After a long gestation period, we finally have the Peugeot 2008 here in our market. Exclusive importer and seller Eurobrands Distributor Inc. introduced the compact crossover tonight to members of the media. But of course, TopGear.com.ph had gotten first dibs on the vehicle before the official launch.
On the dirt roads of the scenic Pililla Wind Farm in Rizal, we were able to photograph and enjoy the 2008 for a few hours. It's a little smaller than the 3008 model that EDI has been selling since the company brought back Peugeot in our country. Fitting for a French nameplate, the 2008 is a stylish vehicle. Its headlights and taillights have interesting shapes that complement the body's smooth lines quite nicely. The tiny grille and the 'Peugeot' lettering under the hood remind us of the 2008's sporty sibling, the 208 GTi.
In the metal, the 2008 may look diminutive, but once you sit inside there's ample space for full-sized adults. The 208 similarities continue inside the cabin, with the crossover getting the raised gauges and the touchscreen controller. The steering wheel, we are pleased to note, is also small and stubby. Its compact size makes it easy and enjoyable to grip, and it incites spirited driving in whoever is behind the wheel.
If one were to give in to the temptation to have some fun with the 2008, it would definitely reward your enthusiasm. Its 120hp and 160Nm ratings may not sound like much, but the acceleration is decent and is matched with communicative steering. We do wish we had a better gearbox than the four-speed automatic we have here, but the shifts are smooth and seamless enough. And once you hit the powerband, the 2008 moves quickly and effortlessly.
On the uneven road surfaces in Pililla, the 2008's suspension revealed a pliant ride even under conditions that mimicked most Philippine roads. We could feel the wheels moving quickly within their suspension travel, but the cabin was still comfortable because of the good insulation. The 2008 was also well-balanced. We felt it slide a little when we drove over some trails, but the crossover transmitted what was going on and informed us of the loss of traction--without losing control of the car. Maybe this was Peugeot's rally DNA manifesting itself.
We do miss the French carmaker's spirited diesel engines, though. We imagine this chassis being more fun to toss around when it's motivated by that turbodiesel kick. But the 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline mill does nicely.
Beyond what's under the hood, the 2008 is also equipped with enough goodies. These include a panoramic glass roof, leather steering wheel with audio controls, six-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate system, cruise control, leather seats, seven-inch color touchscreen, and even an air-conditioned glove box!
Fit and finish are definitely European, and the seats are well bolstered yet comfortable. The 2008 should be great for road trips, as well as typical city driving.
All in all, a good new European crossover at P1,390,000.
Expect more in-depth articles from both our magazine and website soon. For now, watch our exclusive video and check out the photo gallery at the bottom.
Photos by Mark Jesalva
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