Just occasionally a car comes along that truly surprises. The Peugeot 2008 is just that. Even though it can only pretend to be a 4×4 with raised ground clearance, scuff plates and beefy looks, it has turned out to be a capable machine.
Crossover vehicles try to be all things to all people – which is what makes them so popular with family buyers. However, sometimes the good things get diluted in an attempt to tick all the boxes.
The 2008 has some faults, like the pointless light display integrated into the roof lining, an annoying handbrake design and a rather lifeless drive but overall, the good points far outweigh the bad.
Here is a small family estate that will easily achieve 68mpg in everyday driving, is cheap to tax, can carry five adults AND their bags, and still manages to look pretty stylish on the outside. For £17,245, our 1.6 diesel looks like a great buy.
I’m not a huge fan of electronic power steering because it just doesn’t have the same ‘feel’ as a conventional set up. You lose some of the feedback between the road and the steering wheel, which is so important in a lively little car like the 208 GTi.
What it does ensure in the 208 is that the car is refined and comfortable at low speed – before you blip the accelerator and unleash 200bhp of road-going entertainment.
Then the electric power steering does kill some of the enjoyment but not so much as to prove a major disappointment. It’s that fine balance between refinement and thrills that every designer of a hot hatchback must struggle with.
Make no mistake, Peugeot’s latest GTi is an absolute joy to drive on a winding A-road. It’s agile, nimble and very quick. However, lose the electronic power steering and it could be a legendary performer, just like the original 205 it reminds me so much of.
Jeremy 20-inch Vulcan wheels in gloss black – £550 each. That’s just the alloy wheel and doesn’t include the tyre. So you can imagine how irritated I was when I tried to go past a caravan on a roundabout near Chippenham tonight, then suddenly found myself being squeezed out by an oblivious woman at the helm.
I doubt I was travelling at more than 30mph but suddenly, the gap between the horrible caravan and the XKR-S became very tight! I crushed the brake peddle as the woman cut directly across the two lanes and ignored my presence. How noisy, bright and wide do you want a supercar to be madam?
It’s one of the perils of owning a supercar with low profile tyres. A curb stone might as well be a sharp knife, waiting to slash a gaping hole in your wallet and empty the contents on a regular basis. Tonight there was a slight squeal from the rear off-side rubber but a quick check revealed no damage. Phew!
On a lighter note, this weekend we have also managed to cram two twentysomethings in the back seats of the Jaguar. Unless you have friends who are very bendy and don’t suffer from a neck disorder, don’t ever try it yourself. The backseats of the XK are for very small children or a pet pooch only….