Some good engines but driving manners disappoint
Smart interior but there are some serious ergonomic issues
Covers the basics well enough, but that's about it
Peugeot's reliability record is OK and the 2008 feels solid
Much roomier than a Nissan Juke, both for occupants and their luggage
Even entry-level versions are fairly well equipped
The 2008's compact size and light steering make it easy to manoeuvre round town, and if this is mostly where you'll be driving then the 1.2 petrol makes a perfectly decent - and affordable - choice, although it can be a bit noisy under acceleration. The 2008's vague clutch and imprecise steering make it hard to drive the car smoothly, however, and to make matters worse the 2008 judders and shakes over poor surfaces. It also leans over too much on faster bends, where the car's inconsistently weighted steering doesn't add any reassurance. The 1.6 diesel engines are pretty strong from low revs, and the more powerful one is impressively refined. There's also a particularly economical 1.4 diesel, but the 1.6 petrol is best avoided as it feels rather weedy unless you rev it hard, and could do with an extra gear for motorway driving, when it drones away loudly. It will be replaced next year by two versions of a new turbocharged 1.2-litre engine. Despite its beefy looks, the 2008 comes only with two-wheel-drive.
The cabin looks really smart, with lots of attractive, soft-touch materials and a touch-screen with sophisticated graphics. However, the touch-screen is fiddly to use on the move and there are no shortcut buttons to help you jump to the part of the menu you want. The driving position is higher than in the 208 supermini, which gives a good view ahead. However, the top of the steering wheel (which is unusually small, as in the 208) can block your view of the speedometer unless you sit very close to it or are tall enough to see over the top. On the plus side, the 2008 feels more spacious than, say, the Nissan Juke, and as long as the driver doesn't require too much legroom, two adults can ride comfortably in the back. A fifth occupant in the central rear seat won't be so happy, though; there's a large hump in the floor that they'll have to straddle, and the seat is so narrow that they may end up sitting partly on the adjacent seat-belt buckles. The 2008 also has a much bigger boot than the Juke, and its low sill makes it easy to load. If you need more space, the rear seats split 60/40 and fold completely flat at the pull of a single lever. There are Isofix points on the outer rear seats and these are very easy to access, which is helpful if you regularly swap your child's Isofix car seat between one car and another. The cheapest trim level, Access+, comes with air-con, cruise control, electric front windows and an aux-in socket but we still reckon it's worth upgrading to Active trim to get alloy wheels, a DAB radio and a stereo with more than two speakers. Allure spec adds rear electric windows, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, reversing sensors and an intelligent traction control system which allows you to vary the amount of torque depending on the road conditions. The range-topping Feline cars get a glass roof, sat nav and leather seats, among other things, but they're quite a lot more expensive.
It's too soon to say exactly how reliable the 2008 is but Peugeot finished a respectable 15th out of 38 manufacturers in our latest reliability survey. Safety equipment is good: every model is fitted with stability control as well as front, side and curtain airbags that that cover the rear windows too. Deadlocks and an immobiliser are standard, but only the top trim gets and alarm.
The Peugeot 2008 is more practical than a Nissan Juke and even its least economical engine, the 1.6 petrol, won't cost you too much in fuel, while the diesels are impressively frugal (even the semi-automatic 1.6). However, the 2008 isn't that good to drive or ride in, and there are some annoying ergonomic issues, and these may be compromises that you won't want to make.