It’s the compact SUV brother to the 208 – but should you get this instead?

The Peugeot 2008 was not released in 2008 as some have suggested… er… the ‘00’ is part of Peugeot’s SUV taxonomy. Apply logic and it follows that the 2008 is the SUV companion to the 208 hatchback range. Not that it’s obvious from the looks. The SUV is a taller, more upright and bluff design, that nonetheless retains Peugeot’s family styling cues including the distinctive and aggressive face that sports either fangs (as I see them) or claws (as the manufacturer presumably would like you to perceive).

Neat touches persist along the rest of the car, culminating in subtle strakes swiped into the c-pillar and the up-close intricately detailed crystalline treatment of the taillights. A delight to behold, it brings extra joy to those Sunday morning car wash sessions.

Move into the front cockpit though and the 208 DNA gathers stark steam as the only giveaway that you’re not sitting in the hatchback is that you’re perched a little higher, more upright, and for someone with my 6ft 2in frame and lanky legs, with slightly less manspreading as you seek to counter the intrusion of the rectangular helm within your lap.

Yes the 2008 carries over the unique notion of having a flat-bottomed and flat-topped steering wheel (‘handle’ as it’s not longer really a wheel shape?) that intends for you to look over the top to observes that space-age and extraordinary 3D holographic-style digital display, multi-configurable, and capable of holding your, and your passengers’ fascination for endless hours.

The steering arrangement works better – or at least it feels as if it does for the gangly limbed among us – in the SUVs. But the soft-touch carbon-effect trim, the supercar slaying interior sweeping dash, the touch-sensitive buttons the toggle switches and the overall ambiance equals, if not beats, the 208’s deal-clinching cabin.

What’s more this latest generation of Peugeots feel less rattly, sound less squeaky, threaten less fragility and appear to promise more durability than any of their predecessors. Move into the back and the quality feel continues with the sweet trim on this GT Line PureTech level car, complete with the neat reading lights that operate by just gliding your finger across them – that’s luxury car level right there.

Space for passengers is more generous and comfortable than in the 208 which would be fine for regular sized adults over the short journeys, while the 2008 will keep four of me happy over a reasonable distance, especially as we can all plug in our USB cables and the good glass area avoids any claustrophobia.

Our luggage will all easily fit in the cargo area too with its adjustable floor for increased room and generous load capacity despite the space-saver residing in the bottom. Spring hooks hold the faux floor up for loading should you want to hide stuff beneath it – it’s all very well thought out.

Let’s give this car it’s full name now – it’s the 2008 GT Line 1.2l PureTech 130 S&S. Apart from the high spec of this particular car, it also confirms that this is the 132bhp edition of the 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine, rather than the 101bhp version in the 208 I tried – that too with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Oddly this SUV arrived with the 6-speed manual – though I would have preferred the 208 to have that and vice versa for reasons that will become apparent shortly. Not that there is anything wrong with the manual – it has the typically French car slightly rubbery and springy feel. There is a little notchiness, but overall it slips in and out of ratios easily and with assurance. The clutch could do with a more bitey biting point, but is light and friendly enough.

Which is true for the driving experience in general – a little less rewarding than the 208 maybe, but more comfortable, long-legged, economical (despite more power), competent and agile, easily managed around town and, best of all, with a superb well-damped ride that easily dismisses Northwest London’s tarmac tribulations.

While the 208 actively encourage a heavy foot and plenty of snapping the car in and out of corners and gaps, the 2008 is certainly a little more grown-up, while retaining a little playfulness and certainly sufficient performance with 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and a terminal velocity of 122mph – in the real world it feels plenty quick enough. Fuel consumption is quoted as up to 50mpg and CO2 emissions is 132g/km.

Prices start from £20k for the base 101bhp edition, rising to over £32k for the 155bhp GT version. There’s also a 102bhp diesel and a full electric 136bhp version. The car tested has an on-the-road price of £26k – hitting £28k with options such active cruise control, huge glass roof and park assist.

The Peugeot 208 and 2008 are both brilliant cars, sitting perfectly in their segments but adding much-needed style and panache not usually found in rivals. Price and practicality is very reasonable – so which should you get? Simple. Don’t carry passengers often and love driving? Get the 208. Got a fam and cover longer distances? It’s the 2008 for you. Rest assured, neither will leave you disappointed though.

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