Compact 2008 could help you get a grip this winter
CONSIDER for a moment one Tuesday evening in December 2009 when a car journey from Henley
CONSIDER for a moment one Tuesday evening in December 2009 when a car journey from Henley to Caversham took a matter of hours and not minutes. That is, if you were lucky enough to get through. A snowfall that began in the early afternoon turned into a mega-storm not seen in southern England for years.
Motorists, as I recall, left work early in Henley in the hope of getting home. Yet many ground to a halt in deadlocked, snowbound queues. Many even abandoned their cars and walked.
The question is: if you had been driving a 4x4 would that have helped? Well, probably not much on that snowbound Tuesday night because other trapped vehicles held everyone up that was following behind.
The overriding problem was that very few cars could get traction in the blizzard.
Now we have no way of knowing what the winter of 2016-17 holds in store for us as motorists. We can go prepared by doing the usual commonsense checks on our cars with regard to tyres, battery, and general mechanics — plus of course by carrying the obligatory can of de-icer. But I know at least one motorist who suffered in the epic snowstorm of 2009 (and subsequent ones in early 2010) who went out and bought an estate with all-wheel drive.
So in anticipation of what might happen this winter you could consider this week’s drive — the Peugeot 2008 GT Line.
This car has something called Grip Control — which is available on both the petrol and diesel versions of the 2008. Grip control technology in the car combines with 17in alloy wheels and special tyres for what Peugeot calls “genuine versatility in all seasons and weather conditions”.
I was able to test Grip Control on the 2008 earlier this year when Peugeot brought the car to a launch in the Cotswolds.
We drove over muddy fields and a special sand “pit” to find out for ourselves whether this system worked.
I have to say it was reassuring to know that at the very least as a motorist you were being given some extra help if road conditions turned dicey. And let’s face it, with our fickle climate this can happen at practically any time during summer or winter.
There is much more going on than merely traction technology with this new 2008 Compact SUV, which was initially launched in 2013 and restyled this year.
Peugeot gives quite an interesting breakdown of how the 2008 has fared in UK sales in the interim.
Total UK sales of the 2008 between 2013 and 2015 were 40,058 — with a total of 18,847 being sold in 2015 alone.
The most popular diesel model was the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100 and the most popular petrol model the 1.2-litre PureTech 82.
With petrol making a bit of a comeback — and diesel in the doghouse in Europe for its questionable “cleanness” — the test car this time was a petrol-driven 1.2 PureTech.
Aside from its reassuring ability to get to grips with bad weather and dodgy road conditions, I liked the new styling of this GT Line version.
It was smart, compact and comfortable without being at all ostentatious. This car was good-looking without flaunting its looks in any way. Inside, its Cielo panoramic glass roof was a treat for letting in lots of daylight. When the sun shone too fiercely an electric blind calmed any hot presence in the cab. And at night the glass roof’s ambient lighting gave the cabin a touch of sophistication not normally associated with smaller, more compact vehicles.
For two people — though there is room for five — this to me is an ideal-sized car. Good boot space, estate car versatility with a secure comfort zone for everyone on the inside.
The 1.2-litre petrol engine was not wanting either. I still think I prefer a diesel engine in this kind of vehicle. To my mind a diesel engine seems to fit glove-like with the whole 4x4, all-wheel drive, SUV philosophy.
But I liked the willingness of the petrol-engined version of the 2008 and definitely liked the looks of this GT Line model.
Peugeot says the new GT Line trim “adds a sporty and chic theme” to this car.
The French carmaker is consciously moving up market across its model range and I found the 2008 shows promising evidence of this strategy.
And its Grip Control feature just might get you out of trouble this winter.
Peugeot 2008 GT Line 1.2 PureTech
• Retail price: £19,570
• Colour: Pearl White with Mistral ambience
• Options fitted at extra cost: Pearlescent Paint, £645, Active City Brake, £250, Connect SOS and Assistance, £250
• Engine: three-cylinder petrol, 1,199cc
• 0-62mph: 9.3 secs
• Max speed: 124mph
• Economy: 58.9mpg (combined cycle)
• In-car entertainment satnav (including five years’ European Â mapping updates)
• Exterior features include: 17in Eridan Â Brilliant Black alloy wheels