Good: surprisingly capable considering its power output.
Not so good: not as refined as the more powerful 1.6.
Sixty-eight horsepower. One hundred and sixty Newton metres of torque and a zero to one hundred time of 14.9 seconds. Not exactly the type of figures that would suggest the entry-level diesel engine in the new Peugeot 2008 range is the one to go for, and yet it does work surprisingly well. Allow me to explain.
Underneath the mock-SUV looks the Peugeot 2008 is 67 per cent Peugeot 208 hatchback. Most of those components are hidden, with the only exterior parts shared being the windscreen, front doors and the wing mirrors, so you do not have to worry about the new crossover being 'just' a jacked up 208. The main benefit of this is that the 2008 is light - properly light. In its most basic form it tips the scales at 1,045kg. In modern terms that is positively featherweight and it does mean that the 2008 is nearly 100kg lighter than the recently tested Renault Captur. Whereas the Renault needs a 90hp/220Nm 1.5-litre dCi engine under the bonnet the Peugeot can make do with a mere 68hp/160Nm 1.4-litre unit.
Admittedly, this engine is not the last word in refinement, having to be worked harder than the pokier 1.6-litre units, but it moves the small SUV along commendably. The added weight over the front axle also means it handles better than the three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol version that it will be vying for sales with. The opportunity to test the engine's overtaking prowess did not present itself on our test route, but there is a sense of hustle from the small unit; certainly it had no problem with sharp inclines, which bodes well.
Where the engine falls down is in the efficiency stakes. On fuel economy it is on par with both the 92- and 115hp versions of the 1.6 HDi unit, returning 4.0 litres/100km, and it straddles the two on emissions, putting out 104g/km to the 92hp's 103g/km and the 115hp's 105. With no difference in fuel economy or road tax there is little reason to favour the small engine unless it comes in usefully cheaper - and that is still to be revealed by Peugeot Ireland.
Still, it fares better than the 1.2-litre petrol, which, unless you only travel within the confines of the city and like the sound of a Singer sewing machine under the bonnet, has no real merit. If you are considering a 1.2-litre 2008 we'd urge you to put your money into a 1.4-litre 208 hatch instead.
So where does that leave the 2008 then? With the right engine, at the head of the pack. The looks, while conservative, are still more appealing (to my eyes) than those of the Nissan Juke and while the Renault Captur has the Peugeot's number in that department the 2008 has it everywhere else.