Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Strong line-up of petrol and diesel engines
  • Manual or automatic gearboxes available
  • Not a weak powertrain in the range

The 2008 impresses on the road – all of Peugeot’s latest models have been excellent to drive and this is no exception. The 2008 strikes a nice balance between ride and handling (although top-spec models on larger wheels are a little crashy over bumps) and there’s a strong engine line-up without any obvious deficits.

There’s a choice of three petrol engines, a sole diesel and a pure-electric powertrain which we’ve covered in its own review here. Manual or automatic gearboxes are available, but four-wheel drive isn’t.

Petrol engines

The bulk of the engine range is similar to the 2008’s smaller 208 sibling. It does without that car’s basic 75hp engine, kicking off instead with a 100hp 1.2-litre engine. It’s paired to a six-speed manual gearbox only.

Honestly? It’s all you really need. The 100hp engine is quiet unless really stretched, and the addition of a sixth gear means it’s relaxed at higher speeds, too. The similarly powerful Renault Captur only gets a five-speed.

However, if you regularly travel out of the city or with passengers, you can have a 130hp version of the same 1.2-litre engine. Peugeot expects this to be the best-seller in the range when paired to the same six-speed manual gearbox. It’s as refined and pleasant to drive as the 100hp, but with a welcome extra slug of power – making motorway treks, overtaking manoeuvres and quick getaways easier.

The 130hp engine is also available with Peugeot’s eight-speed automatic gearbox, which we think is one of the finest self-shifters in the market. It’s quick to shift, rarely gets caught out in the wrong ratio and has an ultra-long top gear – meaning at motorway speeds, the engine’s barely ticking over at 2,000rpm. It’s only 0.2 seconds slower to 62mph, too, so you won’t really notice any difference.

This automatic gearbox comes as standard with the range-topping engine, which is a 155hp version of yet the same 1.2-litre petrol. As with the other choices, it’s perky, refined and nice to drive – but we think it’s overkill for this kind of car, and it’s only available on range-topping GT models, which are very expensive.

Diesel engines

There’s a sole 100hp diesel – a 1.5-litre BlueHDi unit that’s also used in the 208. It’s paired exclusively to the six-speed manual.

If you’re desperate for a diesel engine it’s not a dreadful choice, but we think the slight fuel economy penalty you’d get opting for the petrols is worth it as they’re just so much more pleasant to drive. The diesel is refined and punchy for its size, but unnecessary when the other options are so good.

Handling

  • Ride is firm on UK roads
  • Handles well with good body control
  • Steering feels over-light at times

Peugeot’s fitted its i-Cockpit dashboard to the 2008, endowing it with a tiny steering wheel that makes it feel quite darty at town speeds.

This does translate to some vagueness on faster roads, though it’s never a very big issue. A Volkswagen T-Cross is very slightly more stable on a long motorway cruise, albeit without the 2008’s agility.

The 2008 does have a satisfying chassis, though, and it’s one of the more pleasing small crossovers to drive. Most of the time it’s light and easy, but press on and you can have a bit of fun with good grip levels and plenty of control.

On UK roads, though, there’s a harsh edge to the ride that’s especially prevalent on higher-specification cars with their larger wheels. It’s never truly uncomfortable, but it’s not as soft and pliant as, say, a Skoda Kamiq.