So what has this updated model have to offer? I’m not sure why but South Africans don’t seem to like cars made in other parts of Europe besides those from Germany. The 2008 is a classic case-in point. Hardly any of them are visible on our roads, yet 760 000 have been sold globally since 2013. Could it be the looks?
This new model, from a visual perspective, benefits from a new grille similar to that of 308, new bonnet, headlights with chrome surrounds, black under-bumper scuff plates, new LED taillights, roof rails and an integrated roof spoiler. I must say that after noticing the changes and some of the design details, I rather liked the styling. It’s by no means intimidating but it does attract your eye.
So to answer the question about the looks, I don’t think that is the issue because it’s by no means ugly. Maybe it’s the interior? As per Peugeot’s current trend, the 2008 gets the Lion brand’s latest i-Cockpit interior layout, with pride of place being a new seven-inch touchscreen display incorporating Bluetooth, USB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In addition, the instrument cluster also featured a nice blue LED background colouring strip around the edges. I found the quality to be admirable and the cabin neatly laid out.
Cargo capacity is a claimed 410-litres or 1 400-litres with the rear seats folded down, while some niceties on the model I tested consisted of electric windows, folding electric mirrors, daytime running LEDs, cruise control, cooled glovebox, rear parking sensors, six airbags, ABS with EBD and ESP, and a six-speaker sound system.
So again, I don’t think it’s the interior that’s putting buyers off. It must be the engine then. My test unit was fitted with a 1.6-litre HDI turbodiesel motor which is good for 68kW/230Nm, with drive, going to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.
Ok, I will admit that a sixth ratio would have been better, especially on the highway, but the 2008 didn’t feel underpowered at all. Peugeot claims a combined fuel consumption of 4.0-litres/100 km, but I managed 5.8-litres/100km. That said, I still don’t think the engine is the problem.
To be honest, I really don’t know why we don’t see more Peugeots on our roads. The cars are actually really good and feature so much standard equipment as well as premium quality levels. They are also not as expensive as their German counterparts, the model I drove was only R299900. I think it comes down to the badge.
South Africans are extremely image conscious and a German badge does hold more street cred than others. However, Renault seems to be doing well, having effectively changed the entire badge perception, so could it be a marketing thing? I tend to think so because after spending a good few days with the 2008, it certainly deserves to sell in greater numbers.