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

Petrol engines

The bulk of the engine range is similar to the 2008’s smaller 208 sibling. It kicks off with a 100hp 1.2-litre PureTech engine, which is paired to a six-speed manual gearbox only. In reality it’s all you really need. The 100hp engine is quiet unless really stretched, and the presence of a sixth gear means it’s relaxed at higher speeds.

However, if you regularly travel out of the city or with passengers, the 130hp version of the 1.2 PureTech makes up the bulk of the range. It too comes with a six-speed manual, and it’s as refined and pleasant to drive as the 100hp, but with a welcome extra slug of power.

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 in the wrong ratio and has an ultra-long top gear – so at motorway speeds the engine’s barely ticking over at 2,000rpm. It’s only 0.2 seconds slower to 62mph than the manual model, 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 the same 1.2-litre PureTech 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 in range-topping GT Premium trim, which is very expensive.

Diesel engines

There’s a sole 110hp diesel – a 1.5-litre BlueHDi unit that’s also used in the 208. It’s paired exclusively to the six-speed manual gearbox.

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, because 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.

What’s it like to drive?

  • 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. 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.