Peugeot was at the pinnacle of the Industrial Revolution. Today, it’s at it again, not quite revolutionising the manufacturing process but refining the crossover segment with the new 2008.

Dashing design inside and out; standard spec

Service plan could be better; driving position won’t suit everyone

Who would have guessed that, back in 1810, a French inventor known for manufacturing kitchen equipment, tools and bicycles would build the foundation of what we still celebrate today? An otherworldly kind of French engineering, almost as precise and delicately executed as Chardonnay grapes into Champagne, Peugeot is one of those manufacturers whose new products I always look forward to reviewing.

Peugeot 2008
GT models stand out thanks to gloss-black trim, but the Salamanca alloys are shared with the Allure.

Peugeot has recently re-entered the competitive small-crossover fray with its latest rendition of the popular 2008, first launched back in 2013 with the well-received first-generation model. While having a firm foothold in the commercial-vehicle arena with the Partner and Boxer models, unlike in Europe, Peugeot South Africa has struggled to establish wide-ranging reach in the passengers-car sector despite such excellent models as the 3008 and 5008 (not to mention the 308, a criminally underrated compact hatchback that’s no longer on sale). That looks likely to change with the new 2008, which offers a chic alternative to the top-selling VW T-Cross and perennially popular Kia Seltos.

So, what’s on offer today? Looking back at the 2008’s journey from where it started to where it finds itself today, we are pretty pleased that this charming compact SUV has hit our shores. In my opinion, the predecessor 2008 resembled an overweight 208 model that didn’t have much street cred. Today’s updated model is an entirely different story.

Peugeot 2008
Touchscreen is big but fiddly air-con controls detract from its user-friendliness

With its striking design, the 2008 is set to turn heads. Prominent design elements taken from its smaller sibling, the 208 (which is scheduled to arrive in South Africa later this year), and its big brother, the 3008, are clearly noticeable. There are three trim levels available: the entry-level Active, mid-spec Allure and this range-topping GT. The Active sports 16-inch alloy wheels, while the higher two models are distinguished by 17-inch Salamanca two-tone items. This GT model is further set apart by gloss-black trim elements on the grille and mirrors, plus a three-claw headlight treatment complemented by LEDs. A panoramic sunroof is an option.

Peugeot 2008
Panoramic sunroof one of few options

The new 2008 is based on the latest Common Modular Platform architecture from Peugeot that’s set up for hybrid and electric applications right off the bat. It’s a step in the right direction, making the car 150 mm longer and slightly wider than before, and so packing more of a compact SUV look instead of appearing like an oversized hatch. A growing trend among manufacturers is a two-tone colour scheme, and this works perfectly with this GT model (Active and Allure get a lick of bodywork-matching paintwork).

The interior trimmings reflect the futuristic exterior feel. The main facia section ingenuously uses two usually disparate materials: a concave carbon-effect trim is juxtaposed by a soft-touch faux-leather finish, all highlighted by lime-green stitching. With a flat bottom, the mini steering wheel looks cute but practicality is somewhat compromised, as you have to drop the wheel in order to view the instrumentation above. The squared-off tiller does, however, not impede legroom for the driver.

Peugeot 2008

The 2008 GT packs Peugeot’s 3D i-Cockpit layout, which includes a 10-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, inductive smartphone-charging as well as a quirky 3D-effect instrument array (that’s intended to make the dials appear further away than they are and so easing eye focus). It’s an easy system to master but we’d have preferred the climate-control settings to be separated from the screen. The heated seats are super comfy and legroom in the back is more than ample for your crew. Luggage space is also surprisingly generous at 434 litres and can be enlarged by folding forward the 60:40-split rear chairs.

Peugeot 2008
Three-claw LED light signature unique to the GT model.

On the move, the 2008 feels solid and planted, but not uncomfortable. Typically Peugeot, it strikes an admirable balance between good body control and absorbent suspension settings. Ground clearance of 210 mm plus sufficiently plump tyre sidewalls mean it’s perfectly adept at handling pockmarked South African roads.

The GT model, like the Active and Allure models equipped with the six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, sports the 96 kW/230 Nm version of Peugeot’s popular 1.2-litre triple (the entry-level Active manual downgrades outputs to 74 kW/ 205 Nm). It’s a lovely mill, all warbly delivery and lots of punch when the torque peak kicks in at 1 750 r/min. Peugeot says it’ll hit 100 km/h from standstill in 9.1 seconds and top out at 198 km/h.

Ultimately, with the new 2008, the Volkswagen T-Cross 1.5 TSI has some serious competition. While the GT model’s R479 900 list price looks steep, it offers an exceptional number of standard features way beyond anything else in the class (including lane-keeping assist, pedestrian detection and blind-spot monitoring) and is only R22 000 more than the German model. Speccing the T-Cross to a roughly equivalent level pushes its price way past R500k. The 2008 is also more interesting to look at, and isn’t that a big part of a small crossover’s appeal?

Peugeot 2008
Full-width hatch strip has become a modern Peugeot design signature


Rating: 4/5

Looks unlike any other small crossover but backs up the style with substance. Lovely engine and transmission, too, but we’d recommend the Allure model at R50k less to strike a better value balance.

Deep Data

Peugeot 2008 1.2T 96 kW GT 6EAT

Price: R479 900
Engine: 1.2-litre, 3-cyl, turbopetrol
Transmission: 6-spd AT
Driven wheels: F Power: 96 kW @ 5 500 r/min
Torque: 230 Nm @ 1 750 r/min 0-100 km/h: 9.1 seconds
Top speed: 198 km/h
Fuel consumption: 6.5 L/100 km
CO2: 148 g/km
Length: 4 300 mm
Height: 1 550 mm
Width: 1 770 mm
Wheelbase: 2 605 mm
Weight: 1 225 kg
Luggage capacity: 434 L
Fuel tank: 44 L
Warranty: 5 years/ 100 000km
Service plan: 3 years/ 60 000 km