Having expectations – whether with relationships, goals, be it even cars – can be tricky. It’s great when things fall into place, but when they don’t, it can be rather heartbreaking, disappointing and maybe even downright revolting for the lack of a better adjective – especially with the part on cars.
I’m not going to lie to you; I’ve been sitting on this review for a while and it did take a lot for me to buckle down and type my two cents out on this facelifted Peugeot 2008 1.2 PURETECH. It’s not that I dislike Peugeots or this particular 2008 – no, the truth is far from it.
I like all cars, whether they’re French or Chinese – with the only condition that they must be well-made and by that I’m not saying that it should be made of elephant tusks and crocodile skins. Even if it were a sub-RM100k vehicle, there needs to be evidence that things were given thought on – even if it wasn’t necessarily well executed.
On that front, I think it’s rather clear to see that there’s been thought given on the Peugeot’s crossover attributes; and it’s been rather well executed too. Compared to the pre-facelifted 2008, this one just looks a lot leaner – everything just seems to have been tightened up – befitting of its “facelift” calling.
If you look closely, you’d see that the edges on its LED headlamps have been sharpened; it’s got a new grille that makes it look way more imposing as compared to the “dual horizontal appearance” in the older 2008, to go with a bulgier forehead at the edge of the front bonnet without looking odd – like the once trendy flowerhorn fish. Oh, its front fog lamps swivel as you turn into a bend – always a nice touch.
It may just be plastic mouldings but you know what – I liked how they emphasised so much more on the 2008’s side profile compared to the glare of the chrome trims – highlighting the wheel arches and the door sills and drawing the eyes closer to those 17-inch wheels which I must say, is a real match with the car. If you’ve watch the Kingsmen movie, which by the way got worse with the sequel, you’d be familiar with the whole “Manners maketh man” phrase and I’ve always thought that the “Wheels maketh the car” and the wheels on the 2008 sure “maketh” it striking.
Some may not be in favour of it but I’m a big fan of how the roof takes an elevation from the B-pillar onwards with the signature roof rails on – sure gives the side profile more character and not without substance too as it does have an effect on the interior but we’ll get back to that later. Over at the back, again, those black, plastic mouldings which follows on to the tailgate of the 2008 makes it look stealthier, more subtle without losing a drop of its handsome aura. What really did it for the rear though had to be those LED taillights which demanded a more focused attention to the back end.
I’d give it a 7 out of 10 for how it looks on the outside but you see, that’s the thing with Peugeots – I would never ever disagree that they make relatively good looking cars, except the old 2010 3008 but often times, it ends there. As harsh as it sounds, I have to single the 3008 out as one of the most visually-revolting models from Peugeot I’ve seen on our roads. Now that they’ve aged and become irrelevant, I’m glad they’re less prominent on our roads – and certainly do not care where they’ve ended up. Hope I’m not the only to have that sentiment and it’s so pleasing that the new one is such an eye candy.
Getting back on track with the 2008, this is where it gets tricky in terms of impression. Yes, it has some blue lighting around the dials (which by the way can be switched off), with the same lighting running parallel with the panoramic roof, where together really makes the interior pop, especially at night fall. Elsewhere if I’m rather honest and I should be, lacks that French-styling factor. Unless of course, you consider the oval steering a standout feature – something I took lots of kilometres to get used to before finally accepting the oddly-shaped but rather functional steering wheel.
What stood out to my attention though was how comfortable and supportive those semi-leather and fabric semi-bucket seats were – on a high driving position with great all-round visibility and that rather mean sounding 6-speaker Arkamys 3D audio system which held up even when I went a little mad with the bass. And then there was what Peugeot called the “Aviation-style” handbrake – not sure what to think of it but I’d say this, I’d rather have my fist clenched on a conventional handbrake than operate an electronic parking unit.
Elsewhere, I found the 7-inch multifunction touchscreen rather easy and straightforward to use with handy information for parameters like the engine oil level easily obtainable through the display unit. Other than that, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity are standard, including automatic dual-zone air conditioning and cruise control. What I did not particularly fancy, and this might be me just nitpicking, was the curved air-con control panel with that glossy surface – it leaves just way too much fingerprints.
So far so good then – except for the plastic panels which I thought could’ve been given a different appearance, a different surface if you will, to make it look less “inexpensive”. The aluminium surface did offer a little saving grace though – providing, at least, a contrasting look to a slightly average interior. The seats at the back were a little upright if you asked me but no matter, given the space afforded (for the head, knees and foot), it makes sitting in the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V feel like you’re in a baby tub.
I did spot a little quirk that may or may not bother you – the rear headrests. When erected, they completely obstruct your line of sight on the rear view mirror. It’s not so much a design flaw if you ask me, but more of a minor inconvenience. Further at the back, as GC Mah could attest in his review video, offered plenty of usable room with over 350 litres of space with 1194 litres with all the seats folded down!
The driving bit well – well let’s just say was as exciting as a rocking chair. It doesn’t raise hairs but it was predictable without unsettling you. First off, its 1.2-litre turbocharged engine’s note – it was no Adele, it was no Pavarotti, it sounded like an old Proton on carburetors screaming up the rev range – safe to say, I wasn’t a fan but maybe I’m too fussy because it was only me in the office who didn’t enjoy it. What I did enjoy was the smoothness of the engine from the get-go and onwards to the mid-range aided by 110 hp and 205 Nm of torque from as low as 1,500 rpm. 0 to 100 km/h, if it matters to you, is done in around 10 seconds with a top speed of 190 km/h – tried and tested.
While I wouldn’t confer high praises for the 6-speed auto transmission with Quickshift Technology, it did its job without the jerking about and being confused as to what gears it had to employ. Although, moving up and down through the drive selector was a bit of a farce – why can’t the “P, R, N, D” and so on just be in a straight line, why? Every drive change was met with harshness and unrefinement – totally uncalled for if you asked me.
A pair of ventilated discs in the front and a solid pair at the back offered plenty of progressive and assuring brake performance – although, it was quite noticeable how the brake pedal was positioned much higher than the accelerator pedal – thought it was an inconvenience. It’s probably pointless to talk about the handling attributes of such a car, even more pointless to expect anything out of it but inheriting the underpinnings of the 208, I’d say it was rather predictable and poised when it was chucked about.
While the 2008 did not jolt me and my passengers around the backseat of the car, I thought it could’ve done better absorbing all the bumps left behind by incompetent roadworks men. At speeds, I’d say wind noise in the 2008’s cabin was present but not blaring in your face. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.6L/100 km (urban) although I’m not so sure about the 1,000 km range Peugeot claims it to be capable of – in the few days that I had it, I managed to clock over 500 km with just over a quarter tank to go – it’s perhaps more feasible for the 2008 to reach the 1000 km on one tank if it were on a long distance drive.
Safety wise, the 2008 can’t be faulted at all – as it comes with a 5-star Euro NCAP rating, 6 airbags, ABS, Electronic Stability Programme, Electronic Brake Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Anti-skid Regulation and the standard ISOFIX anchor points.
10 years ago, if you were to ask me whether I’d buy a Peugeot, I’d laughed so uncontrollably that I wouldn’t have been able to answer a simple “No”. But with the changes and improvements, in terms of usability, practicality and more importantly, the looks, it’s actually worth a second look. At RM 106k (on the road without insurance), it’s hard to deny, or at least avoid considering, don’t you think?