlamps, cornering assist fog lights and rain sensing wipers.
This is a solid and enjoyable crossover vehicle that doesn’t look out of place on a suburban driveway and at £18,115 it won’t break the bank..