First drive: Peugeot’s new-generation 2008 will have you seeing double
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Peugeot 2008 GT
Never mind the test drive: with the all-new Peugeot 2008 SUV, you might start by just sitting still and staring at the instruments.
The 2008 is the first Peugeot to have three-dimensional-effect instruments, thanks to the company’s new “3D i-cockpit”.
The configurable 10-inch screen projects the instrument cluster “like a hologram” says Peugeot, with a variety of display modes. The most important information, including emergency notifications, are presented closer to the driver. The company claims it improves reaction times by around half a second.
The 2008 has just been launched in three variants: the entry Active at $33,990, mid-range Allure at $39,990 and the range-topping GT at $45,990. The 3D i-Cockpit is standard on the latter two.
All share a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. However, Active and Allure make 96kW and drive through a six-speed automatic transmission; the GT makes 114kW, has an eight-speed gearbox and actually achieves better fuel economy despite the higher output: 6.1l/100km versus 6.5l.
The eight-speeder also features something “electric impulse control”, which Peugeot claims makes gearchanges even smoother.
Wheel sizes step up for each variant: from 16-inch on the Active to 17in for the Allure and 18in for the GT.
All three variants have Driver Attention Alert, Forward Collision Warning and Active Emergency Braking as standard – with cyclist detection for the latter on the GT.
The GT has the full suite of driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise and the clever “lane positioning system” introduced on the larger 508, which doesn’t just wait until a wheel crosses the line to correct the steering – it actively keeps the car in the lane-position chosen by the driver when the system was activated.
Colour reversing camera and rear parking sensors are also standard, but the GT picks up front parking sensors.
The GT also boasts semi-automated parking and wireless mobile phone charging.
We spent a day in the 2008 GT to get a taste of what is the first of Peugeot’s new generation SUVs. No denying that $46k is a lot for a compact crossover, but the flagship still looks like the pick of the range when you consider the extra power and technology included. And it’s still competitive against the likes of Mazda’s new CX-30.
The three-pot engine is a fizzy delight, with good torque delivery low down but willingness to rev freely when required. Busy? Yes, a bit, but that’s part of the fun. You can say the same of the eight-speed gearbox, which has plenty to do but enjoys the work.
The 2008 is on a new platform that’s been configured not only for conventional petrol models, but also the forthcoming pure-electric e-2008 model (don’t expect to see that in New Zealand until at least 2021, though).
Those 18-inch alloys look the part, although they do result in a firmish ride around town. The 2008 is fun to punt along a Kiwi backroad, although there’s a bit of steering rack rattle in bumpy corners to remind you that this is a fun urban SUV, not an A-to-B blaster. All models are front-drive.
And those instruments? They’re genuinely novel… although if we’re being picky they’re not strictly 3D. Instead, there are simply two projection screens in the cluster, one closer than the other. Some stuff is shown on the back one, some on the front. And when a notification needs to come closer go move to the back, it simply shifts screens.
But simplicity is not a bad thing and it’s still a neat point of difference for a mainstream SUV that aspires to be a bit techy.
The quality of the cabin is a real standout. You have to get to grips with the i-Cockpit configuration of a tiny, low-set steering wheel and high-mounted instruments – but Peugeot’s been doing this since the previous 208/2008 and it’s sticking with it.
The cabin architecture is truly original and soft-touch surfaces abound. Mercedes-Benz style ambient lighting as well.
First impressions suggest this is a compact SUV that punches above its weight in terms of quality and character. And before we get to the jokes about flaky French cars, the distributor has enough confidence in the 2008 to give it a five-year warranty – a first for the brand in NZ.