Test Drive: Peugeot 2008 1.2 VTi image

After a first drive encounter early this summer with the 2008 in its e-HDI denomination, now it’s time we checked the base petrol engine, featuring the new 3 cilinder 1.2-liter and 82 hp.

The 2008 is a fresh offering from the French automaker, set to compete in the newly established small crossover segment – we can only say that so far the Nissan Juke has spawned many competitors and others will soon join the game. Getting back to the 2008 in question, we have the smallest iteration of the “00” line-up, consisting of the present model, the 3008 crossover, the 4008 SUV and 5008 MPV. As we can see, this sideline is actually pretty vast, with offerings designed to entice quite a bunch of clients – no matter the taste.

Design

Being the newest of the pack, 2008 underpins the latest and greatest from the design point of view – although maybe not all elements are so neatly integrated as on the 208 brethren. The 208 hatch is more of a standard affair so it posed no problems for the designers, even though it featured a complete departure from the 207. 2008 on the other hand is a crossover, so designers needed to be more flamboyant from the start – and being a relatively new segment, they are still experimenting.

The 2008 is 20 cm longer, 25 cm wider and almost 17 cm taller than the hatchback it is derived from (with almost 70% shared components) but features many departures in the visual department. Aside from the more robust appearance and bulging textures made to indicate its rougher nature, 2008 also has different front headlights – with a design not so convincingly part of the Peugeot line. The back has its problems as well: the taillights feature the same overall shape like 208 but they don’t really look that fancy any more. And then, the lower half and upper half of the back look separated, a design cue a little bit too exaggerated.
I do like the extravagant roofline and the more equilibrated side of the car – the roofline reminds us discretely of the RCZ but also of some Land Rover models –a nice reference to the crossover nature of 2008.

Interior and gadgets

Because 208 has no estate version until now, 2008 comes as the most polyvalent offering in the segment from Peugeot, with its interior being on the roomier side of the line – thanks to the height upgrade mainly. The seats up front are a standard affair, with good positioning and normal side hold – they are also quite comfortable if you need to travel for a few hours. The driver will easily find a good driving position, with a two-way adjustable steering column – we should also note that you will get used to the unusual layout (taken from 208) really fast. From my point of view, the main advantage is the smaller steering wheel, which brings a touch of sporty feeling.

The central console and the dashboard are almost directly taken from 208, with the new infotainment system an important part of the new way Peugeot has decided the car should interact with the driver and passengers. This is the future and we can only hope all manufacturers will soon take this approach – it’s a simple and intuitive enough way to organize the plethora of features a modern car offers us.

In the back, 2008 features room for two adults and a child in the middle or even three adults, but only on short distance trips. The space is enough for the average man, with a big plus for the headroom, where the roofline actually goes up a notch to accommodate very tall passengers. Also, the boot is big enough (338 liters) and easy to access, while larger luggage can be easily accommodated thanks to the 2/3 folding backrest.

Engine, transmission, fuel consumption
The first time we took a 2008 for a spin we tested the most powerful diesel unit, the 115 hp e-hdi, who featured micro-hybrid architecture. Now, it’s time for a U turn, going to the basics with the new 3 cylinder 1.2 VTi that delivers 82 hp. The peak power is achieved at 5750 rpm, while the peak torque of 118 Nm comes out at a more feasible 2750 rpm. We have to say that for this unit to be ok you really need to be a city dweller. It’s a modern unit, which means the 3 cylinders won’t be a hustle to the driver – we saw no bad vibrations and interior noise was really low. The only times when the engine felt its presence was when in full throttle, churning out a distinct noise that I also heard on the 3 cylinder unit in the Fiat family. Still, at high revs on highway, the engine was less present than wind and tyre noise.


The performance is not spectacular, with a top speed of 169 km/h, a 0-100 km/h time of 13.5 seconds and a 0-1000 meters time of 35.1 seconds. The 1.2 VTi engine does quite well in urban areas, but if you need to go on a long trip with all the seats occupied and the full lot of luggage you will regret the decision on the engine. Highway speeds will only be achieved at the expense of fuel consumption, as getting to 130 km/h will keep the engine revved to around 4000 rpm.

The fuel consumption is not to be trusted if you check the official sheet: 6 L/100 km in urban areas, 4,3 L outside of the city and an average of 4,9 L/100 km. These figures will never be obtained (a fact true for 99% of the cars around), this time due to the necessity of using high revs to unleash the full 82 hp of the engine – for example, on highway speed the instantaneous consumption provided by the on board computer jumped 8 liters. In the city, the only problem is that you don’t have an Auto Start/Stop function, but I did come closer to the official figures on a relaxed stroll around the city in low traffic.

We miss on the fun of having the Grip Control electronic transmission offered on the higher speced models, so any attempts to engage in rougher terrain strolling is seriously out of the question. Actually, the bigger ride height of the 2008 becomes an advantage mostly in the city, where you can park the car front facing any sidewalk or easily jump it when parking.

The five speed manual transmission on the 2008 is nothing to talk about, as the gear lever features an extensive travel distance that kills any drivers passion to sport shift.

Handling, safety
The 2008 is significantly higher than a normal small car, which affects the overall handling of the car – we have a high center of gravity and a tall body. Also, the suspension is rather on the comfort side of the line, with a good absorption of potholes and the like, but needs some attention when in fast turns. You can drive relatively fast the 2008, but braking in turns is also affected by the height so you also need to be careful there. The steering is a plus here, easy to use at low speeds and more responsive at higher speeds. It gives you a boost of confidence when turning, being quite exact (for the segment, at least) and reactive.


Overall, you won’t be breaking speed records (or limits) on a mountain road, but if you encounter an unpaved road the 2008 will exit it unharmed and with the passengers still happy. It’s overall handling is also very good in the city, where the suspension setup will give you a comfortable ride.

On the safety side, the 2008 features all the amenities necessary in a 2013 vehicle: we have the complete array of airbags (except the ones for the knee, which are still rather exotic), ABS with EBD and especially the always good to have ESP.

Likes/dislikes

Interior space is very good for the size, especially in the back. The steering setup with the small size wheel is very good for its class. The three-cylinder engine is well balanced and not very loud.

The engine is too small for long journeys and fuel economy goes down rapidly in highway situations. The five speed manual transmission could be better.