SUV-like drive with running costs of a supermini, the 2008 has it figured
They said it couldn't be done – but nobody told Peugeot.
For the last five years every car manufacturer has had one goal in mind; make a small crossover SUV with the running costs of a supermini.
Nissan were the first out of the blocks with the Juke but the unconventional styling quickly had it re-labelled the “Puke”.
Opel joined the fray with the Mokka and now Renault have gatecrashed the party with the Captur while Ford are already ‘bigging' up the EcoSport, due in Irish showrooms early next year.
But the early bird catches the worm and Peugeot capitalised on the success of the 208 with the immediate launch if the 2008 – giving punters no reason to shop elsewhere.
What we have here is literally a more rugged, SUV clone of its little brother. So much so, that 67pc of the underbody is identical to the hatchback.
It's well beefed up gaining an extra 200mm in length, 96mm in height and 25mm more girth.
Those figures equate to acres of space on board and a very impressive 162mm of extra ground clearance – enough to cope with inclement weather or stodgy and uneven road conditions.
With the SUV bit covered, the next big obstacle is its ability to cope with everyday family life.
Thanks to the extra dimensions, there is more than enough room for the 2.5 children and a generous boot of 350 litres (which expands to a massive 1,200 litres with the seats folded flat) will carry just about everything – including the kitchen sink.
Styling-wise the cabin is virtually identical to the 208 and even comes with the irritatingly small steering wheel which no matter how many times I adjusted it, created a blind spot below the main instruments.
Like it's little brother the 2008 comes in three trims, Access, Active and Allure.
Standard kit across the range includes LED daytime running lights, air conditioning, ESP, cruise control and speed limiter, 6 airbags, front electric windows, a spare wheel and roof rails.
The mid range Active gains rear parking sensors, a leather steering wheel, auto wipers and lights, front fog lamps, electric folding door mirrors and 16” alloy wheels.
Go for the top end Allure and you'll get cornering fog lamps, a panoramic and LED feature glass roof, dual zone air con, privacy glass, rear electric windows and external chrome pack.
But its the running costs which will be the deciding factor for most cash-strapped families and is the very thing which astounded this reviewer.
The 1.4 litre HDi diesel powering our press car was a true revelation.
Despite being only 70bhp one would have expected it to be a bit lethargic and a tad thirsty.
On the contrary. By keeping the body weight to around a tonne, the peppy oil burner was punching well above its weight and returning 70mpg (4.0 litres/100km) while emissions are a smidge over 100g/km, meaning €190 road tax.
You can also choose from a 1.2 litre petrol 82bhp, a 1.6 e-HDi 92bhp (also available in EGC gearbox) and the more powerful 115bhp diesel unit.
Handling and ride quality is pretty good too and the anticipated body roll never materialised.
Pound for pound the 2008 is a great all rounder and a cheaper alternative to the bigger, more expensive soft roaders. It’ll be a sure-fire winner for the French marque.
Prices for the 2008 start at €18,595.