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Driven: Facelift set to fix Peugeot 2008

Fresh start: Peugeot’s Australian distributor is expecting better sales from the facelifted 2008 compared to the original.

Peugeot’s 2008 small SUV pioneer finally specified and positioned for success

28 Feb 2017

PEUGEOT Australia says a better blend of of styling, specification, performance and positioning should finally ensure that the facelifted and streamlined 2017 Peugeot 2008 range captures the attention of crossover buyers.

The 2008 launched in October 2013 and has been a middling seller in the sub-$40,000 small-SUV segment, securing just 359 sales last year to be beaten by the likes of other Euro crossovers such as the Skoda Yeti (489), Fiat 500X (599) and Renault Captur (1563).

Meanwhile the big hitters in the segment, including the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, achieved sales of 18,334 and 12403 respectively in 2016.

Peugeot Australia general manager Kai Bruesewitz highlighted the issues with the original 2008 line-up at the launch of the updated version in Sydney last week.

“There was one weakness we have to admit – the drivetrain options,” he said.

“(The base 2008) was limited by a manual transmission only (while) the remainder of the range received a 1.6-litre petrol drivetrain paired to a four-speed automatic or a diesel with a five-speed manual, and this clearly limited the 2008 from sales success.

“So in a market dominated by petrol automatic drivetrains… we were on the fringe. Now we arrive in the mix with… an awarded engine and transmission… and the specification better reflects the buying habits of Australians.

“We’ve worked hard and closely with the factory to offer a great value package, and this is an important point for us.”

Mr Bruesewitz said he believed the 2008 should finally hit the sweet spot with Australian small-SUV buyers.

“I won’t commit to any volume aspirations,” he said. “But we think we have a strong package from a specification and price perspective, and we certainly don’t want to go backwards on volume.”

At $26,490 plus on-road costs, the 2008 opener now costs $4000 more to get into, although the entry-level Active 1.2T offsets the higher pricing with a complete powertrain overhaul that sees significantly more power and torque courtesy of a 1.2-litre turbo.

The sole engine choice in all iterations, it is mated to an all-new six-speed automatic transmission instead of the now-discontinued 1.2 naturally aspirated/five-speed manual gearbox combo.

Australian importer Sime Darby Motors Group says the Active 1.2T gains $2000 of additional gear compared to the $25,490 Active 1.6 non-turbo four-speed auto that was the previous best-seller.

These include the two extra forward transmission ratios, fuel-saving idle-stop technology, and a smartphone-interfacing touchscreen supporting Apple CarPlay and (in a few months time) Android Auto and integrated rearview camera (previously it was a mirror-mounted item). Parking sensors, folding door mirrors, and 16-inch alloy wheels are also now fitted. The mid-range Allure, priced from an unchanged $30,990, also ditches the 1.6/four-speed auto for the 1.2T engine, and adds AEB Autonomous Emergency Braking, automatic self-steered parking, an off-road traction-enhancing device dubbed ‘Grip Control’ (allowing it to amble through mud, sand, and snow) and 17-inch alloys to its standard armoury.

All the new features also find their way into the new GT-Line with 1.2T, which replaces the old slow-selling Outdoor 1.6 turbo-diesel manual at an identically priced $32,990. Importantly, the 2008 facelift also brings with it bolder front-end styling.

Peugeot’s research internationally found the outgoing version was too car-like and feminine even for small-SUV buyers.

To that end, the nose has been butched up with a waterfall-look grille featuring the corporate lion in the centre. Restyled headlights, a more bulbous bonnet, chunkier bumpers, ‘claw’ effect LED tail-lights, wheel arch extensions and roof bars complete the 2008’s masculine makeover.

Inside the changes are limited to the aforementioned updated touchscreen, as well as minor trim and material differences. Otherwise, the high-instruments/low wheel ‘i-Cockpit’ dash layout first seen in the 208 remains the same.

The most dramatic alteration is behind the grille. A Euro 6-rated engine, the 1.2-litre three-cylinder all-alloy petrol engine, as fitted to the related 208 supermini rather than the larger and more powerful 308 – delivers 81kW of power at 5500rpm and 205Nm of torque at 1500rpm. The 1.2T compares favourably to the 60kW/118Nm 1.2 and 88kW/160Nm 1.6 atmo petrol units it usurps.

Driving the front wheels solely through Peugeot’s EAT6 six-speed torque converter automatic transmission co-developed with Toyota, the 1305kg 2008 can hit 100km/h in 11.3 seconds (1.8s shy of the punchy 1.6), on the way to a 182km/h top speed. The combined average consumption (on premium 95 RON or higher) is actually 0.1 litres per 100km better than the 1.2 atmo at 4.8L/100km, for a 110g/km carbon dioxide emissions rating. The old 68kW/230Nm 1.6 turbo-diesel offered 4.0L/100km.

As before, it employs PSA’s B-segment P1 platform, with MacPherson-style struts up front and a torsion beam rear axle.

Key length (4159mm), width (1829mm), height (1556mm), and wheelbase (2538mm) measurements are unchanged, while ground clearance is 165mm. Disc brakes feature all round.

Cargo volume is still rated at 410 litres with the rear split/fold seats up and 917L when dropped. Towing capacity is 920kg.

Peugeot says a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with capped-price servicing will be offered for the first three months, though this is expected to continue as a permanent fixture.

Finally, as we mentioned last month, the old diesel-powered Outdoor variant has disappeared, mostly due to low uptake.

2017 Peugeot 2008 pricing*
Active (a)$26,490
Allure (a)$30,990
GT-Line (a)$32,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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