Peu­geot gets grip as 2008 shows it can take con­trol

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - ROAD TEST - Fred­eric Manby

PEU­GEOT’S model re­newal pro­gramme con­tin­ues with the 2008, a roomier ver­sion of last year’s 208 hatch. It is, ba­si­cally, an es­tate car with some erx­tra ground clear­ance – hence the com­pany’s so­bri­quet of “cross­over”.

It is taller and longer and the top two mod­els are equipped with Peu­geot’s Grip Con­trol sys­tem. In com­bi­na­tion with spe­cial tyres, this gives the front wheel drive car re­mark­able trac­tion on slip­pery sur­faces.

Sales be­gin in mid July, with a start price of £12,995 for the 82bhp 1.2 petrol in the Ac­ces+ trim. This is a well-equipped model with cruise con­trol and a speed lim­iter, air conditioning, roof bars – enough to feel ok. Why spend more?

Ex­pe­ri­ence with the 208 hatch sug­gests that buy­ers will spend more, maybe leapfrog the sec­ond rung Ac­tive grade and go up to Al­lure or Fe­line spec­i­fi­ca­tions. I know, the model names are a bit naff.

The cheap­est model with grip con­trol is the Al­lure with the 120bhp 1.6 petrol engine from £16,195.

The Al­lure is also avail­able with the 92bhp and 115bhp 1.6 diesel en­gines. All the Fe­line mod­els have Grip Con­trol and this in­cludes en­gines with the fu­el­sav­ing au­to­mated gear­box.

The Press prov­ing route was in Peu­geot’s English heart­land – where it once made cars. It took us to the Tam­worth Snow Dome where the ski slope had been hired to demon­strate the ad­van­tage of Grip Con­trol.

A ver­sion with­out GC made lit­tle progress be­fore spin­ning its wheels use­lessly. The Grip Con­trol car went up the slope with the panache of a 4x4. Equally im­pres­sive was it down­hill brak­ing on the snow.

It has to be said that a ma­jor fac­tor was the Goodyear Vec­tor Four Sea­son tyres. With GC switched off, it still went up the slope ad­e­quately. Hence, fit­ting th­ese spe­cial Goodyears to an Ac­cess or Ac­tive 2008 could at­tract the buyer on a smaller bud­get, still anx­ious for some ex­tra grip on snow or muddy grass.

Note, though, that with Grip Con­trol you can also dial up trac­tion set­tings for mud or sand. This beach mode al­lows the wheels to spin unchecked. Just be­ware of dig­ging your­self in.

Other 2008 high­lights in­clude a 74mpg diesel and a 65mpg petrol, both achiev­ing sub 100g/ km CO2 rat­ings for zero road tax and freedom of the Lon­don week­day con­ges­tion zone charges.

The 2008 is ex­pected to sell 9,000 a year in Bri­tain out of a world to­tal of 200,000, as Peu­geot moves to­wards 50 per cent of pro­duc­tion ex­ported. Its cur­rent big­gest ar­eas are France, China, UK, Al­ge­ria and Ar­gentina.

Com­pared with the 208, it is some eight inches longer and four inches taller, 70kg heav­ier and £850 more for sim­i­lar spec­i­fi­ca­tions. The econ­omy suf­fers slightly and there is cor­ner­ing roll ab­sent with the 208 but noth­ing you will no­tice af­ter a few days.

CROSS­OVER AP­PEAL: The Peu­geot 2008.

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