At this trim grade, the 2008 gets a large central touchscreen that’s nice to look at but sometimes fiddly and laggy to use - the climate control functions, at least, ought to be separated from it and replaced with more conventional buttons. And there’s a new, fancier 3D take on Peugeot’s i-Cockpit instrument cluster, which as usual features a small steering wheel that’ll probably obscure some of the display, unless you set it very low and giving yourself a low-slung, go-karty driving position.
The instrument pack now has several distinct layers, with a speedo, for example, reflected onto a screen from beneath - a bit like on a head-up display, just in the usual instrument position. The idea is that, thanks to a projector and various mirrors, the instruments are actually further away from your eyes than regular dials, reducing the time you need to refocus from the road. Can’t say we noticed a difference, but it the customisable display is particularly attractive.
The mechanical layout is straightforward. CMP is a steel monocoque with MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. Combustion engines sit transversely in the front and drive the front wheels (ditto the electric motor on the BEV), and despite being a crossover, there’s no 4WD option. Such is the way of small crossovers/SUVs that you don’t even ask about four-wheel drive these days. That said, the 2008 is available with the firm’s novel Grip Control driver mode system that works in combination with all-season mud and snow tyres to give surprising off-road capability.
We spent most time in the GT powered by the 129bhp petrol with a six-speed manual (127g/km, 45.2-52.6mpg, 29% benefit-in-kind tax and £26,515), but also a little in the higher-powered 153bhp auto (140g/km, 41.7-46.6mpg, 32% BiK and only available in ‘GT Premium’ trim only, at £30,665). In either output, the 1.2-litre engine is a quiet thing, only making a muted thrum when you work it hard. Some of the TFT instrument cluster’s display options don’t include a rev counter but you hardly miss it, even with a manual, because the torque is broadly spread. Both transmissions are easygoing, the manual much more so than Peugeot's usual. Maybe that’s a result of experience gained from the relationship with Vauxhall/Opel, which traditionally delivers a better shift action to their cars and so have become the group’s manual-shift expert advisors. Now there’s only a little notch as the lever moves into each gear, and an easy action as it slots home. The eight-speed auto, meanwhile, is smooth and fuss-free.