Another week, another feature that opens with the line ‘another week, another compact crossover’. A further opportunity will come in January. But this week it’s the Peugeot 2008, the taller small Peugeot that is not quite as small as the last one. At 4.3m long, it’s 15cm longer than the 2008 it replaces, so is now longer than a Volkswagen Golf.
It sits on Peugeot’s CMP (Common Modular Platform) small car architecture which, you may know, means it comes with a choice of internal combustion power or as a pure battery-electric vehicle (BEV). Plug-in hybridisation is saved for bigger Peugeots and Citroëns and DSs now, Vauxhalls later and who knows what beyond that, once parent company PSA Group merges with Fiat Chrysler as is planned next year.
Anyway, the idea is that, instead of Peugeot making a stand-alone electric vehicle, you choose a car from the regular Peugeot range and then choose a powertrain - ‘thermal’ or electric - to suit you, which strikes me as a pragmatic long-term approach. Like most big car companies, Peugeot needs a mix of low- or zero-tailpipe-emission vehicles to meet legislated CO2 targets. Its current order bank suggests it’ll meet them comfortably.
The new 2008 joins a raft of compact crossovers and, at this size and price, is pitched against rather a lot of family hatchbacks too. Other crossovers have not exactly set a high bar, but the best small family hatchbacks are really rather good.
In the UK, most 2008s will be powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine that comes in 99bhp (manual only), 129bhp (manual or automatic) and 153bhp (auto only) flavours. The 134bhp electric version will make up a double-digit percentage of sales, considerably more than the 99bhp manual-only diesel, which thanks to Volkswagen’s diesel cheating will likely make up just one 2008 in every 20. You can try to make a good case for a clean modern diesel, Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato tells us, but “nobody’s listening”.
Prices for combusted 2008s start at around £20,000 and rise to £31,000, with electric variants £28,000 to £34,000 after government grant, though lower servicing and refuelling costs on the BEV are meant to keep overall ownership costs equivalent to a 129bhp petrol.
The 129bhp model we tried was in GT Line trim, three-quarters of the way up the 2008 ladder and quite classy inside, with some faux-leather and funky contrast stitching, with silvered plastics used sparingly enough that you can almost be convinced they’re actual chrome.