Saturday 10 December 2016

Facelifted 2008 'SUV' gives foretaste of Peugeot plans for spate of new models

First drive in Valencia: Peugeot 2008

Published 11/05/2016 | 02:30

The revised Peugeot 2008.
The revised Peugeot 2008.
Interior of the Peugeot 2008.

Sometimes a facelift can reveal much more than the effects of changes and tweaks. One thing leads to another and suddenly there's a lot of things happening - upstream and downstream.

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The revised Peugeot 2008 crossover is a case in point as its unveiling heralded change not just for itself but for several other models on a number of fronts.

One thing we learned is that we now have to get our terminology right.

They no longer want their 'crossovers' called 'crossovers'. From now on they're SUVs. Technically, you could argue, they are not but we won't quibble.

At least the revised 2008 looks more 'SUV' now after getting a bit of muscle added to its exterior, especially a stronger front built around an eye-catching vertical grille.

The new look (wheel arch extensions, scuff plates) did wow me in white but I was greatly taken by it in Emerald Green (yes) and a wonderful red. It is colour sensitive, I think.

The inside is upgraded too especially around the i-Cockpit. The tiny steering wheel allows perusal of dials, etc. in front of you and a central touchscreen to the right on the dash). That central touchscreen is improved: Apple CarPlay worked brilliantly; MirrorLink is still some way off the pace. I'm a fan of that small steering wheel.

There is an interesting 6spd automatic addition to the range too. They relied on an inexpensive but highly effective electronically controlled alternative up to now but they expect a fair bit of demand for the new auto. It costs from around €1,700 extra. The 'inexpensive' ETG5 version continues. Demand for automatics is increasing all the time Peugeot say.

They have added GTLine spec (special leather trim, 17ins alloys) to the lineup currently comprising Access, Active and Allure.

The 'new' 2008 is due for 162-reg sales in July where its main rivals for buyers will be the Opel Mokka, Renault Captur, Citroen Cactus C4, Nissan Juke and Dacia Duster.

There will be a 'nominal' price increase on the current €19,290, I'm told.

It became obvious early in our test-drive exercise that petrol is making a significant comeback with the French marque accounting for sales-shares well in excess of averages across the sector (one-third in the case of the 2008).

That's down to an excellent 1.2-litre PureTech petrol base that has several power and consumption levels.

For the first time in a long while we were talking petrol and almost overlooked the (excellent) diesels. There is big change afoot, it seems.

And those petrols in some shape or form will play a big role in four new 'SUVs' planned by the brand over the next year or so.

One of these will be the brand new 3008 which is pencilled in for arrival in Ireland early next-year.

However, before that we'll see something that isn't an SUV. It's the new Expert van (by August/September). There will be three versions: The van as we know it in two lengths and a compact version (4.6m, 4.95m 5.30m) to compete with Nissan NV200, Renault Trafic.

They will be followed by a passenger version of the Expert called the Traveller. That range will have a family (up to nine seats) and a VIP model with 6/7 seats to compete with the Mercedes V-Class and Volkswagen Caravelle.

They are saying the new 3008 (we'll see it soon but it will officially debut at Paris in the autumn) is a forerunner of what Peugeots will look, and be, like in the future.

It goes on sale early next year with the second-generation i-Cockpit. Like everything else that's coming there will be a spread of diesel and petrols (watch out for the 1.2-litre 130bhp petrol).

There will also be a brand new 5008 people carrier after March 2017.

Back to petrol. It was interesting to see how CO2 has come way down.

Take the 1.2 PureTech 82bhp, 5spd with that ETG5 gearbox - emissions are just 102g/km in the 2008. In the same range, the 110bhp 6spd auto (EAT6) manages a more than creditable 110g/km.

But we can't forget diesel. There are several in the 2008. How about the 1.6 BlueHDi 75, 5spd manual coming in at 97g/km? Or the 1.6 BlueHDi 100 S&S, 5spd manual at 90g/km?

And then there is Grip Control - a clever variation on traction control. This got me out of a real mudbath in a past test. One from which a Land Rover would have been happy to emerge. Basically it's a piece of technology that prevents the wheels from losing grip. It worked really well for me in the mud a couple of years back but it wasn't as impressive in sand trials I undertook last week in the 2008.

The good thing about it is there's no big 4x4 paraphernalia system attached. So, for around €300 you get special tyres and the technology. Simple, effective (especially on slippery slopes).

It is, and will be, 'available' on the 2008, 3008, Partner, new Expert, Traveller and the new 5008.

If I were to pick a star of the show, however, it would have to be the 3cyl 1.2-litre petrol engine (it has 82bhp, 110bhp and 130bhp versions).

No wonder there is a 'rebalancing' between petrol and diesel. Strange what you find out with just one facelift.

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