Peugeot 2008 review (2023) – Peugeot is the new Wolverine

The king of small SUVs gets a facelift

Renewing a bestseller like the 2008 is a particularly perilous exercise. Every slightly daring idea can lead to glory or disaster. And for a simple update, also known as a facelift to those in the know, the task remains complex, even when you’re Peugeot. After all, the 2008 has sold more than 1.4 million units since 2013 and was number one in Europe at the beginning of 2021, all categories combined. An impressive performance which would logically encourage the Lion to go easy on the changes.

But that’s the theory, because the facts are stubborn and at Sochaux, they like to take risks. For the rest of its career, the little SUV is back with a more expressive face than ever. As well as sporting the new logo debuted on the 308, the 2008 does double duty by adopting the brand’s new stylistic identity. A spectacular triple set of claws has been added to either side of the body-coloured grille. Wolverine would have loved it. Then there are the LED headlamps, with a design never seen before on GT versions. Ostentatious? It’s deliberate, of course, because there are few changes to the profile. The 2008 simply has a new set of wheels reminiscent of those on the 408. Unfortunately, we were given the optional 18-inch wheels already present before the facelift… Finally, the rear end is just as sparing of changes, with the Peugeot monogram affixed between the revised taillights.

A new touchscreen that changes almost everything

On board, the 2008 retains its original layout, with an i-Cockpit characterized by its instrumentation that can be read above the steering wheel. While it remains extravagant, the overall layout still imposes a constrained driving position on exotic body types – by which I mean that the posture is complicated for tall and short alike. The same goes for the ergonomics, which remain complicated. We don’t need to spell it out for you: once again, most of the functions can only be accessed via the central screen. Fortunately, the interface of the infotainment system has corrected its slowness and brought itself up to the level of the competition. It has become more intuitive, but that’s not enough to make it a model of ergonomics. Fortunately, there is something to be said for these recurring problems: the French car retains a dashboard that is pleasing to the eye and to the touch. Special mention should be made of the electric, massaging Alcantara driver’s seat. This is rare in its class, even though the massage function simply inflates and deflates the lumbar support. And as for rear passenger space, no problemo. There’s plenty of legroom and headroom. Perfect for the family? Almost, because, while not bad, the 434 litres of boot space are just about average for the segment, and don’t count on a sliding bench seat to improve capacity – Peugeot hasn’t thought of that.

One – hard – press on the Start button and the cold engine delivers a whole load of rude noises. That’s right, the 2008 we’ve invited for the week is equipped with a diesel engine which, according to some, is a hitch from the last century. While it is indeed sonorous under acceleration, it becomes quite discreet at steady speed, especially as the EAT8 gearbox accompanying it remains highly recommendable. It shifts smoothly through its eight gears, even allowing you to freewheel to save a few decilitres of fuel. The only criticism is that it is slow to downshift when the brake pedal is applied, and that it operates roughly just before coming to a halt. Frankly apathetic in Eco mode, with its hasty gear changes, the 130 PS 1.5 BlueHDi regains its vigour on the Sport programme. Although its responsiveness becomes appreciable, it remains too high up in the revs and the engine sound relayed through the speakers is extremely caricatured. In the end, we’ll be sticking to Normal mode for the rest of the journey… And that’s all to the good, because in terms of fuel consumption, the BlueHDi is a delight: you can drive on torque alone (300 Nm) and be gratified by an average of 5.1 litres/100 km, which is clearly worth applauding.

GT by name…only

And how does it hold up? Let’s just say that the steering is fairly lively and the front end is happy to take on corners. On the other hand, the roll quickly calms things down and is clearly no laughing matter. In sustained driving, the French car sags quite noticeably in bends, so much in fact that you’d think you were cruising around in a Citroën, to put it mildly. Of course, with a 208 chassis on which the bodywork has been raised, you couldn’t expect a spinner-like attitude as you negotiate the twisties. And of course, there’s no adaptative suspension. As a result, everything goes well in a straight line, with considerate damping and rather convincing soundproofing on the motorway. Semi-autonomous driving, on the other hand, is a different story. While the radar correctly regulates speed with the vehicle being followed, the car’s ability to stay on course is surprisingly flimsy. You have to keep an eye on your trajectory or you’ll drift out of your lane. It’s easy to see why such an option costs just €340… Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the vehicle, which is particularly expensive.

Priced from €33,700 in GT trim with the BlueHDi 130, the 2008 is already not cheap. And it manages to go even higher, with our filled to the brim test model fetching €38,040. The bill is very high for a small SUV. However, there are plenty of reasons to be pleased, because for those who want a vehicle that’s reasonably spacious, comfortable, attractively presented, fairly well equipped and with a solid range, this -diesel 2008 is far from being a bad choice. Let’s just say that the electric version is even more appealing, with its inevitably superior levels of comfort, as well as its power and range, both of which have been revised upwards. Unfortunately, that’s where the story ends, because the extra cost is simply outrageous, with a minimum price of €40,360 for the Active trim and even €43,750 for the GT version, excluding options, of course. Shocking, as some people would say…

Verdict : 7/10

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