They say silence is golden, but I’m not sure I agree. After all, sensory deprivation is a form of torture and therefore is therefore a violation of human rights – not really the sort of thing we want to be glamourising, is it? Anyway, I much prefer to think of quietness as the goal; a calm that falls just short of silence, with just a few background noises to keep the grey matter entertained.
In various guises, the 2008 has been a source of that quietness. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is a peach, but the Diesel Car 1.5-litre diesel isn’t such a resounding success story. These days, diesel engines can be incredibly refined – the latest Land Rover Discovery Sport is eerily quiet – but the 2008 doesn’t quite hit the mark. When it’s cold, the engine grumbles and growls like a moody teenager as you pull away from the lights, and although things calm down as it gets up to temperature, there’s still an underlying gruffness to its tone. It isn’t disastrous, but it’s slightly disappointing when you compare it with the smoother diesel powertrains fitted to Ford or Volkswagen Group products.
It’s at its worst on the motorway, where it’s hampered by a slight power shortage. Without the power reserves of its more potent sibling, the BlueHDi 130, the 2008 has to be worked hard to get up to speed. And that means the unrefined engine rears its head once more, roaring away as you floor it down the slip road. Once you settle into the cruise, the sound ebbs away, and you’re left with a backing track. Again, it’s more irritating than infuriating, but I do find myself having to drown it out with the radio or whatever rubbish happens to be on my Spotify playlist this week. Thankfully, things are slightly better in roadworks, where the lower speed limits drop the engine revolutions and therefore wind down the volume. Never have the average speed camera-policed 50mph zones been so appealing.
The one saving grace of this engine is economy. On a long run, it’ll push 60mpg, and that keeps your fuel bills in check. Even with a bit of urban motoring under its wheels, the car has averaged around 50mpg all told. That’s a quality that I’m sure will continue with the new BlueHDi 110 engine that has replaced our BlueHDi 100 powertrain. If Peugeot can keep the economy up, despite adding a little more power, I think the French company could have a winning engine on its hands. Of course, that assumes they can sort out the refinement, but the extra power should go some way to improving things. With a few more horses under the bonnet, it shouldn’t have to work quite so hard.
Despite the engine-related negatives, I like the funky styling and the really rather pleasant interior. I like the way it rides and how comfortable the seats are. I even like the way it handles like blancmange, deterring you from doing anything remotely ‘sporty’ at all. It’s almost as if the car is telling you to grow up – but that styling and the orange paint reminds you not to grow up too much. As an urban SUV, then, the 2008 makes a lot of sense.
Date arrived 24th February 2021
Economy (WLTP combined) 54.4-62.7mpg
Economy (On test) 54.2mpg