The remaining 85%, then, will be powered by petrol or diesel engines, with the former accounting for the lion’s share. And of those cars, it’s this particular 2008 is expected to be the best-seller. It’s the second-to-top GT Line model, equipped with a 129bhp three-pot motor that drives the front wheels via a six-speed manual ‘box. It’ll set you back £26,100, which is in the same ballpark as a similarly well-specced, 148bhp Volkswagen T-Roc SEL, but quite a bit more than a top-flight Nissan Juke - both of which fall into the ever-expanding B-SUV segment.
What's it like?
While I’d stop just short of calling its handling enthusiastic, the 2008 nonetheless changes direction with a likeable amount of energy. Its steering is predictable in the way it responds, weighting up in a natural fashion as you add on lock and pitch the car into bends. Grip is fine provided you aren’t a brute, and body control ok - though it stands that this isn’t a car that screams out to be driven hard and fast.
At everyday speeds, there is perhaps a slight edge to its ride, but for the most part it deals with Britain’s roads with reasonable confidence. It can feel a bit brittle and lively over particularly cratered surfaces, but such is to be expected from a tall-sided compact SUV with a torsion beam rear suspension. On the motorway, there’s more than enough pliancy for comfortable progress to be made, and you’re reasonably well insulated against tyre roar and wind noise. In any case, for rolling refinement the 2008 is leagues ahead of its DS 3 Crossback platform-mate, which seems intent on banging and slapping its way across every surface imperfection its baggy-feeling chassis seems to encounter.
Meanwhile, the 1.2-litre three-pot is a willing work horse whose 170lb ft endows the 2008 with enough muscle so as to make it a very, very easy car to drive. It’s also a very quiet one - even as you approach the limiter on a wide open throttle the most you can hear is a distant buzzing coming from the engine bay. The clutch is weighted nicely and the manual gearbox is accurate, if a little long in the throw; but the brakes can be a bit too grabby at the top of the pedal’s travel.
I think it looks great, too. You’ve got to respect Peugeot for having a proper go at making the 2008 standout in a market that’s largely populated by cars that often tend to look the same. And even if you’re not a fan of its smiling grille or fang-like running lights, you have to admit it’s a marked improvement over the rather bulbous, awkward looking first-generation model.
The same is true of the cabin. In fact, in terms of pure style appeal I’d go as far as to say that the 2008’s interior is the best on the market. Sure, all the glossy black panelling might attract a few grubby fingerprints; but together with the contrasting green stitching, tasteful ambient lighting, and heavily sculpted dash architecture, it all ties together to create an environment that looks and feels not just convincingly, but pleasingly modern.