Gallic charm and exuberance: Armstrong’s Christchurch

Something really quirky and fun shines through in the French attitude to making cars. Rather than just adhere to simplistic form and function, the French ethos behind creating a vehicle ensures character, eccentric style, plus a sense of enjoyment. Ben Selby reports.

This brings us to the new Peugeot 2008 GT, which certainly sports plenty of that gallic eccentricity and charm. A facelift, first glance doesn’t reveal much difference between the outgoing 2008 and the new one. Take a second gander and you notice a more squared-jawed front lip, revised LED tail-light cluster and a more aggressive looking front fascia. Plus, it’s great to see styling features such as the LED daytime running lights which pay homage to the brand’s lion emblem by way of its claws.

Inside, it is very much a modern-day Peugeot, and that is a good thing, with everything from a sharp-looking centre console to the driver focused 10-inch touch screen infotainment display. Plus, the piano key style toggle switches to operate features like the air con.

Thankfully, the Peugeot 3D i-cockpit, which we first saw on the 308 hatch, makes a welcome return in the new 2008. I just love this feature as you can see your speed and engine revs floating on the screen, as if seeing it through 3D glasses.

The 2008 GT does come with some toys. The 360-degree reversing camera is clear and concise, and you have keyless entry, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Wireless Charging, multiple USB ports, Blind Spot Monitoring and Adaptive Cruise control, to name a few, as standard.

The seats provide ample support and head room is decent too. Stepping into the back it is very much the same story. You sit upright in the back, and my 5’10” frame fitted snugly inside. Moving off and the 2008 GT’s 1.2L PureTech three cylinder turbo petrol engine provides a solid delivery of torque, all while emitting a deep-throated, mechanical soundtrack. Honestly, there is just something really nice about how a three cylinder sounds.

After a while, you get used to the small steering wheel you have clasped in your mitts, and this is when you discover a good level of steering feel too. The 2008 GT does exhibit similar handling characteristics of a hot hatchback. Sure it won’t rearrange your fillings with rip-roaring acceleration, but for darting in and out of urban Christchurch traffic and the tight corners of your local mall’s multi-story car park, it is quite fun.

However, there is more to driving a 2008 GT than solely the opportunity to partake in driving exuberance. I also found it extremely apt as a daily driver, as it should be. A quick shopping trip was stowed away nicely within the dual level boot, one which if you drop the second row will swell into 1467L of cargo space. The ride is supple and engaging and tyre roar is minimal at best too.

The new Peugeot 2008 GT has plenty going for it, and those who will willingly embrace its unique character, quirky style and “joie de vivre” driving qualities will find plenty to love here.

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