Good: looks attractive, feels substantial, great petrol engine.
Not so good: costly in this spec, limited interior storage.
We've been getting more questions from readers of late (not seen the Ask Us Anything page? It's our thing! Check it out...) specifically looking for petrol options to replace an older diesel car. It's not easy to find a nearly new petrol model right now, but PCP finance might make a new one within the grasp of some. Peugeot identified this trend a while back and went to work on a new petrol engine range called PureTech. The PureTech engines are available in plenty of models now and here we review the 110hp version in the facelifted Peugeot 2008 crossover, which went on sale in Ireland just in time for the 162 registration.
So what's new for the 2008? Well the biggest visual change is to the front grille. It's more upright than before and wider too, giving the car more presence. The Peugeot 'lion' badge is now larger and prominently positioned in the middle of the grille, while the 'Peugeot' lettering runs above it within the surround. Restyled headlights front and rear are complemented by new scuff plates and extended wheelarches. GT Line is a new trim level that sits at the top of the line-up and it further enhances the appearance with gloss black detailing for that new grille (it's chrome on other versions and further embellished for the GT Line model), door mirrors and roof bars. A chunky set of 17-inch alloy wheels are also included and there are a few new 'GT Line' badges.
Inside, there's part-leather upholstery with red stitching (and red details elsewhere), a panoramic glass roof (which causes a little extra wind roar at speed), a seven-inch touchscreen mounted high up the middle of the dashboard (featuring Apple Car Play, etc.) and plenty more. It feels of high quality and, up front at least, like a larger car than the Peugeot 208 it's based on (except for the laughably small glovebox). Some don't like the 'iCockpit' arrangement, where a tiny steering wheel is employed and the driver looks over the top of its rim to see the instruments, closer to the line of sight when looking at the road ahead. I have no major problems with it, as I can see the instruments in the position I'm comfortable to have the seat and wheel in. Nonetheless, while the dinky wheel does feel great, and makes the 2008 feel more agile, it also means you need to be quite smooth and measured with your inputs to maintain smooth initial turn-in. You get used to it.
Rear legroom is ok rather than great. Your expectations are raised because of the front accommodation, and in reality the 2008 is one of the most spacious cars in the class. Those rear seats cleverly split and fold completely flat (and there are two Isofix child seat points as standard) and the boot is a decent size, while there's good headroom all round. In the centre console of the GT Line model (optional on other versions), there's a dial to choose from the five-mode Grip Control system, a sophisticated take on ESP stability control. The options are Standard ESP, Snow Mode, Mud Mode, Sand Mode and ESP Off. This is in lieu of four-wheel drive and might come in useful for some, but we didn't have cause to test it this time around. Probably of much use for most drivers is the fact that 2008s fitted with Grip Control also get all-season tyres with a chunkier tread pattern. Impressively, these don't seem to cause any extra road noise on the motorway.
While the 2008 is, relatively speaking, a small car, it doesn't drive like one. It has very grown up manners especially in terms of damping and stability at speed and under braking. Body control through corners is also good, though the flipside is that the ride is a bit firm over speed bumps. Regular versions on smaller wheels are probably a little better in that regard. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is pretty quiet at a cruise though some will find it odd sounding at lower speeds, as it's a three-cylinder unit. It has plenty of go low down, if not at higher revs, which will suit most drivers in any case. It's exceptionally smooth though. As is the automatic transmission fitted to the test car. There are no gearchange paddles, but there is a tiny 'S' (for 'sport' presumably) button that effectively speeds response and shift time up. Most will stick with the manual gearbox here, though. We averaged 8.1 litres/100km (34.9mpg) over about 600 kilometres of driving that took in a drive from Dublin to Limerick and back on the motorway, some urban pootling around and a blast up into the Wicklow Mountains, so those that carry out high annual mileages on the motorway might be better off considering one of the diesel versions.
Prices for the facelifted 2008 start at €19,400, which is for the entry-level Access model powered by a 82hp version of the 1.2-litre PureTech engine. Above that sit Active and Allure specifications and buyers can specify this petrol engine in 130hp guise too. Diesel power starts at €20,785 and the 1.6-litre HDi engine is offered in 75, 100 and 120hp states of tune.
The updates should be enough to maintain the 2008's position as Peugeot's best-selling car in Ireland and it makes a particularly good case for itself in petrol guise. This 1.2-litre turbo engine is not the only petrol option in the class, but it certainly is one of the best.