French flair: Peugeot 2008

WHAT IS IT?

Let me introduce the very best-looking compact SUV on the market: the Peugeot 2008. Hells bells, but this thing is gorgeous, and the looks aren’t the only string it has for its bow.

WHY THIS?

You know how people always tell their friends they’re beautiful inside and out, especially on Facebook? Well, this thing is exactly that! If you’re not won over by the figure, the face or the interior, have a look at the price – it’s actually reasonably affordable!

OUTSIDE

Nothing on the road looks quite like a Peugeot 2008, which is great. Despite being based on the 208 hatchback, the 2008 has its own distinctive look and character, and it is a winning one. It looks bigger than it actually is, which means great presence, and no one will mistake the 2008 for anything else on the road. LED ‘claws’ in the headlights and taillights mimic the rest of the car's aggressive stance and give a nod to the lion on the Peugeot badge. Choose one in a bold colour and you will have one of the most striking cars on the block.

INSIDE

Peugeot’s designers didn’t spend all their café noisette and croissant-derived energy designing the exterior of the 2008 only to crash onto the couch, spent and devoid of creativity. No, they carried on and designed an interior that will shine in their portfolios for years to come.

The small, flattened steering wheel imparts a feeling of sportiness to the drive, while the rest of the cabin is finished in soft-touch materials and metal trim. Meanwhile, the dual-screen ‘iCockpit’ adds some of that X-factor that we’re all looking for in our lives, as well as being functional and easy to use.

Compact SUVs are not big cars, but the 2008 uses what space it has so well that there is still a feeling of roominess, and four adults can easily fit into the comfortable seats. The boot, too, has 434 litres of usable space, but that does come at the cost of a full-size spare wheel, which has been replaced by a space-saver.  

THE DRIVE

Behind the wheel of a 2008 is a happy place of mine and proof that you don’t need to spend a million rand to feel like you have. A 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder engine is typical in a compact SUV these days, as are figures of 74kW/205Nm (Active manual model) and 96kW/230Nm (all other models). The 96kW engine is available only with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, while the 74kW comes only with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

The distinctive, attractive chortle of a 3-cylinder engine accompanies your drive, while performance is brisk in the 96kW versions. Peugeot has also managed to nail that elusive balance between good handling and comfortable ride quality, so kudos to them. Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.5L/100km.

FINAL WORD

The 2008 can be summed up as sophisticated. This is a car that you’ll definitely notice on the road, and if you actually sit in one, you will be blown away. It is a spectacular vehicle that you would love to own and drive, and that will put a smile on your face. So it’s understandable that it has garnered several major awards worldwide and is a finalist in South Africa’s Car of the Year competition.

GO GET IT

At R359,900 for the Active with the 75kW engine and manual gearbox, the 2008 is well priced. The GT sits at the top of the line-up, with a 96kW engine and an automatic gearbox. Priced at R479,900, for what you get, it is actually also good value. A 5-year/100,000km warranty and 3-year/60,000km service plan are included. Visit www.peugeot.co.za for more information.

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