Specification: PEUGEOT 2008 ALLURE
Engine: 1,199cc, 3-cyl. Inline, 12-valve, DOHC, Dual VVT, turbocharged | Power: 130hp @ 5500rpm Torque: 230 @ 1750 | Drivetrain: 6-speed Automatic Transmission, front-wheel drive | Performance: 199kph max speed | Fuel consumption: 4.5l/100km (NEDC) | Price: RM131,103.00 otr without insurance

The Peugeot 2008 drives headlong into a hotly contested segment to make it difficult in deciding which compact crossover to buy. Every manufacturer has a compact crossover to offer and every one of them brings its distinct character to the mix. In this very crowded party, can this little French number steal some thunder?

For starters, the 2008 is dressed to please with design elements that make it a Peugeot yet zested with its unique style. The signature 3-claw LED headlights and taillights, the illuminated fangs in front and the grille design pull focus to the centre Lion.

Well-defined shoulder lines start low and then rises upwards to put more emphasis on the rear haunches. The roofline, though, maintains a level plane from the windscreen to the hatch before sloping to the rear window. Altogether, the athletic outlook of the 2008 is appropriate and should not have trouble finding admirers.

The interior bears all the quirkiness as the larger 5008 and is no less well-appointed. The quality of the materials looks and feels like they belong in a more expensive vehicle. More importantly, all frequent touchpoints are adequately cushioned for comfort. And, much like the rest of the crossover, the 2008’s cabin is a restful place to be in.

Interior spaciousness comes as a surprise, offering good leg, head and shoulder space for two adults. The boot space, too, is respectably large for its class. Loading and off-loading goods are easy with the sill set low and the opening wide.

The centre-stack hosts the seven-inch infotainment display, with Apple CarPlay and Android ready to connect. Below the central air vents are toggles for the air conditioning, hazard lights and central locking system. It’s placed conveniently within reach for both front occupants.

What is interesting here is the instrument panel is raised high so you don’t have to look too far down to see driving information. Called the 3D i-cockpit, it needs a bit of getting used to before realising that it is more comfortable for the eyes to access information. The 10-inch 3D instrument cluster display projects information that makes it appear to float just above the screen, making it appear holographic. Very interesting, this.

Yet, you can’t see the full wonder of the 3D i-cockpit if not for the flat-top steering wheel. Where steering wheels are flattened at the bottom, the 2008’s steering top has been lopped off. Its design does not detract from the feedback or responsiveness when driving. The weight of the wheel alters with the speed of the vehicle, which gets progressively heavier as the 2008 goes faster or into a corner.

The 2008 handles as good as a tall hatchback can and much of its driving dynamic is expected of the modern crossover. Although body roll shows up every time you take a corner, it isn’t overwhelmingly upsetting. The 2008 is set up for a comfortable ride and does not disappoint in that aspect.

A 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine is picked to produce 130hp and 230Nm. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic that runs power to the front wheels. There are no all-wheel drive versions of the 2008, only front-wheel drive. Although it’ll live out its life in the city and country roads, the 2008 has Drive Modes that suggest it could suffer mild off-roading.

Acceleration is brisk and the near-instant power delivery is well-suited for driving in the city. At speeds, the crossover maintains its momentum without working the engine hard to sustain speed. The 2008 isn’t complicated by any measure and it is user-friendly enough even for new drivers.

Only the Allure version is offered and it includes some of the latest safety techs that you’d expect. The 2008 is fitted with blind spot monitoring, high beam assist, active lane keeping assist, active safety braking and driver attention warning. The lack of any more advanced autonomy is obvious, yet what the crossover has now is adequate.

In a sea of compact crossovers, and it gets quite crowded under the RM150,000 mark, the Peugeot 2008 injects fresh French flair into the segment. Choices are aplenty and there are obvious brands that everyone will go for; usually, those that offer the best value for money. The Peugeot 2008 isn’t about giving you more rings for your Ringgit, or even heaps of power and speed.

Instead, the 2008 charms with its standout exterior and quirky-designed interior that you can find nowhere else. Thankfully, under the style is the substance that makes the Peugeot 2008 a crossover worth considering.