Hyundai Venue VS Peugeot 2008
- Great looks
- Good to drive
- Roomy for its size
- Engine buzzy under load
- Dodgy tyres and steel wheels
- Plastic steering wheel
- New engine and trans combo
- Interior still cool
- CarPlay across the range
- Tight rear seats
- Grumbly engine at low revs
- Some cheap plastics
I'm sure someone else came up with the phrase micro SUV, because I'm not that original, but they're an intriguing idea. Far too tiny to even offer all-wheel drive as an option let alone a sensible engineering challenge, they're rapidly eating into the sales of lights cars.
Suzuki's Ignis strikes me as the first one to drop but Hyundai's Venue became the most high profile. And soon after its launch we learnt it would not only eat into Hyundai's ancient light car offering, the Accent, it would effectively take it out.
Any hitman will tell you the key to a successful assignment is getting a return for your efforts. I imagine these are the sorts of conversations these people have with their employers. While the Accent is cheap as chips, the Venue, even in the basic Go version, is not. A tick over twenty grand is not what you'd call entry-level...
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the new Peugeot 2008 with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch in NSW.
You have to feel for Peugeot. Back in 2013 when the 2008 launched, the mini-SUV market was pretty limp, with four so-so offerings. While the French company was hardly expecting the kind of numbers cars like the Mazda CX-3 or Mitsubishi ASX achieve today, there was probably a bit of optimism considering the lacklustre competition.
Sadly, the 2008 was not a smash-hit, despite critical acclaim for its inventive interior and dynamic appeal. Where it all fell down was the combination of engines and transmissions - manuals came with the diesel (which almost nobody bought) and the automatic was a decidedly 1990s four-speed automatic that didn't pair well with the petrol engines.
The 2008 had an identity crisis Peugeot needed to fix. Was it a wagon? Was it a cheap alternative to the others? Why can't I get an auto on the Active? Why does it look high tech but the drivetrain isn't? So many questions that Peugeot has to answer.
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The Venue Go is probably the near future of entry-level cars. As the light car market continues to shrink in favour of SUVs (makes note to return to this statement annually to see how long it takes to be laughably wrong), cars like this will become commonplace.
The Venue Go's depth of engineering, half-decent equipment level and pretty reasonable dynamics mean that price aside, the bog-spec car is actually alright.
The 2008's identity crisis is partly solved, but as this is a mild update rather than ground-up rebuild, it was never going to be the CX-3 killer product planners dream about. With the new engine and transmission, though, the range is more appealing and easier to make sense of.
It retains what made the car so original at launch, with the polarising i-Cockpit, clever-on-a-budget interior detailing and, as it turns out, it's a tough customer loved by rural folk.
All of this won't rocket the Frenchie to market leadership, but it puts it in the mix where it was previously too confusing an idea for many buyers.
Can the 2008's French flair tempt you away from the Japanese juggernauts? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
The Venue is a nice piece of design. In Elite form, which I drove a hundred years ago in 2019, it was bristling with cool detailing. The Go, being the taster for the rest of the range, is comparatively stripped back. The 15-inch steelies - while excellent for bashing around town with the expendable hubcaps - do look a bit ridiculous, but if you're not bothered, there's nothing wrong with them.
I quite like the black grille and the otherwise unadorned bodywork, though, and the basic chunky design survives and stands up nicely. Does it look like you've cheaped out? Apart from the wheels, no.
One of the 2008's problems is its looks. Nothing wrong with them, it's just that it looks like a jacked up 208 with an extension on the back. When punters saw it, they thought wagon rather than SUV. Part of that is to do with Peugeot's messaging. The material we got called it 'New SUV 2008', but the fact it doesn't look like its competitors plays against it.
The new 2008 has been lightly revised front and rear to make it a little more butch and a little less 208. The direction is clearly influenced by the forthcoming 3008, but there wasn't a great deal to be done with the older car.
There's a more bluff nose with a bigger vertical grille to add some visual heft. The wheel arches have unpainted plastic extensions (on the Allure and GT) and there are now scuff plates to make it feel a bit more off-roadery. It is looking its age, though and will look older when the 3008 lands here later in the year.
In Allure and GT models the headlights are black and chrome and the taillights are Peugeot's 'three claw' design.
Inside is, mercifully, much the same and dating more gracefully than the exterior. The i-Cockpit is an acquired taste with the tiny 350mm steering wheel set low under a high-up instrument pack, designed to help keep your head up. It does take some getting used to, but with plenty of adjustment, most people can get the right spot behind the wheel.
The new 7.0-inch screen responds well to the touch and looks like it belongs, while the shrewd use of textured materials and, in the Allure, metallics, helps offset some of the cheaper materials and the low-rent plastic gear selector with its chromed, gated lever. Give me the selector from the 308 any day.
It's airy and light but if you want the sunroof, be aware it has a white, translucent blind that creates a lot of glare. Works fine in Europe, not so great under our harsh sun.
Let's start with the bad stuff. The back seats, while enough to fit two adults for short journeys (as long as the front seats passengers aren't too tall) are pretty sparsely equipped. No armrest, cupholders, air vents, nothing. Just the seats. The doors have bottle holders, to join the front pair for a total of four. Headroom is good, though.
Moving up front, you get two cupholders and a spot for your phone under the centre stack and some space for little bits and bobs.
The boot is an impressive 355 litres, clobbering just about everything in this class and many in the next size up. Hyundai's own Kona (one-size-up), has a 363-litre boot. The false floor in the boot means you can hide stuff under the boot floor, separate your goods or take it out completely for a bit more height.
Front seat passengers will enjoy comfortable seating in both Allure and Active models with space in the doors for bottles, a pair of (small) cupholders and a good-sized central console storage bin, which is also cooled. The glovebox is tiny, but it means you've a lot more knee room than you might expect in a car this size.
The rear seat legroom is tight for over 150cm folk, but the seats themselves are comfortable, with three across possible if not appreciated. Sadly, there are no air vents or cupholders out back, although small bottles can go in the doors. There's not even an armrest for rear seat dwellers.
Boot space is excellent at 410 litres (the class-leading HR-V is 437, the rather bigger Qashqai 430) and with the 60/40 seats down that number more than triples to 1400 litres. Under the boot floor is a further 22 litres and either side of door opening are plastic pockets with retaining straps.
There is one USB port up front, a 12V next to it and another 12V port for the rear seats.
Price and features
Starting at $20,190 for the six-speed manual, adding an automatic transmission to the Venue Go lifts the price to $22,210. That's a decent wedge for a tiny car, especially when the larger i30 isn't that much more expensive. Leaves a bit of clear air for the next-size-up Kona, though.
Shipping in from South Korea, the Venue Go is kitted up with 15-inch steel wheels, a four-speaker stereo, air-conditioning, reversing camera, cruise control, automatic headlights with auto high beam, power door mirrors, power windows and a space-saver spare.
The 2008 range has been significantly reduced. First to depart was the bargain-basement Access model, a theme repeated on the 208 and 308 model lines. Nobody bought it (three per cent of buyers, or about 20-ish per year), so that was the one to go. Peugeot's local brand boss, Kai Bruesewitz told CarsGuide at the launch that Australian buyers like their SUVs with "the lot."
The existing engines were turfed, and in their place is Peugeot's lauded 1.2-litre turbo petrol triple cylinder, known as 'PureTech e-THP' (Turbo High Pressure), paired exclusively with the Aisin-sourced six-speed automatic transmission found in the 308.
The range is now three cars, starting with the Active at $26,490, moving on to the Allure, and ending with the GT-Line, which replaces the Outdoor trim level.
The Active opens the range with 16-inch alloys, six speaker stereo, 7.0-inch touchscreen with CarPlay and MirrorLink (Android Auto is three to six months away), cloth trim, leather steering wheel, reversing camera (factory fit rather than dealer-fitted), air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, electric folding mirrors and cruise control.
Peugeot Australia says the new Active's higher price of $26,490 (+ $1000) is offset by $2000 of extra stuff when compared with the 1.6-litre Active auto of old.
The Allure is still $30,990 and swaps 16s for 17s, adds city auto emergency braking, auto parking, grip control, sat nav and a different cloth trim, active cornering lighting, auto headlights and wipers, front parking sensors, rear privacy glass and dual-zone climate control.
The GT-Line keeps the Outdoor's $32,990 price but picks up automatic transmission, different 17-inch alloys, red LED interior lighting to replace the blue in lower grades, and some interior and exterior detailing to set it apart, as with the 208 GT Line.
The GT-Line won't be available until the middle of the year.
Options across the board include $990 for metallic paint or $1050 for pearlescent. For Allure and GT-Line models you can add a panoramic sunroof for $1000 and leather for $2200. You can also specify sat nav on the Active for $1500 but given it has CarPlay and MirrorLink, that seems expensive and unlikely to attract too many buyers.
Engine & trans
A rocket it isn't, with Hyundai's 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four cylinder, with 90kW/151Nm to pull the 1225kg of kerb weight along. Hyundai's in-house six-speed auto supplies the power to the front wheels.
Similar to French rival Peugeot's 'Grip Control', the Venue has a range of settings for low grip situations as well as three on-road modes that seem to be a volume control for the engine.
All 2008s are powered by the same 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder, developing 81kW (down 7kW on the old 1.6, up 21kW on the old 1.2) and 205Nm (up 45Nm on the 1.6 and 25Nm up on the old 1.2) of torque. While the power figure doesn't compete with the 1.8 or 2.0 naturally aspirated engines of other cars in the class, the torque figure is a little higher than most.
The sprint from 0-100km/h stops the clocks at a leisurely 11.3 seconds with a tare weight of just 1188kg to push along.
Power goes to the front wheels via an Aisin six-speed automatic, already seen in the 308.
Compared to the old 1.6-litre four, the THP engine is 12kg lighter and features stop-start to help cut consumption.
This will either make you laugh or scratch you head. Driving the Venue Go reminded me of our (now written-off) Volkswagen Up, a car you can't buy anymore for reasons that are too silly to recount.
Adherents of that car will tell you that it is one of the most over-engineered small cars ever made. It had a great ride and handling compromise, characterful engine and made you smile.
While the Venue's buzzy 1.6 may not match the VW's 1.0-litre triple (or its colossal service costs), everything else about the way the Go drives is very Uppity. If that makes sense.
The plastic steering wheel may not feel all that nice in your hand, but it responds well to your inputs, despite doughy 185/65 tyres on steel wheels, hilariously cartoonish in 2020. This kind of response is unexpected as is the excellent ride for such a small car.
For city-dwellers, the only times these tyres will trouble you will be on greasy roads or if you head out of town on a long trip.
The Venue is perfectly fine when it's one or two up, but start loading in people and the engine starts to complain. Ignore the Sport mode, it just makes the engine buzz unpleasantly and doesn't offer anything the normal mode does. Eco is also a waste of time. Just don't touch that dial and all will be well.
The light steering is always going to be great for parking but is oddly communicative when you're shooting about the back streets. Again, the tyres don't do the change of direction any favours, but it's not a hot hatch, is it? And tyres are easily replaced, the suspension not so much.
Modest though the outputs may be, the turbo triple is the right engine for the 2008. Standardising across the range means you don't have to play option Tetris and you know exactly what you're getting, no matter which one the dealer throws you the keys to.
While a bit grumbly low-down (this problem doesn't afflict the bigger 308), the turbo spins up and, once you're moving, provides decent thrust. Engines this size have little right to be so good on the motorway, but overtaking required less planning than anticipated, and the transmission, while kept busy, is smooth and unobtrusive. Job done there.
The steering is very good, aided by the small steering wheel, helping make the car feel as light as it is (just under 1200kg). I am not convinced by the tyres, though.
Shod with Goodyear Vector all-weather tyres, there just isn't the grip through the tight and twisty stuff, so the stability control fires up earlier than perhaps it would with 'summer' tyres. That's easy fixed at the first tyre change as long as you're not after the semi off-road capabilities of the standard rubber.
On loose or wet surfaces, the tyres to make a better case for themselves and once you twiddle the 'Grip Control' dial for the surface you're on, they're even more useful. I'd probably want a set of normal tyres on an Active, which doesn't have Grip Control and is probably intended more for city use buyers.
Overall, it's a refined package, with just the sometimes intrusive engine note coming through at low revs and tyre noise on poor tarmac.
There are also three top-tether anchor points and two ISOFIX points.
The Venue scored four out of a possible five ANCAP stars in December 2019, the fifth star eluding it due to the type of AEB.
The basic safety package on the Active includes six airbags, ABS, plus stability and traction controls.
Allure and GT-Line also have 'Grip Control', a switchable terrain system that plays around with the brakes to help keep the front wheels moving in mud, sand and snow.
You need to service the Venue every 12 months or 15,000km and all Hyundais carry a lifetime service plan, so you know how much a service is going to cost you for the life of the vehicle.
The first five years costs $1575, for an average of $315 a year, which isn't bad at all.
The 2008 comes with a five year/100,000km warranty for the first three months on sale (until May 31 2017), but Peugeot says they're negotiating with the parent company to make that standard. Roadside assist is offered for three years/100,000km.
Peugeot will want to see you every 12 months or 15,000km for a service, with the average over five years working out at $544.20 per year, which is a little over the average for the segment. The cheapest is $404 and the three year/45,000km service is a stiff $723.