What is it?
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 e-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, as tested here. 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 your powertrain - ‘thermal’ or, increasingly, electric - to suit you, which strikes me as a pragmatic long-term approach. We’ve only tested the combusted and electric versions separately because they’re still widely searched for separately online - I guess electrification’s work will be done when searches are powertrain agnostic and the EV will have truly entered the everyday motoring lexicon.
Meantime, the e-2008 is meant to feel much like an ICE 2008. Like all big car companies, Peugeot needs a mix of low- or zero-tailpipe-emission vehicles to meet legislated CO2 targets. Its current order bank, with electrified versions into double-figure percentages, suggests it’ll meet them comfortably.
The 134bhp electric version will make up a double-digit percentage of 2008 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”.
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.