Looks - 9/10
The best way I can describe the looks of the 2008 is 'urbanised'. By that I mean it just fits in with the high-tech world of a modern city. There are subtle hints toward the 208, but not enough detract from the 2008's own identity. And with the range-topping Feline model, what an identity that is. You get 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels, daytime running lights, privacy glass, roof rails, a fantastic panoramic roof and bits of chrome here and there. I really like the 2008 because there are bold lines such as the rear quarter blended with softer lines in the bonnet and rear end. This creates a rather well-balanced car; one with a bold image but that's not too far off the norm to be classed as wacky. The only bit I'm not sure about is the side profile of the rear lights.
On the inside there are two Feline trims available. Mine was the 'Calima' ambience which means a sandy-coloured interior with bronze trim. I rather liked it when coupled to the Cumulus Grey exterior colour. The miniaturised steering wheel is common of the latest Peugeot models, as are the dials above it. I found the handbrake an odd piece of design, but you soon get used to it. The interior as a whole is top quality, and the finish looks good. In particular the bronze trim is a success, and you certainly feel like you're in a model worthy of being top of the range. The half leather and alcantara seats are a nice design and look welcoming. And as for the panoramic roof, well that's a brilliant feature. It adds to both the exterior and interior image and is a touch of quality in a new car.
My test car was fitted with the 1.6-litre eHDi diesel engine. This is the 92PS version, which has 230Nm, stop start technology and a five-speed manual gearbox. It is more than capable of getting the 2008 to shift. Granted, it's not a formula 1 car. In fact, 0-62mph takes a lengthy 12.8 seconds and the top speed is 113mph. Don't worry though, because a 115PS, 270Nm version of the same engine is available; it even comes with a six-speed manual. Despite the figures the 2008 never actually felt slow or sluggish, so I imagine the 115PS would feel rather nippy. On the motorway you do miss the sixth gear, although the fifth is a relatively long gear.
Why you would definitely buy a 2008 is for the handling. All models are 2WD, but don't let that fool you. Buy an Allure or Feline model and you get 'Grip Control', which is the dial you can see in the pictures. What this means is that despite it not having 4WD, the little 2008 has all the capability you would need in this country. The system optimises the spinning of the front wheels according to the conditions, and has modes for sand, mud and snow. And this isn't just for show either. To show the sceptical members of the press Peugeot took the 2008 to the Tamworth snow dome, and then proceeded to drive straight up the 14-degree incline. Remarkable. In everyday life it handles well. On the motorway it's comfortable, and it doesn't roll too much through the corners either. The little steering wheel gives a more direct response, and it's nice to have a bit more ride height.
Economy - 10/10
Another reason you'd want to pick a 2008 is for economy. The 92PS model I tested emits a mere 103g/km CO2. This puts it in VED band B, at £20 road tax a year (free first year). Fuel consumption isn't bad either, at a combined 70.6mpg which means the 2008 will save you money in the long term. Better still, the 115PS variant remains in the same tax band- with 105g/km- and offers the same fuel consumption. Part of this economy is down to the 2WD drivetrain, which ordinarily would have me ranting about how it's not a crossover if it can't cross over your neighbours front garden... you get the point. So in actual fact the Grip Control serves a dual purpose; offering grip whilst maintaining low running costs. Bravo, Peugeot!
Practicality - 10/10
As a crossover, you would expect a certain level of practicality. And the 2008 in no way disappoints. The cabin is more roomy than the exterior suggests, and in particular rear legroom is much improved from the smaller hatchbacks. The boot is a decent size, too. In fact, when you fold the rear seats down you'd be amazed at what you can fit in the 2008. What's more, we've already touched on how capable it is. This means that no matter what the conditions, you can always get the best out of the Peugeot. You get satellite navigation, bluetooth, iPod connectivity, rear parking aid (parallel park assist is an optional extra) and cruise control. That's plenty of reasons why the 2008 makes life easier for you, and why it will really be a family car that ticks all the boxes.
Fun - 9/10
I will make no secret of the fact that 2008 really won me over. I like the styling, and zipping around the village catching a glimpse of those striking lines in shop windows always puts a smile on your face. And then when you hit a muddy road simply use the Grip Control to ensure you can keep on smiling even when the going gets tough. I love having the touch screen media system and being able to put my iPod on with ease makes any journey more enjoyable. Most of all though, I enjoyed the surprise. I was a bit skeptical about the 2WD element and whether it would be style over substance. But the reality is that the 2008 is a hoot, and a brilliant car. And I didn't want to give it back. Through speaking with the chaps at Peugeot, a lot of them drive a 2008, and I can see why!
So how can I sum up the Peugeot 2008? Well I can sum it up in a word actually; brilliant. It takes the concept of the crossover- a cross between a family hatch and a tough SUV- and then completely rewrites it. It shows us that 4WD isn't a necessity to be a practical, go-anywhere car. The aim of the 2008 is to be able to cope with anything a British climate could throw at it, and I have no doubt it can do that with ease. As for the price? Well for a model with grip control, the cheapest option is £16,250, which represents fantastic value for money. The Feline 'Calima' ambience I tested with 92PS diesel comes in at £18,645 (plus £495 for metallic paint) which considering the level of equipment on offer is a good price too. For any more information pop into a local Peugeot dealership or visit the Peugeot website. The 2008 then; revolutionising the family car. What are you waiting for?
Total Score - 46/50