Motoring | Motoring News
Jaco Van Der Merwe
If ever a carmaker needed an ambassador at just the right time, it’s Peugeot with the all-new 2008. Peugeot Citroën South Africa (PCSA) started a local French Renaissance in 2019 by reviving the Citroën brand after a four-year local hiatus, also vowing to clean up its act which has seen it become renowned for poor after-sales backup and resale value.
It rolled out three impressive Citroën models and the enticing Peugeot 5008 to spearhead its comeback, but just as the revolution was building momentum, 2020 happened. The group was not spared the industry trend of a knock in sales, but it nonetheless still managed to grow its market share, see 11 new dealerships open and the introduction of a new parts warehouse. But the launch of the product expected to help further lure the crowds back, the 2008, had to be postponed to 2021.
When it finally did happen last week, the brand was incidentally in a stronger position than ever before following the recent international merger of Groupe PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles under the Stellantis umbrella. As the world’s fourth largest automobile manufacturer, Peugeot is one of 14 brands in its stable.
PCSA has high hopes for the latest reincarnation of its smallest SUV, the 2008. And if they can manage to win over potential buyers’ trust by convincing them that their newfound aftersales promise is as solid as the car itself, there is no reason they can’t sell the predicted 80 new units a month.
In a nutshell, the new 2008 is a brilliant offering. It’s got strikingly good looks, heaps of style, a gem of a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, loads of technology and offers superb ride quality. All of this at a very competitive price too which is vitally important in a rapidly expanding segment.
The 2008 is offered in three trim levels. The base specced Active is available with both manual and automatic transmission, with the mid-range Allure and flagship GT offered only in auto guise. Only one engine option is offered across the range, the three-cylinder 1.2 turbo petrol powerplant. Mated to the six-speed manual transmission, it sends 74kW/205Nm to the front wheels, while in six-speed automatic guise it delivers 96kW/230Nm. Peugeot claims combined fuel consumption of 6.4L/100 km in the manual derivative and 6.5L/100 km in auto guise.
One of the car’s standout features is the i-Cockpit 3D instrument cluster, which makes its debut in the 2008 and according to Peugeot is a world first in the segment. The i-Cockpit utilises a smaller steering wheel over which the driver looks at the seven-inch instrument cluster as much less of an angle than the case with looking through the steering wheel at a traditional instrument cluster, eliminating the need for a Head-Up display projected on the windscreen. The 3D upgrade sees certain numbers, depending on which profile is selected, being display three dimensionally like a hologram.
Other highlights inside the cabin include ten-inch touchscreen featuring smartphone compatibility and real-time navigation, voice command activation, frameless electrochromatic mirror, smartphone storage area with wireless charging, heated front seats, eight-colour ambient lightning, carbon inserts on the door and dash panels and the use of leather on soft touch panels. Space in the rear has been increased by 58 mm over its predecessor, while the 2008 offers a very generous 434-litres of boot space.
A comprehensive list of safety features include ABS with EBD, ESP with Hill Start Assist, plus driver and passenger airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags. In GT spec, additional safety equipment included are active lane keeping assist and driver attention alert.
From the front, the 2008 is instantly recognisable by its bold grille flanked by LED headlights featuring three-claw signature with “sabre tooth” DRL lights underneath. The sides are sculpted for better aerodynamics and also feature black protected wheel arches, while there is a body-coloured spoiler at the rear with the “claw” design also featuring on the taillights. In GT guise, the 2008 also features a Diamond Black roof and rear spoiler plus 18-inch alloy wheels.
Although it was planned to showcase the 2008’s abilities on a nice little stretch of gravel road during our launch drive, the downpours in Limpopo meant that a fair bit of that road outside Modimolle became an unexpected mud slide. But the 2008 graciously accepted the challenge and came through with flying colours, proving to be as comfortable over mud and gravel as it is on the tarmac despite the absence of four-wheel-drive.
If this car doesn’t do the trick for Peugeot, they’ll have to reinvent the wheel.
Active 1.2T – R359 900
Active 1.2T AT – R399 900
Allure 1.2T AT – R429 900
GT 1.2T AT – R479 900
All models include a three-year/60 000km service plan and five-year warranty.
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