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PEUGEOT 2008: THE ENIGMATIC 2008

Let’s try and set things off on the right foot here, it’s pronounced ““per-zhow”; at least that’s as close as we could get. The often-mispronounced French automobile brand has been a sort of enigma in the Nepalese market. Most people know that it’s a European brand that has an unorthodox style, but that’s about it. Previously distributed by Kishore Gears Pvt. Ltd, the duties have now been undertaken by Shangrila Motors Pvt. Ltd., which is where we found ourselves stepping into the Peugeot 2008. It’s only the second time we have had the chance to get behind the wheels of the Peugeot and this gave us a chance to unravel the enigma of the French brand.

This compact SUV partakes in one of the most competitive segments in the auto industry, one that has seen a lot of new entrants in recent years. The Peugeot 2008 will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Kia Soul, Ford Eco Sport, Suzuki Vitara and the Hyundai Creta. Clearly, competition is tough. Here, we find out what it has to offer and how it stacks up to competition.

EXTERIOR

The styling of Peugeot has been a hit or miss in our opinion. Better put, it’s a love it or hate it affair. Previously, we tested the Peugeot RCZ and that was a proper cracker. Low slung and designed with plenty of curves it fit the bill as the closest thing to a sports car in Nepal. In our opinion, the Peugeot 2008 has also hit the nail on the head in terms of style and design.

What grabs your attention right from the get go is the black chrome grille that houses an embossed  pendant design that surrounds the central Peugeot lion badge. Flanking the vertically integrated radiator grille are two-tone black and chrome headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights. Projector lights are installed as well onto the bumper.

The profile is pretty much simple. It features a black cladding through the bases and underbody with diamond cut 16’’ Aquila Alloy Wheels. Silver roof rails accentuate the sporty design of the compact SUV. Move onto the rear and you’ll see the tailgate is framed by full LED rear light clusters with a 3D ‘claw’ design. This trademark design has become an integral part of Peugeot’s style identity.

INTERIOR

Step into the compact SUV and it is an exquisite affair with the finest finish. The ergonomics are designed to enhance your focus and attention on the road and provide better safety. You do get a tall driving position but the steering wheel was a little too small for our liking. However, this is a purposeful design function where the steering wheel sits lower than a traditional design and means that your arms are both lower and closer together. This not only reduces driver fatigue but offers more precise steering and improved maneuverability. Maybe it’s a European thing and we’re too mediocre to appreciate it, but we do prefer a little chunkiness to the steering wheel, regardless of safety and lack of fatigue.

Keeping the safety of the driver and passengers in mind, the head-up instrument panel allows driver information to be viewed above, rather than through, the steering wheel and is therefore accessed without taking your eyes off the road.

There is plenty of glass for light to come into the cabin. If you need an added bit of freedom, you can choose to unveil the panoramic moon-roof for a few of the clear blue sky. Chic and innovative, the head-up instrument panel features LED dial surrounds which come on automatically as soon as the side lights are switched on.

In terms of space, we could have done with a little more head room for tall drivers but overall the Peugeot 2008 provides decent space. You can fit five people easily for a nice drive. The boot has a low loading height of 60cm and the 1/3-2/3 modular rear seats allow you to convert the boot volume from 410 litres to 1400 litres. Pressing the button at the top of the backrest is enough to tilt the back allowing the seats to fold down automatically into a completely flat floor.

PERFORMANCE

European cars have been known to provide exquisite driving experiences, and the Peugeot 2008 does plenty to uphold the claim. Although we have complained about the steering wheel being too small, we cannot deny the fact that it did help with the fatigue. We had the compact SUV for the entire day but we did not feel tasked at all.

Powered by a 1.2 litre PureTech petrol engine, the 2008 performed splendidly on the Nepali roads. This 3-cylinder petrol engine technology delivers energetic drive and performance, excellent fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. It’s the result of intelligent, innovative engineering, which combines reduced weight materials with the efficiency of direct fuel injection so you get more performance for less displacement. You get to choose to switch off the eco mode or switch onto sports mode, which makes a lot of difference.

Eco mode is generally good and you’re not left struggling for power too desperately; for in city driving it does the job. But the sports mode is just incredible. For a 1.2 litre mill it produces incredible punch. Producing 110 bhp, the Peugeot 2008 also proves to be a capable highway cruiser.

Furthermore, the driving experience is sublime. Gear shifts are smooth thanks to the 6-speed petrol automatic gearbox which uses quickshift technology allowing for faster gear changes. This helps in putting a smile across your face as you drive.

Suspension, although responsive, gets a little nervy when tackling larger potholes. However, it provides for a tremendous ride quality.  All versions of the 2008 SUV have a high level of active safety and are equipped with ESP (Electronic Stability Control) as standard. This comprises Traction Control (ASR), Stability Control (CDS), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Anti-wheel lock braking system (ABS) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBFD). The 2008 SUV has an ultra-light body structure designed to absorb as much energy as possible from any impact. This minimizes the consequences for passengers, pedestrians and vehicles. As well as enhancing safety, this robust yet lightweight structure gives you livelier handling, optimized fuel consumption and greater driving pleasure.

What’s more, the 2008 SUV includes six airbags as standard. There are two front airbags to protect the head and thorax of the driver and front passenger in the event of a frontal impact, two front side airbags to protect the driver and front passenger in the event of a side impact, and two front and rear curtain airbags to protect the heads of the front and rear occupants.

VERDICT

Peugeot has been a long-standing brand in Nepal, although not as prolific in numbers the name has been well respected. Although this was only our second go on Peugeot it cemented our impression of the French carmakers. The 2008 SUV scores high marks on style, comfort, equipment and safety; however, it is far from a bargain. All this style, comfort and class come at a price, but if you can break open your piggy bank for it you will be well awarded.

 

 

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