MOTORS: It’s time to party like its 2008

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The Peugeot 2008 faces some tough opposition in the compact Crossover market.

With some very economical engines and subtle but handsome styling, it may well be in with a decent shout.

Despite its beefy looks, the 2008 is front-wheel drive only, but some off-road ability is delivered on pokier 1.6-litre petrol and diesel variants via a clever ‘Grip Control’ traction system. This comprises an intelligent traction control system and special Mud & Snow ‘All Weather’ tyres, a compromise between full winter tyres and usual summer rubber. It has five selectable operating modes which can be chosen by the driver from a dedicated control mounted on the centre console.

The engine line up will be familiar fare if you’re familiar with the 208 supermini. Base versions get a choice of either an 82bhp 1.2 VTi petrol or a 70bhp 1.4-litre HDi diesel.

Moving up the range, there’s a 120bhp 1.6-litre VTi petrol unit and either 92 or 115bhp versions of the 1.6-litre e-HDi diesel, an engine with Stop & Start and, in lower-powered form, offering the option of an EGC auto gearbox.

The 2008 features a higher driving position than the 208 and it’s longer too. At 4.16m, it’s fully 20cm longer than its supermini cousin and there’s a good deal more road presence to it as well with its pronounced wheel arches.

With 17-inch alloy wheels and Mud & Snow tyres, it looks quite purposeful but the ground clearance is decidedly modest so it doesn’t seem as if it’s trying to project an image it can’t live up to. You wouldn’t choose one to tackle the Rubicon Trail for example.

Peugeot is a company on the up right now. That might not seem instantly apparent from a brief glance at current UK sales figures but overall trends suggest that the firm has weathered the recessional storm. The introduction of the 208 has helped here and this 2008 compact crossover vehicle can only bolster that sales performance. It looks a solid product and has been competitively priced and specced for its intended market.

True, there are some seriously talented rivals in the Crossover segment right now, as well as others being honed by big manufacturers, so the 2008 has quite a task on if it’s to make its mark, a job you might not think would be helped by this car’s relative visual subtlety. But maybe there’s a significant group of potential buyers who’ll want just that from this kind of car.

If you’re one of them, then we’re guessing that you might like this design very much indeed.