Provided by Independent.ie

Peugeot want to make the decision about what power source to choose as simple as deciding what trim you decide.

Their strategy is to offer multi-powered versions of the same car. So, like the imminent new 208 supermini, the new 2008 SUV will have a choice of petrol, diesel or electric power sources.

The first diesels arrive next month with petrols due in March and the e-2008 by May.

Petrol has been the clear choice in the outgoing car. But Peugeot reckon the electric version could account for more than 10pc of sales next year.

The new 2008 is off to a good start with its looks; it takes many styling cues from the 3008 and 5008. It will certainly be one of the most visually appealing.

It’s significantly bigger – 3cm wider and a substantial 16cm longer. That puts it on a par with many rivals from the larger C-SUV category; it might well cannibalise 3008SUV sales.

The boot gets an extra 10 litres (to 434). There’s no impact on boot space in the e-2008 as the batteries are under the floor. However, it’s unlikely there will be space for a spare wheel.

The interior scores highly too with a stylish enveloping cabin with the now familiar i-Cockpit.

Like the 208 this latest 3D generation of i-Cockpit has a heads-up display that shows key information in hologram form on the fascia.

Interior space is much improved. Rear-seat passengers of old models will be envious of head and legroom.

There’s a choice of three PureTech 1.2 petrols. The entry level now has 100hp (up from 82hp) and comes with 6spd manual gearbox only. The 130hp version is carried over and comes with a 6spd manual or 8spd auto gearbox, while there is now also a 155hp version – automatic only.

The 1.5-litre diesel comes with 100hp in manual and 130hp automatic. We drove the 155hp petrol and 130hp diesel, both with auto gearboxes, around a variety of roads in Provence.

The petrol impressed with its nippy performance and sharp handling, albeit we’d still take a regular hatchback over a crossover for a drive over country roads any time.

On the downside the ride felt unsettled over some rough surfaces. We put this down to riding on 18ins wheel in comparison with the diesel on 17ins which felt more composed while still producing decent performance. It’s a car you’d happily take on a long-distance journey.

The all-electric e-2008 uses the same running gear as the new e-208 supermini (100kW, 136bhp, electric motor, 50kWh battery).

The battery isn’t as powerful as some rivals’ but is rated to achieve 310km on one charge. Keeping the car affordable was the main reason not to opt for a bigger battery. It will charge to 80pc with a 100kW fast charger, while a home charge with a single-phase wall box should take around eight hours.

If the e-2008 is distinguished by minor features such as a body-coloured chequered front grille, the differences dynamically are also quite minor. Apart from the immediate acceleration and silent operation, it looks, feels and drives like a petrol or diesel.

That gives credence to Peugeot’s belief that customers will decide which engine best suits their needs after first deciding they want a 2008.

There are Active, Allure, GT-Line and GT trims. Prices have yet to be finalised; expect an increase.

Much improved over its predecessor, I think the new 2008 will find favour with a lot of buyers -regardless of their engine choice.

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