I was driving along a scenic tree-lined avenue somewhere north of Manila when the infotainment system started playing “La Vie En Rose”. “Perfect!”, I said to myself. The French song seemed apt for the drive since I was cruising along in a French car. Although the music playing in my vehicle was American singer Grace Jones’ 1981 disco version and not French singer Édith Piaf’s 1946 signature song, it was nevertheless appropriate, especially since I was in a modern French car, the 2022 Peugeot 2008.
You see, the song title “La Vie En Rose” is French for “life in pink”. It can be interpreted as “life in rosy hues” or “life seen through rose-colored glasses” and that was how I was exactly feeling at that moment. I was viewing life through happy hues despite crawling through heavy holiday traffic, unstable fuel prices, hectic schedules and a stalled economy. It seemed to me that just being behind the wheel of this French compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) was enough to drive the blues away.
Cocon Tres Confortable
No, this subtitle is not incorrectly spelled. “Cocon tres confortable” is French for “very comfortable cocoon”, which the Peugeot 2008 is, especially in horrendous Metro Manila holiday traffic. I could easily while away the time behind the wheel in its innovative 3D i-Cockpit with its excellent ergonomics, intuitive 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and configurable 10-inch 3D digital instrument panel. The screens are canted towards the driver for easy viewing while the sporty multi-function steering wheel is decidedly small to provide more room for the driver while aiding ingress and egress.
Admittedly, the steep rake of the recessed front windshield helps improve the aerodynamics and aesthetics of the 2008 but people above 5’9” or of bulky build may need to bend a bit to clear the A-pillar. Thankfully, the driver’s and front passenger’s seats can be adjusted for height and, once seated, the seat design and side bolsters feel like they are wrapped around you. The rear seat is likewise comfortable for three passengers and features a 60/40 folding seat back to increase the cargo capacity from 434 to 1,467 dry liters, thus justifying the “utility” moniker of this SUV.
Svelte et Attrayant
“Les grandes choses viennent dans de petits paquets” is the French equivalent of the English saying “Big things come in small packages” and the Peugeot 2008 fits this idiom to a T. Its exterior is svelte et attrayant (slender and attractive) with its 4.3-meter-long, 1.8-meter-wide, and 1.6-meter-tall lean and sculptured body athletically rolling on four meaty 215/60R17 Goodyear Assurance Triplemax 2 tires wrapped around 17-inch 10-spoke gloss black wheels with diamond-finished accents.
The front of the 2008 cuts a modern yet feline-like figure with an imposing black chrome grille that is bordered by the signature Peugeot triple-clawed lights and LED headlights. Meanwhile, a rear spoiler, the signature three-claw LED taillights, and chrome-finished double exhaust pipe adorn the rear of this French SUV. The low sill, wide rear hatch opening and double-level trunk floor allows easier loading and unloading and the expansion of the trunk volume.
Puissance d’un Petit Moteur
A 1.2-liter PureTech turbocharged 3-cylinder gasoline engine delivers a maximum of 230 Newton-meters of torque to the front wheels that provides exhilarating acceleration without a hint of torque steer. Revved up to 5,500 rpm, the engine produces 130 horsepower that allows the 2008 to rush to the posted speed limit and beyond. Around the city, I found the drive exciting and dynamic, which is made more convenient with the 6-speed automatic transmission shifting the gears more efficiently than I could. I can even select different driving modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) so it can adapt to any driving situation!
Sacre a vous! I got so enthralled driving this Peugeot and its myriad features that measuring the fuel mileage slipped my mind. However, I noticed that the fuel gauged hardly moved, especially since the 2008 was delivered to me with the 44-liter fuel tank half-filled. Moreover, its electronic driver aids, such as the Blind Spot Monitoring, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Driving Attention Warning, and Hill Start Assist kept me away from trouble when my mind (and my eyes) started to wander during the drive. I also found the 180º camera extremely helpful when parking in tight spaces, like backing into my two-car garage.
Driving this second-generation P24-series Peugeot 2008 around tree-lined backroads up north brought me back to May 2013 when I was sent to Alsace, France to test drive the then all-new first-generation A94-series 2008. Along with motoring journalists from around the world, Peugeot allowed us to explore the 2008’s driving potential along the vineyards and mountain roads around Alsace, the premier white wine region of France, and from Colmar to Ribeauville. Needless to say, I acquired an appreciation for white wine, scenic drives, French songs and French cars from that trip.
I guess that the drive around Alsace in 2013 and my drive with the new 2008 also gave me a deeper appreciation of the song “La Vie En Rose” and how it relates to Peugeot here in the Philippines. The song was initially rejected by French singer Marguerite Monnot, but after it was performed by Édith Piaf during a live concert in 1946, it became a favorite with audiences and eventually made Piaf internationally famous. Its lyrics expressed the joy of finding true love and appealed to those who had endured the difficulties of World War II. Numerous versions were recorded in other countries, and it became quite popular in the U.S., receiving a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.
Similarly, French cars like the Peugeot has not been given the recognition it deserves here in the Philippines. Some people dismiss the 2008’s “small” 1.2-liter turbo-3 and many are unaware of its advanced features and dynamic driving experience, but I’m sure that after viewing a 2022 Peugeot 2008 in person and going for a test drive, they will change their mind. After all, this compact SUV was chosen as the 2021 South African Car of the Year. And with a reasonable price of P1.75M, this French siren will have anyone looking at life through rose-colored happy hues. La vie en rose, indeed!
Model: 2022 Peugeot 2008
Classification: FWD 5-door compact SUV
Engine type: 1.2L PureTech Turbo
Displacement: 1,199 cc
Maximum power: 130 hp @ 5500 rpm
Maximum torque: 230 Nm @ 1750 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Steering: Electronic power steering
Suspension: Independent, front McPherson struts, rear multi-link
Brakes: Front ventilated discs, rear solid discs
Wheels: 17-inch 10-spoke 5-lug alloy
Wheelbase: 2605 mm
Overall length: 4300 mm
Width: 1770 mm
Height: 1550 mm
Ground clearance: 180 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 44 liters
Cargo capacity: 434L to 1467L