2018 Peugeot 2008 Allure Road Test, Review
SUV, or not to SUV, that is the question, but is 2008 the answer?
Peugeot is the world’s oldest car brand, so why is Peugeot is one of those brands that is so often overlooked? It has had some dubious quality and design in the past, but for the last few years, the French car maker has had a return to form.
They were known for lounge comfort, cloud ride, and tank-like reliability. Peugeot could be depended on for cutting edge development too. Then the beam counters got involved.
Passenger car sales are going down the tube, fast. To survive, all brands need to have a presence in the SUV market. It is the only segment that continues to boom.
Peugeot’s early SUV model, the 4008, was supplied by Mitsubishi. It was modified here and there to give it a unique front, but it wasn’t all that exciting. The interior that was not up snuff. As a stopgap measure, it did the job, and allowed Peugeot to develop a range of their very own.
There are now 3 models: 2008, 3008, and 5008 and as the nomenclatures suggest, the smallest number is the smallest car. All have front-wheel-drive, and have characteristic French flare with quirky approaches to design both inside and out.
2008 has a single engine and transmission combination, and 3 trim levels: Active, Allure, and Gt-line. GT-Line was added in the last couple of years to bring this model into line with other Peugeot offerings.
2008 is more like a hatchback than the rest of the range.
If you think of it that way you can’t go wrong. The petite proportions perform perfectly, but the face is a bit frowny.
All 3 models in the range look so similar that no one is really going to know how much you paid, and that’s a good thing.
Headlights include LED running lights, and have been carved along the bottom edge to add interest. Along with the waterfall grille, the front end is neat, clean, and crisp. The lower bumper houses a set of fog lights which double as fixed cornering lights. These come on as the steering wheel is turned, and light the oncoming bends. They’re particularly handy at low speed maneuverers.
As you turn the wheel, the side light turns on.
Our mid-range Allure scores 16” Aquilla alloy wheels and extended wheel arches.
There is an odd bump on the roofline above the rear doors. Dark trim makes the windows look taller than they actually are. It only manages to ruin the otherwise sleek lines. Get rid of it.
There are touches of chrome here and there adding just the right amount of jewellery. It is classy without being overdone.
The section of the SUV market much contested. Small, high-set, 5-door hatches, have proved to be both flexible and good value. The smallest Peugeot SUV has a premium look and feel.
A comfortable, neat, and ergonomically correct cabin manages to look good and function well.
1st generation i-Cockpit combines a small steering wheel with a high-set instrument cluster. Peugeot claims it works like a Heads-Up Display. It takes a while to get used to, but stick with it. Newer driver readouts are a 100% LCD display. 2008 makes do with conventional dials.
Each of the dials is outlined by a fine blue line that glows eerily at night.
A floating touch-LCD tablet tops the centre stack. Many modern cars have this feature, and I like it a lot. Real estate on the centre stack isn’t taken up with screen, and the information is raised further into the line of sight.
Patterned surfaces are a welcome change to a more traditional textured soft plastic. The top-middle dash panel has a unique surface treatment.
There is quite a lot of piano-black too. Along with metalised plastic, piano black looks good but scratches easily. Shiny surfaces reflect the sun too, and can be brutal at certain angles. Matte surfaces are less likely to dazzle drivers.
Climate controls sit under the tablet screen. Lever-style buttons for temperature are neat and easy to use. There is one for each of the front passengers. I’m glad to see these oft-used controls have not been moved into the infotainment system as they have in other Peugeot Citroen cars.
Below the climate controls are USB and power outlets in a small cubby hole.
Further long the console is the gear selector and a parking brake lever which doubles as a hand rest. Instead of a traditional lever, Peugeot did it their way. It is a large square pad which is pulled up to activate the brake. There are cup holders for small cups, and bottle holders in the door pockets
Seating is typically French, and is comfortable and supportive.
There is a flavour and ambience French cars manage to capture in a way only the Gallic designers can. It is classy and warm, while being functional and quirky. Above all, despite 2008 being well into its life cycle, the design feels fresh.
Moreover, it will age well, as tastes change.
Autonomous emergency braking (active city brake), reversing camera, Apple CarPlay and reversing sensors, head up an impressive list of inclusions for both safety and convenience. However, techy features like active lane control and active cruise control are missing.
- Dual climate control
- Grip Control drive programmes
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Parking sensors
- Cruise control/speed limiter
- Electric folding mirrors
- Sunroof (at cost option)
- Front and rear fog lights
- Folding rear seats
- Semi-automated park assistance
Drive and Engine
Peugeot keeps things simple with a single engine/transmission option.
An award-winning Euro 6, 1.2L 3-cyldinder turbo petrol engine, produces 81kw and an impressive 205Nm of torque. 0-100 is a leisurely 11.3 seconds. 2008 isn’t about brute force and warp 9.9 cornering. It is about getting places in style and comfort.
2008 is one of those cars where facts and figure don’t tell the whole story. Despite those modest numbers, the drive has a sporty feel to it. Steering is sharp, very sharp. In fact, it is far sharper than a little SUV has any right to be.
The same goes for ride and handling. Peugeot cut its teeth on rallies and races, and sister company Citroen, pioneered front-wheel-drive. Heritage counts for little if the latest offerings ignore heritage, but I’m pleased to say all recent Pugs have put handling back at the top of the priority list.
Even in sharp corners, 2008 feels as tight as a drum. There is a little body roll because the fixed suspension settings have been tuned for comfort. Despite that, it turns in to a corner with hot-hatch-like grip.
I’d like to say it slingshots out the other side, but that would be overstating things just a smidge.
There are no paddles on the Allure so the automatic is best left to its own devices. There are only 6 cogs and it frequently opts for economy rather than power. If you insist on manual operation, the floor shifter can be fettled.
You get a pleasingly throaty sound thanks to the odd firing sequence of the 3 pot up front. The further you push you foot into the carpet, the throatier it becomes. It more like a sports bike rather than a car, and that’s a good thing.
Ground clearance is a not inconsiderable 165mm. Grip control is selected on a small dial on the centre console. The programmes give the driver confidence as the road surface becomes less co-operative. It uses the traction control to manipulate power and brakes as needed. Front wheel drive isn’t usually synonymous with grip, but it’s worth noting Citroen DS was rallied, and won.
There is just a hint of torque steer under heavy acceleration. It is completely manageable even in the wet.
Ownership isn’t just about the drive. There is a practical side to 2008 too. Apart from the newly instituted 5 year warranty and roadside assist, there is added confidence in quality checks during manufacture.
We had the boot full of Christmas goodies, and there was even enough room for my folding electric bike. Best of all, there is a spare tyre. To save room and weight, it is a temporary-style wheel but is vastly preferable to a repair kit. The repair and inflation kits have never worked for me yet.
The cabin looks beautiful at night. The instrument cluster is outlined in subtle blue. The blue continues in the sunroof. A gentle wash of blue makes the roof look as though it is floating about the heads of those seated underneath it. You can dim it if its all too much.
The infotainment system can be a bit slow to respond, especially when using CarPlay. Click here to see our CarPlay demo in a Mercedes Benz.
The sound system is impressive, and you can use voice control to manipul
ate music, messages, and phone traffic, but changing settings is best done when parked.
Like all touch-screen systems, there is no feedback. You can’t reach for a button. Using any of these systems while on the move is as dangerous as using a mobile phone.
I’ve driven 2008 many times in the past. Each time I’m re-impressed, if you’ll pardon the term. While it’s true that I’ve not always been a fan of this engine, I’ve come to admire it. The first few encounters were with a manual gearbox. I drive by ear, and going by engine sound alone is more difficult in a 3-cylinder. Try it. You’ll see what I mean.
My views were transformed once the 6-speed automatic came in to being. The automatic is smooth and preferable to the 4-speed unit in previous Peugeots. I’m pleased to see Peugeot hasn’t gone down the CVT route.
Most journeys, even longer ones, are made with just one or two people on board. It makes sense to have a smaller engine pulling a smaller car. Everything is cheaper. It starts with the purchase prices and continues to running costs.
2008 suits anyone who doesn’t need a huge amount of space, values economy, and fancies something a bit different.
If a car is judged by being fit for purpose, the aging 2008 is excellent.
5 Star ANCAP (tested 2013)
During the 5-year run, 2008 has seen safety updates to keep up with the times.
- Reversing camera
- Rear sensors
- Autonomous emergency braking
- 6 airbags
- Stability control
- Hill start assist
- Hazard flasher activation under emergency braking application
- Classy cabin
Not So Good Bits
- some exterior design elements
- cup holders too small
- piano black dazzles in bright sunlight, and gets scratched
There is just enough weird in 2008 to keep it fresh and interesting.
If I could change one thing, it would be the silly bump above the rear doors. Other than that, it is all good news. It drives well and has lots of useable space. Steering is beautifully responsive and is matched to sharp handling.
The 208-sized SUV combines that handling with the convenience of extra height and ground clearance. The well-appointed cabin has a comfort and warmth with technology that is less in-your-face than some brands.
The Peugeot has a 5 year warranty, handles well, has lots of features, and is economical.
2008 does exactly what it says on the box.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Peugeot 2008 Allure
- Engine: 1.2L, 3 Cylinder turbo petrol producing 81kW/206Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: France
- Price: from $30,990 drive away offer
Author: Alan Zurvas