The small SUV market in Australia is hyper competitive with 31 different makes and models across a wide range of prices. We find out if Peugeot’s new 2008 can cut through the traffic.
Peugeot wants to be viewed as a premium brand and has priced its vehicles accordingly.
The French brand has two variants of its compact 2008 SUV starting from about $39,000 for the base Allure we are testing here and rising to about $48,000 for the GT Sport. That’s a lot of money for a small SUV.
Initial impressions are good, but the list of standard features isn’t as long as you’d expect at this price level. There are no heated seats or wireless device charging, which are standard on some cheaper cars. There are also some notable items missing on the driver assistance front.
It’s a chic little machine, though, with head-turning looks and an attractive cabin.
The 2008 is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Servicing is reasonable at about $2200 over five years with industry standard 12-month/15,000km intervals.
The 2008 is a pleasant space. Occupants are surrounded by a mix of high-quality hard and soft-touch materials.
Faux-leather trimmed, manually adjustable seats are firm but comfortable. The GT Sport scores leather upholstery and heated electronically adjustable front seats.
The digital instrument display can be configured to suit the driver’s tastes, from information-heavy to minimalist.
A seven-inch touchscreen is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay but you’ll have to dive into the infotainment to access the aircon settings, which is a distraction on the move.
There is plenty of headroom for rear seat passengers but legroom is tight. There are no rear air vents but two usb charging points are a welcome addition.
Boot space is generous at 434 litres or 1467 litres with the rear seats folded.
Safety is a mixed bag. Most of the key driver aids are covered, but you’d expect more in this price range.
The car will brake to avoid a collision with the car in front and will stop you from drifting into other lanes but there is no blind-spot monitoring on the Allure grade and neither version can be had with rear cross-traffic alert.
A handy alert shows up in the driver’s instruments to tell you if you are too close to the car in front.
Power comes from a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. That doesn’t sound like much on paper but it’s a peppy little unit.
Power is a modest 96kW but a healthy 230Nm of torque available low in the rev range delivers decent performance off the mark.
The engine is matched to a six-speed auto driving the front wheels, which does a great job of flicking through its ratios to find the sweet spot. It can feel clunky when downshifting in lower gears, though.
The 2008 has no trouble overtaking at speed and hurtles up steep hills without feeling out of breath. No radar cruise is disappointing.
Well sorted suspension soaks up the majority of bumps, but it can skip over little corrugations.
It is one of the better driving little SUVs with a talent for taking corners. Compact dimensions mean it feels zippy and agile in traffic and is a cinch to park in tight city streets.
Fuel use is a claimed 6.5L/100km, and it requires pricier premium unleaded.
The 2008 is stylish and great to drive but the price tag will turn off a lot of buyers.
Mazda CX-30 Touring, from about $39,000 drive-away
Strong safety and well appointed interior. Thirsty engine and cramped rear seats.
Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo, from $36,990 drive-away
Great value, sporty engine and splendid to drive. The one to beat.
Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI, from about $38,500 drive-away
Great to drive with a quality engine and transmission combo.