In the parking lot, stood this cute yet weird animal and as I clicked the unlock button on my remote, like a happy, excited pet welcoming you, started wagging its tail or rather blinking its headlamps excitedly. I reciprocated the excitement by waking up my family that was already in bed to instantly take a ride in this completely new car that’s in the market – a practicable weirdness placed between a hatch and a small crossover.

UPSIDE: Stocky steering grip, Practicable crossover features, good quality interiors

FLIPSIDE: Occasional gear shift delay, Airline style handbrakes with an inaccessible gap, Glasshouse design

The Price: AED 69,900 and AED 78,000

We should have seen it coming when the 208 first rolled the earth last year, that there would soon be a cute little crossover Pug riding tall. Not exactly tall, but taller than the 208 of course. That’s exactly what Peugeot has been doing to its models, introducing the hatchback and the crossover versions of almost all its platforms. As we talk, a fresh design update of the 3008 is already here!

The Drive

Coming to the drive character of the car, it retains pretty much everything from the spatial province of 208. It could have benefited from a five-speed transmission but Peugeot has retained the four speed, which is okay especially because it doesn’t have that grating climb that many of the small sized engines or four speed transmissions display. Yes, there is slightly painful drag until the second gear but that the car is smoothly quick. The 0 to 100 comes up in approximately 12 seconds.

What I liked about the engine is it doesn’t make a lot of noise but the cabin does let in quite a bit of wind noise. But then, these are things you are probably willing to accept when moving up to a crossover: a city crossover, as Peugeot describes the new 2008.

What’s best about the cabin would probably be the steering I loved in the 208 – stocky and short. The thick-rimmed wheel is good to grip and really moves with you while gear travel is short with a nice click.  The car handles everything that you throw at it from ramps and corners to flyovers and the rest. What’s different from the 208 is that you can feel the rear tug of a crossover. But then it really doesn’t impede the handling enjoyment save when the unexpected shuffle happens, hunting for gears mid-climb. And what is still very much there is the shudder from the driveline shunt of the 208.

The report showed 9.6 litres per 100kms – so we are quite okay there. Yes, the brakes worked well.

The Design

It has a sort of wackiness about it but whether you like it or not is going to be a personal thing. The new familial trait of the large rear lamp, the roof with the bump, the elegantly placed roof rails, the new grille speaking Peugeot’s evolved design language, the nicely chiselled front LED lamps and all that make the car definitely well designed. People who don’t like it probably would call it ‘overdesigned’ but these defined lines do give the car a distinctive identity despite being not noticeably large. Actually, it’s just a little bigger than the Nissan Tiida. But hey, that is probably a good reason for people who love hatchbacks to upgrade to crossovers because you are not going to be a long way off familiar territory.

The new Peugeot 2008 is a glasshouse. The glasses actually stand almost on your elbow level or even lower, giving an exposed feeling to the cabin. But then, that kind of goes with the cute, fun kind of an image that it creates.

Cabin and Controls

My test car rode on 16-inch wheels and nice alloys despite actually being the base version. The cabin of the 2008 sticks with the premium quality materials most Peugeots have – especially the glossy finish of the hard plastics, the carbon fibre feel of the material on the dash, the grained-gloss feel of the door handle trims and the dashboard trims. The fabric seats as usual were quite comfortable with the easily adjustable neck support for all three rear seats. The seats are of good comfort though it isn’t great when it comes to back support in the rear.

I like the way the large seven inch screen is placed right at the centre of the dash and how a colourful square performed a dance while playing music. The instrument panel is clutter free – save the cruise control and speed limiter stalk inconveniently hidden behind the steering as usual.

What’s new in the cabin is the cockpit inspired handbrake, which is a flat, thick paddle right in the centre console. It looks stylish but then it moves on sort of a rail gap. My worst nightmare in the car turned out to be this: “if my parking card were to fall into the rail gap, how am I going to retrieve it?” I still have no idea!

Family Drive

While I would expect it as standard in a Crossover, however small it may be, handgrips have been overlooked. But there are nice handy roof rails in the new Peugeot 2008. The rear seats are actually comfortable and the mid-seat very usable – flat, not bumpy – so somebody can properly sit on it instead of just squatting on it uncomfortably.

Peugeot 2008 offers good storage options as well. The doorsill storage is shallow, the trunk pretty good and the console tunnel offers good storage pits including where the armrest would be. And that brings us to another thing: I think armrest should be made standard on every car, whatever the size or the premium-ness.

The music system is fairly good. While the air conditioning did not trouble me in the 40 degrees of heat outside, you might have to push the blower to the higher side to actually keep the cooling going. And perhaps that’s got something to do with the roomy, glasshouse design of the car. There is a rather wide and large glass roof that goes all the way to the rear, thinly veiled by a white, synthetic screen. The  real convenience missing is the Bluetooth, which is available in the top end version.

The Essential Peugeot 2008

As the Peugeot 2008 takes its first few strides in this market, priced at approximately AED 70,000 and 78,000, the top trim does come with more style, alloy wheels, a CD player, navigation and rear windscreen washers. But other than that, the car I drove is pretty good if you are looking for a small crossover to upgrade your hatchback dreams. The Peugeot 2008 is designed as a city vehicle. The Sport mode doesn’t do much other than sustaining the rpm and the noise somewhat. And if you are irked by the automatic four pot shudder, you could do it all by yourself by shifting to the manual mode.

I like the new catchy design of the 2008 but my Family Drive expert (read, my wife) did not agree as it came across as overly designed to her. To keep good memories of the drive, all you have to do is forget the shudders and think of that thick, stocky steering that so well fits your palm.

Drive Courtesy: Swaidan Peugeot
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy

Peugeot 2008 Review: Hatching dreams, grow up! was last modified: December 27th, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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