First Drive: Peugeot 2008 Allure 1.6 e-HDI image

Peugeot unveiled the production version of the little 2008 urban crossover this year at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, after the French automaker showed us some variants during the 2010 Paris Motor Show, 2012 Beijing Motor Show and again in 2012 in Paris.

Showing a lot of concepts and studies, it was almost clear that Peugeot does not want to replace the 207 estate/station wagon version with a new one based on the new 208, even if the competition (Renault) continues to sell a new model based on the actual Clio – the Grandtour. So what we have here: a 208 (67 percent of its components are the same with 208 hatchback) that is 20 cm longer, 25 cm wider and almost 17 cm taller; a vehicle that looks strange somehow, because when you look at it from one side it looks big, from the back it’s small and from the top – well with those interesting lines inspired by the Peugeot RCZ… it looks robust.

Being almost 16 cm taller and 25cm wider it’s very practical – and here is the main advantage, as the 2008 sells great; as a matter in fact Peugeot announced last month that it had to increase the production of 2008 to over 500 units per day from 300 because they received more than 26,000 orders in just 2 months. This type of vehicles might occupy just seven per cent of Europe’s B-segment at this moment, but sales are growing extremely fast – so expect more and more vehicles like this one in the coming years.
The 2008 is a modern crossover, it feels light, and it’s easy to use in the city.


Engine, transmission, Grip Control
The little crossover comes with a choice of two petrol and three diesel units (from 70 to 115 hp). We’ve tested the 1.6 8v e-HDI 115 hp diesel variant, the most powerful unit in the diesel lineup. Connected to a six-speed manual transmission that is easy to use, the engine provides more than enough punch and after 1800 rpm it feels even more capable. It is also very refined even if you are going fast (you will hear the M+S tires noise and of engines noise).

Peugeot decided not to increase the cost of the vehicle by adding a 4-wheel-drive system. Instead the French automaker is offering the Grip Control, the same electronic transmission unit that was first unveiled on the 3008 model. Basically it allows the driver to select between five different modes – standard, snow, all terrain, sand and off). Developed in cooperation with Bosch, it uses the ESP sensors to distribute torque between the two front wheels – so the wheel that has more grip gets more power. It is capable as you can see from the video below, it will help you to get out if you remain stuck, but as expected, it’s not as powerful as a standard 4WD.
But again considering the fact that 2008 was developed as a city crossover, it’s great to have this gizmo onboard, a gizmo that really makes a difference when you’re outside the city for a picnic.

Suspension, handling, breaking2008 is 16cm taller compared to the 208 and the suspension fells a little bit ‘rigid’ when you’re driving at low speeds, in the city for example. But the combination between the electrical steering that moves extremely easy at low speeds, a higher driving position and the panoramic sunroof make you feel great even if you had a hard day at work. It makes you feel alive – the car really has that crossover ‘air’.

The breaking is strong even at high speeds. We were forced to test the brakes on the highway when a box fell from a truck in front of us on the A1 Milan – Roma ‘del sole highway’; the car braked extremely fast, but during the evasive maneuver (with full brake applied) I felt a little bit of sliding effect from the back until the ESP intervened to correct the trajectory. To really test if the car oversteers and could get into a spin we went at Monza test track and tested the car with the ESP OFF – the result: even if it’s off the ESP will reactivate itself to correct the trajectory. Therefore, yes – the Peugeot 2008 is a little bit ‘tail-happy’ at the beginning, but the ESP reacts extremely fast and corrects the oversteer effect (probably that’s the reason why you can’t completely deactivate the ESP).

Fuel consumption
3.9 liter /100km on the highway at 90 km/h with the AC on (two passengers on board). We’ve also tested the vehicle from Milan to Rimini and back. That’s about 700 km. With four passengers on board and the trunk almost full the vehicle indicated 5.0 liters /100km. In the city the 1.6 8v eHDI with Stop & Start burns about 6-6.5 liters / 100km depending on traffic conditions.

Interior and gadgets
There’s almost no difference inside between the 2008 and 208. The steering is small and easy to use, the instruments are clear and there’s a large touch screen to the left hand side. You have Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming capabilities, two USB ports, an easy to operate and accurate navigation unit, cruise control, dual-zone climate-control and heated leather seats … almost everything you might expect from a modern urban cruiser.

But there’s a problem. You can’t see the dash gauges. Even if you change the steering position to a minimum low you still can’t see the entire dash – only a fraction (at least in my case; I’m 1.83 m tall). The only way to see the entire dash is to set the steering to minimum low and the seat to its maximum height… which is not ideal.
You have reasonable storage space inside the car, with large pockets on the doors and a deep center console. Peugeot decided not to add an armrest between the front seats most probably because the central console comes very high and can be used to rest your arm.



Front seats are decent, with good lateral and lumbar support. Rear seat leg- and headroom is good but not as comfy as those in front, but they do fold completely.
Overall the quality of the interior is higher that I was expected from a car of its size and can rival several more expensive SUV vehicles.

Cargo Space
Perhaps this is the most important part. The 2008 offers a useful increase in space over the regular hatchback. The back seats fold completely flat – all at the pull of a single lever (I already said that) boosting the volume from 360 to 1,194 liters and giving you a lot of space to carry your football bags or your skiing equipment.

Safety
2008 was not tested by Euro NCAP because the car is very new, but its little brother, the 208 received 5 stars when tested a year ago. So don’t expect this to perform poor in case of a crash. ESP, six airbags, lap-sash seatbelts and in some markets Peugeot offers Connect SOS – a system that will call the local authorities and inform them of the car’s position.

Direct competitors: Opel Mokka, Chevrolet Trax, Renault Captur, Ford EcoSport, Nissan Juke

Like / Dislike:
Minus: only a few of customization options, some tall drivers may not see the entire dash
Plus for: strong brakes, very useful because of its carrying capacity, nice interior LED strip lighting

Tested vehicle
Peugeot 2008 Allure 1.6 e-HDI 1598cc, 4cyl, FWD, 120bhp, 122mph max, 0-100km/h 9.5secs, 1085kg.

Verdict: 4 stars