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Crossing the urban divide
Published 12/05/14

IT is the mark of any good car that its uptake by the buying public is swift. Word of mouth, as well as reviews by the motoring press, counts for much when it comes to any new model’s success.

Indeed, when word gets around that a particular car is a good one and gives motorists what they want, buyers start to get in line.So when it was reported that the Peugeot 2008 had broken through a manufacturing milestone of 100,000 units in 12 months — a sure sign of a new model’s acccomplished arrival — I thought it a good opportunity to re-appraise this car.

Peugeot is over the moon about the success of its so-called urban crossover and has some solid facts to back up its enthusiastic response: more than 5,000 2008s have already sold in the UK — demand, says the French carmaker, that is “35 per cent above target”. In fact, 68 per cent of sales are for the two highest trim levels, Allure and Feline. A “strong January” when sales of just about anything are tough meant dealers were “on target to sell 18,000 this year”.

So far so good. But what is the particular attraction of this car? I found when I took the 2008 to France in 2013 just after it went on sale in Britain that its biggest asset was that it has all-round appeal: big load space, balanced engine power, roomy interior and comfortable seats.

Driving the Peugeot 2008 Allure 1.6 e-HDi 115 this week I realised it is the actual scale of this car that appeals to me most. It has bigger brothers (or sisters) in the Peugeot model range but the 2008 from its very compactness scores highly with prospective buyers.

It can be good for younger couples with children as well as older drivers who want occasionally to carry other passengers and luggage but also enjoy travelling with lots of room to themselves as we did last year in the 2008 in France.

In this context it is not difficult to see why the take-up on the 2008 has been swift.

I also think that some other car makers could learn from this experience. An urban crossover may appear to be a fancy name but it sort of gets the job done.

Saloon cars are generally old hat, hatchbacks are often just that bit too small, super minis are all well and good in their place but at some time or another drivers find they need that extra room, either for passengers they would not normally carry or the odd load that would not be possible to accommodate in a “normal” car.

Peugeot has proved with the 2008 that innovation should not be just an empty word that is bandied about by research and development departments.

Car buyers are not fools: they are aspirational, of course, and they want their car to be stylish.

But they do appreciate as well that a manufacturer listens to them and gives them what they desire.

In place here in the 2008 is a cracking 1.6 diesel engine that, coupled in the test car with a six-speed manual gearbox, claims fuel consumption of 70.6mpg on the combined cycle.

It is versatile: it will happily cruise the motorways all day but also has something called Grip Control.

This adapts the car to any terrain. Standard mode is located using a dial on the centre console, with options for snow, sand and off-roading. I think for a lot of people the 2008 fits the bill and the milestone of 100,000 units having been reached is proof positive that good design in life — but especially in cars — pays dividends.

Meanwhile as a footnote to the continuing success of the 2008, Peugeot has just announced a rather mean looking machine that rather destroys the argument that these new crossover style cars such as the 2008 do not mean business off-road.

The muscular, beastlike form of the new Peugeot 2008 DKR will defend the colours of Team Peugeot Total in next January’s famously tough Dakar Rally.

The 2008 DKR shares an unmistakable family resemblance with Peugeot’s road-going crossover, albeit with a lot more muscle.

However, as with all these racing and rally types, what’s under the bonnet remains for now a secret.

Peugeot 2008: range price from 12,995

• Test car: 2008 Allure 1.6 e-HDi 115

• On the road price: 18,045

• Colour: Pearl White with Oxford Black Premium Trim

Options fitted include:

• Pearlescent Paint — 645

• Alloy Wheels Upgrade in Brilliant Black — 300

• Cielo Panoramic Glass Roof — 400

• SatNav with 2nd USB Socket — 400

• Maximum speed 117mph

• 0 to 62mph in 10.4 seconds

• Fuel consumption —70.6mpg on the combined cycle

Published 12/05/14

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