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New Peugeot 2008 - Compact FWD Crossover with all terrain capability By Brian Foley

The Peugeot 2008 is the latest in a new line up of compact SUVs, a Crossover based on the 208 hatchback with all the advantages of extra height for a command driving position, the sure-footed roadholding of the 208 plus the very effective Grip Control which endows this front-wheel-drive vehicle with the traction of a 4-wheel-drive system in difficult off-road conditions as well as maintaining safe forward mobilkity in snow, ice and wet roads. The stylish and spacious 2008 is a very practical alternative to the conventional small to mediium family car, and is due to go on sale shortly at 'very competitive' prices.

At just 4.16 metres long, the 2008 is a tidy size for town and country driving, easy to park - especially with the optional Park Assist, and with a big car feeling of safety and stability on the open road. There is generous space for up to three rear seat passengers

The 2008 features matt-finished alloy wheels, black bumpers and body sills, stainless steel front and rear scuff-plates, chromed side mouldings and roof bars. The car’s practicality and versatility. At the rear, the wide tailgate and low loading lip, just 60cm off the ground, means exceptional ease of loading and unloading.

A wide range of accessories includes a range of alloy wheels, body sills, roof bars, decals in various colours, mirror casings, rear door decoration, vents, centre console, instrument panel visor and wheel centres and a towbar, which can be removed without tools. The 2008 is also available with Peugeot Connect Apps, to include traffic and parking information, tourist info. and weather updates.

The interior of the Peugeot 2008 provides passengers with a spacious and flexible cabin, a cockpit-style instrument panel and an aircraft-type handbrake. A satin chrome finish to the air vents, handbrake lever, steering wheel, gear lever and touch-screen trims adds to the level of luxury and creates a premium feel.

The boot is exceptionally spacious considering the car’s compact dimensions. The floor comes with five recessed rails which run from the sill to the front seat backs. Six chromed hooks allow items to be secured safely. There is a storage area on each side, with a retaining strap and net. Folding the 60:40 split rear seats boosts storage volume from 360 to 1,194 litres, (22 litres under the floor). One press of the button at the top of the rear seat back is all it takes to fold the seat, as the base cushion retracts automatically.

Safety on the 2008 is at the highest level. Cruise control with speed limiter is standard on all versions, as are six airbags, ESP with Anti-Skid Regulation (ASR), Stability Control, Emergency Braking Assistance (EBA) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBFD). Isofix mountings for child seats are found in the rear.

The Park Assist system takes all the hassle of parking. The dtriver takes his or her hands off the steering wheel, the ultrasound measures an empty parking space and steering is then controlled by the vehicle to position the vehicle perfectly. Not just simple - but simply ingenius.

First drives in a number of models in the Alcase region of France highlighted the precise handling, roadholding and ride comfort of the 2008 in mixed road and weather conditions, from twisy mountain roads in the rain to relaxed motorway driving in dry conditions. For mostly urban driving the 1.2 litre petrol is perfectly adequate, the 1.4 litre diesel is a good all rounder with the 1.6 litre diesel the best choice for the long distance driver. It all comes down to a combination of price and horses for courses.

Most impressive of all the 2008's excellent characteristics is undoubtedly the Grip Control which optimises traction in low-grip conditions, adapting to the terrain by acting on the front wheels and using the electronic components already present on the vehicle. The driver remains in control and can decide at any time to move from Standard mode using the dial located on the centre console, choosing instead Snow, Off-Road, Sand or ESP Off. Driving in Grip Control mode over a tough course of deep mud and water, quite steep declines and sharp ascents was quite a revelation for a FWD which had all the grip and control only previously associated with a full 4WD SUV in such difficult conditions. Yes, to be sure, Peugeot have not just re-written the rule book of four-by-fours - they have torn it up and thrown it away! With Grip Control, the Peugeot 2008 offers the best of both worlds for all weather safety.

The latest-generation engines matched to the use of light materials and a profiled silhouette has ensured a real breakthrough in the segment in terms of fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The engine line-up for Ireland is as follows:
• 1.2 VTi 82bhp petrol engine (114g/km CO2: Tax Band A4 €200 road tax) • 1.4 HDi 68bhp diesel engine (104g/km CO2: Tax Band A3 €190 road tax) • 1.6 HDi Stop Start Ecomatique 92bhp diesel engine (98g/km CO2: Tax Band A2 €180 road tax)
• 1.6 HDi Stop Start 92bhp diesel engine (103g/km CO2: Tax Band A3 €190 road tax) • 1.6 eHDi Stop Start 115bhp diesel engine (105g/km CO2: Tax Band A3 €190 road tax)

Shortly after launch, the 2008’s engine range will be extended further in Ireland with a 1.2-litre e-THP Stop Start 82bhp petrol engine (99g/km).

Des Cannon, Sales and Marketing Director says, “Peugeot’s new 2008 is a very attractive proposition incorporating many virtues. It’s a compact, stylish vehicle that offers great passenger space. A higher driving position instills a superb feeling of safety and security. The Peugeot 2008 will be the only model in its class to offer both larger and smaller efficient petrol and diesel powertrains. Indeed, our latest-generation engines offer a real breakthrough in performance and fuel economy, to allow 2008 to stand out from the competition as leader in its segment for low-CO2.”

2008 is the first vehicle produced by Peugeot that has been designed and developed jointly by several international markets. Engineers and stylists from Paris, Shanghai and Sao Paulo worked together to create the vehicle. It will go into production first in France (Mulhouse) then in China (Wuhan) and later in Brazil (Porto Real).

The new 2008 will make its debut in Ireland this summer. Prices and equipment levels for the Irish market will be announced closer to launch.