Renault Koleos VS Peugeot 2008
- Huge interior
- Good safety package
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Life's foot-operated park brake
- Top model's a bit pricey
- Charming design
- Eye-catching cabin treatment
- Decent little driver
- Safety spec wanting on base grade for the money
- High prices
- Lacks traction in the wet
Renault's Koleos doesn't quite know what it is. This second-generation SUV from the French giant is also the second one built largely around the Nissan X-Trail, taking much of its mechanicals. The French flair, a key purchasing decision for many Renault owners, must come from the design, ride and handling, right?
In a market swamped with cars of this type, using a donor car is an economically sensible way to get things done. The risk is turning out a car with the badge of one manufacturer on the front but the character of another behind it.
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The all-new 2021 Peugeot 2008 is designed to stand out in the crowded small SUV space, and it’s fair to say that this stylish French small SUV does exactly that.
It stands out not only because of its eye-catching design, but also due to its frankly wishful pricing strategy, which pushes the Peugeot 2008 from being seen as a rival to the VW T-Cross, MG ZST and Honda HR-V more towards the realm inhabited by the Mazda CX-30, Audi Q2 and VW T-Roc.
You might also be thinking about this as an alternative to the recently released Ford Puma or Nissan Juke. And you wouldn’t be out of place thinking it might rival the Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos, too.
The thing is, the base model pricing is equivalent to what most of its rivals have in mid-range spec variants. And the top spec is over the odds, too, despite both offering pretty comprehensive equipment lists.
So is the 2021 Peugeot 2008 worth the money? And what’s it like on the whole? Let’s get to it.
|Engine Type||1.2L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The Koleos is a sort of left-field choice, really, and that's probably not very fair. It's a proper mainstream car from a manufacturer that has been around longer than most, built on a proven platform.
It is, however, different enough for you to take notice. It looks good, has a bit of presence when viewed from either end and you can say you've got a Renault. It's only problem is it seems to be having and identity crisis.
Are you tempted by a proven SUV package with a Gallic point of difference? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
If you are the sort of buyer who will pay over the odds for a car that looks great, then you might be a Peugeot 2008 customer. It’s a pretty impressive small SUV, but it’s pricing pushes it outside of the realms of reasonable consideration, especially given the raft of impressive rivals with which it competes.
Although Peugeot Australia expects more customers to go for the top-spec GT Sport, and we reckon it’s better equipped based on the standard safety spec, it’s hard to look past the Allure, though even it is too expensive for what you’re getting.
Like Batman, the Koleos is a product of its origin story. That's not to say it's a weird orphan billionaire with a rubber fetish (although it has tyres, I guess) but that it was always going to turn out this way.
At first glance, it looks like a Renault, especially from the front, with the big C-shaped daytime running lights. Once in profile, though, it could be pretty much anything but it becomes more Renault at the rear again. So it stands out front and back but not so much from the side, which is unusual for a Renault. But then, it's a Nissan-based car built in South Korea, so it was always going to be a compromise.
Interior images show a mainstream design with a decent-sized screen but little in the way of French detailing. I'm a fan of Renault interiors generally even if they're not ergonomic masterpieces. This interior is certainly not as brave as its compatriot, the recently-arrived Peugeot 5008.
The design is what could get you through the door and ready to lay down your money more than anything else about the Peugeot 2008. It is a very attractively styled model - far less van-like than its predecessor, and more modern, masculine and aggressive in its stance than before, too.
In fact, this new model is 141mm longer (now 4300mm) on a 67mm longer wheelbase (now 2605mm), but it’s also wider by 30mm (now 1770mm) and a bit lower to the ground too (1550mm tall).
It’s the way the designers have made this chunky new model look that has really hunkered it down, though. From the claw-like LED light slashes that run from the edges of the headlights down through the front bumper, to the upright grille (which varies depending on the variant) and angular metalwork pressing through the doors of the car.
If you want to know what Peugeot had in mind when it pencilled the new-gen 2008, you need to look back to the Quartz concept from 2014. Then you need to squint, make sure you don’t look too closely, and voila!
The rear is a sight to behold too, with a clean and broad look to it that is emphasised by the tail-light cluster and central garnish. Gotta love those claw mark tail-lights and the LED DRLs on the top-spec version, too.
You’ll decide if you like it or not, but there is no denying that its styling helps it stand out in the class. And because the new model is built on Peugeot’s CMP platform, it can be fitted with an electric motor or plug-in hybrid drivetrain as well as the petrol one used here. More on that below.
But what is also interesting is the fact the Peugeot team reckons the Allure model that opens the range is more targeted at the outdoorsy types (and has equipped it as such), while the GT Sport is for the more enthusiast-oriented buyer. We reckon they could have gone a bit harder on the themes, here, particularly for the Allure. And maybe not with Allure as its model name. Remember the original Peugeot 2008, which had a variant named Outdoor?
The eye-catching design flows into the cabin area - see the interior pictures below to get what I’m talking about - but there really is no other small SUV like this in terms of cabin design and presentation.
The brand’s polarising i-Cockpit - with its high-mount digital dashboard cluster and its tiny little steering wheel that you’re supposed to look over, not through - is either going to be fine by you, or completely unacceptable. I fall into the former, meaning I plonk the steering wheel down low in my lap, and set my seat so I’m looking over the tiller to the screen, and find it’s both interesting and likeable to live with.
There are plenty of other considerations for the practicality of the cabin, which we’ll cover off next.
For a Renault, the Koleos has a fairly conventional interior partly because it's based on another car. That means it has proper cupholders (the French are really bad at those), two up front and two in the back. Each door has a bottleholder, for a total of four.
Front seat passengers do very nicely indeed, with some models adding things like armrests for extra lounge chair comfort. The rear seat is spacious, with good leg and headroom, with room for three kids.
Boot space is generous - the Koleos is a big car. The luggage capacity starts at 458 litres, rising to 1690 litres with the rear seats down. The load area is a good size and shape, the packaging maximising the impressive interior dimensions. The glove box is large enough to hold the huge owners manual.
It’s a small SUV, but it’s surprisingly spacious inside. There are plenty of models in this segment that manage this trick, and the Peugeot 2008 does it with a bit more flair than some.
The aforementioned i-Cockpit cabin design is attention grabbing, and so is the 3D cluster design on the driver’s display. It is mostly easy to get used to the controls, but despite Peugeot claiming the digital system can show the driver safety warnings faster than conventional dials and lights, there is some lag and delay when you adjust the screen display or trigger through the drive modes.
The steering wheel is a charming size and shape, the seats are comfortable and easy to adjust - but there are still some ergonomic annoyances.
For example, the cruise control system - which is a stalk hidden behind the steering wheel - can take a while to figure out. So can the steering wheel controls, and the driver info screen menu buttons (one is on the end of the wiper stalk, one on the steering wheel!). And the climate controls: there are switches and buttons for some parts, but the fan control - which is essential to access quickly on really hot or really cold days - is through the media screen, not a physical button or knob.
At least the media screen has a volume knob this time around, and the presentation of that bank of buttons below the screen looks to have been plucked straight from Lamborghini’s notebook.
The screen itself is okay - it is a little laggy to jump between screens or menus, and the 7.0-inch unit in the base model car is a bit small by modern standards. The 10.0-inch is a better fit for the technical focus of the cabin.
The material quality is mostly pretty good, with a neat soft-touch carbon-look trim on the dashboard, pleasing seat trim in both specs, and soft door elbow pads on all four doors (alarming becoming a less common thing in European SUVs).
It is French so the central cup holders are smaller than you might want, and the door pockets don’t have bottle-shaped receptacles, though they will fit a decent sized fizzy or water. The glovebox is tiny, and so is the centre armrest storage pod, but there’s a good size section in front of the shifter, and a drop down shelf which, in the top-grade model, incorporates wireless smartphone charging.
Rear seat convenience is somewhat wanting, with a pair of mesh map pockets but no centre cup holder or armrest, even in the high grade. The rear door pockets are modest, too, and the back door trims are a harder wearing material than that used up front.
The rear seat is a 70/30 split fold setup, with dual ISOFIX and top tether points. The occupant space is quite good for the size of the car - at 182cm or 6’0” I could easily fit behind my own driving position without wanting for more knee-room, headroom or toe room. Three adults across will be a squish, and those with big feet will need to watch themselves on the door-sills, which are quite high and can make ingress and egress clumsier than it should be.
The boot space is a claimed 434 litres (VDA) to the top of the seats with the two-stage boot floor in its highest position, according to Peugeot. That increases to 1015L with the rear seats folded down. There’s a space-saver spare wheel under the boot floor, too.
Price and features
As always with our comparison articles, every price you see is straight from the manufacturer's price list and are RRP. Of course, how much you actually pay is between you and your dealer.
There are three models in the Koleos range - Life, Zen and Intens.
Pricing kicks off at $30,990 for the Life. For that you score 17-inch alloys, an eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, remote central locking, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, auto headlights and wipers, cornering lamps, cloth trim, power windows, heated and powered rear vision mirrors and a space-saver spare.
The multimedia system features the usual AM/FM radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Life doesn't have a navigation system, so your phone's GPS sat nav will have to do, which is fine if you've got data.
Next up is the Zen starting at $35,490 for the front-wheel drive (FWD) and $37,990 for the all-wheel drive (AWD). To the Life's spec list you can add 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and start (via Renault's smart key card), front parking sensors, heated and cooled front cupholders, electric driver's seat, sat nav, heated front seats, fake leather seats, sunroof, electric parking brake and roof rails.
The Intens is available in petrol ($44,990) and diesel ($47,490). On top the Zen spec you can expect a 12-speaker stereo, side parking sensors, heated and ventilated electric front seats, auto LED headlights, partial leather seats, power tailgate and auto parking.
Accessories include floor mats, at an eyebrow-raising $118.72, coloured key shells, boot liners, a towbar for over a grand, cargo barrier, bicycle carriers and the evergreen mudflap.
Not available are a bull bar or nudge bar or a body kit - unless you count the side steps.
There are eight colours - 'Mineral Beige', 'Metallic Black', 'Meissen Blue', 'Metallic Grey', 'Marron Red', 'Ultra Silver' and 'Universal White' all cost $880 extra. Only 'Solid White' is a freebie. McLaren Renault fans will be disappointed there's no 'Papaya Orange' option.
The Peugeot 2008 is one of the most expensive small SUVs in the mainstream part of the market, and it comes across quite overpriced at a quick glance at the price list.
The entry-level Allure model is a $34,990 proposition - that’s the MSRP/RRP, before on-road costs. The top-spec GT Sport version is $43,990 (list price/MSRP).
Let’s go through the standard specifications and equipment list for each model to see if they can justify the cost.
In the Allure, the standard gear comprises 17-inch alloy wheels with Bridgestone Dueler tyres (215/60), LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, cloth trim seats with “leather effects”, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the brand’s new 3D i-cockpit digital dashboard, a 7.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB digital radio, a six-speaker stereo, four USB ports (3x USB 2.0, 1x USB C), climate control air-conditioning, push-button start (but not keyless entry), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto headlights, auto wipers, a “180-degree” reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
Allure models have hill descent control, where the top-grade models don’t, and they also have a different drive mode system with mud, sand, snow and normal driving settings that operate through the brand’s GripControl traction control management system.
The Allure has regular cruise control with speed sign recognition and a system that allows you to adjust to the signposted speed limit at the touch of a button, but it doesn't have fully adaptive cruise like the top-spec, which adds a number of safety items, too. More on the safety spec in the safety section below.
You can resolve some of those safety tech shortcomings by spending 23 per cent more on the more powerful GT Sport variant, but let’s consider the comfort and convenience inclusions first.
The GT Sport runs 18-inch black alloy wheels with Michelin Primacy 3 rubber (215/55), has the ‘lion claw’ signature LED daytime running lights and adaptive LED headlights with auto high beam lights, keyless entry, a two-tone black roof and black mirror caps, and gets distinct drive modes - Eco, Normal and Sport - and also has paddle shifters.
The interior of the GT Sport has Nappa leather-appointed seats, electric driver’s seat adjustment, heated front seats, driver’s massage seat, 3D sat nav, wireless phone charging, a 10.0-inch media screen, ambient lighting, wireless smartphone charging, black headlining, a perforated leather steering wheel, aluminium pedals, stainless steel sill scuff plates, and a few other differentiators. The GT Sport can be had with an optional electric sunroof, at $1990.
For a little context: Toyota Yaris Cross - starts at $26,990; Skoda Kamiq - starts at $26,990; VW T-Cross - starts at $27,990; Nissan Juke - starts at $27,990; Mazda CX-30 - starts at $28,990; Ford Puma - starts at $29,990; Toyota C-HR - starts at $30,915.
And then if you’re shopping for the GT Sport, there are rivals like: Audi Q2 35 TFSI - $41,950; Mini Countryman Cooper - $42,200; the VW T-Roc 140TSI Sport - $40,490; and even the Kia Seltos GT Line is a relative bargain at $41,400.
Yes the Peugeot 2008 is overpriced. But the weird thing is, Peugeot Australia has admitted that it knows the car is expensive, but reckons that the looks alone could make people spend extra on the 2008 over some of its rivals.
Curious about Peugeot 2008 colours? The Allure has the choice of Bianca White (no charge), Onyx Black, Artense Grey or Platinium Grey ($690), and Elixir Red or Vertigo Blue ($1050). Choose the GT Sport, and the free option is Orange Fusion as well as most of the other colours, but there’s also a Pearl White choice ($1050) instead of the white offered on the Allure. And remember, the GT Sport models get the black roof finish, too.
Engine & trans
There are two engines available in the Koleos range. The Life, Intens, Zen and S Edition (a limited run version of approximately 360 units, based on the Intens) are all available with Renault-Nissan's 2.5-litre petrol automatic.
The Life is 4x2 only while the Zen and Intens are 4x4 only. The diesel is only available in the Intens.
The 2.5-litre produces 126kW/226Nm, propelling the non-AWD cars from 0-100km/h in 9.5 seconds, which is reasonable acceleration performance for a car of this size and weight (1552kg). The 56kg heavier AWD petrols will reach the ton in 9.8 seconds.
The turbo-diesel is a 2.0-litre motor and despite the smaller engine size than the petrol, puts out more power at 130kW and a substantially more torque at 380Nm. Zero to 100km/h is dispatched in 9.5 seconds.
Whether front or AWD, petrol or diesel, the Koleos comes not with an automatic transmission but Nissan's favoured continuously variable transmission (CVT). There is no manual gearbox or LPG option.
According to Renault's specifications, the braked towing capacity is rated at 2000kg for the petrol and, curiously, 1650kg for the diesel. That does seem strange given the extra horsepower and torque, but there you are.
As to whether the engines feature a timing belt or chain, both are lower maintenance chain-driven engines. As yet, there is not a battery powered or hybrid version.
The engines offered in the two grades of 2008 are the same in capacity, but offer a split in terms of specs and horsepower.
The Allure runs the 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol Puretech 130 engine, which has 96kW of power (or 130hp - at 5500rpm) and 230Nm of torque (at 1750rpm). It is offered as standard with a six-speed Aisin automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, and the claimed 0-100km/h for this model is 9.9 seconds.
Does the GT Sport’s 1.2-litre turbo three-cylinder petrol justify its nameplate? Well, the Puretech 155 tune makes 114kW (at 5500rpm) and 240Nm (at 1750rpm), has an eight-speed auto from Aisin, FWD and a 0-100km/h claim of 8.9sec.
Those are strong engine power and torque figures for the class, outgrunting most of their direct rivals. Both models have engine start-stop tech for fuel saving - more on fuel use in the next part.
As usual, the official fuel consumption figures are off by around 30 percent, which is about right. On the upside, the Koleos drinks only standard 91 RON for the petrol.
The two-wheel drive petrols will return 8.1L/100km while the AWD petrols a little more at 8.3L/100km. Diesel mileage is about 25 percent better at 6.1L/100km.
Given those figures, fuel economy is hardly going to decide whether you go for the 4x4 versions. A quick review of previous Koleos stories yields figures of 10.9L/100km for the heaviest petrol, the Intens. I recently drove the 4x2 Life and got just over 11.0L/100km.
Fuel tank capacity is the same petrol vs diesel at 60 litres.
The claimed combined cycle fuel consumption for the Allure model is 6.5 litres per 100 kilometres, with emissions of 148g/km CO2.
The combined cycle claim for the GT Sport version is a little lower, at 6.1L/100km and CO2 emissions of 138g/km.
On the surface it may seem strange that both of those figures are considerably higher than the claim of the existing 1.2L auto model - which was less powerful but used a claimed 4.8L/100km. But that’s down to the change in testing procedures over the time between models.
For what it’s worth, we saw a dashboard-indicated 6.7L/100km on the Allure we drove mainly on highways and in easy urban driving, while the GT Sport was showing 8.8L/100km across that and a bit more spirited driving on wet, twisty roads.
Curious about the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or electric (EV) versions of the 2008? They may well come to Australia, but we won’t know until probably 2021.
Fuel tank capacity is just 44 litres.
The Koleos, as I've already established, is built on the X Trail's guts and really feels very similar. That means if you're buying the Koleos hoping it feels like a Renault, you're out of luck. And that's not because it can't be done, it just didn't make much sense to do so. It's different to the X-Trail, but not massively so. It doesn't feel French.
Part of that is the CVT. While not the worst of its type fitted to a car in recent times, it makes the Koleos feel slow and a bit dim-witted. In normal driving it's perfectly fine and the noise suppression keeps the lawn mower effect to reasonable levels, but ask a little more of the transmission and it's not really ready for it.
And that's a great pity. While it's no ball of fire, it handles tidily, isn't actually as slow as it feels and is otherwise a pleasant car to be in.
Another complaint are the Life's tyres - they're not very good and could do with a bit more grip in damp conditions. Felt very odd to be losing traction accelerating gently out of corners.
The Koleos' off road ability isn't on trial here, but it's more than competent in the rough and slippy stuff when fitted with the AWD system. It certainly has the suspension travel, 21cm ground clearance and cosseting ride in all specs that you might expect from an off-roader.
I had rather high expectations for the new-generation Peugeot 2008, having been a huge fan of its predecessor. Does the new one live up to it? Well, yes and no.
Admittedly the conditions we drove it in weren’t what Peugeot would have been hoping for - a late October day with a high of 13 degrees and sideways rain for most of the drive program - but they actually showed up a few shortcomings that dry weather driving presumably wouldn’t reflect.
For instance, there was a serious struggle for traction at the front axle, to the point that ‘axle tramp’ - where the front tyres scrabble so hard to grip the surface that the front end feels as though it’s bouncing up and down on the spot - was a constant consideration when taking off from a standstill. If you’ve not experienced this, maybe you own an all-wheel or rear-wheel drive car, you could think there’s something wrong with the car. It is pretty disconcerting.
Once things are moving there’s better progress on offer, though it must be said that the GT Sport struggled for traction and was constantly squirming at the front axle, with the flashing traction control light a regular feature on the digital dashboard. This was the case in corners, too, where you want to feel assured progress and your tyres gripping the road surface to pull you back up to speed.
The GT Sport’s drive experience was otherwise pretty darn good. The suspension is a little tighter than the Allure, and that was noticeable over both lumpy road surfaces and the open road, where it transmitted more of the smaller lumps and bumps but also managed to feel less floaty and soft.
So it’ll depend which you prefer as to what model hits your targets. The Allure’s softer suspension is more urban friendly, though it’s 17-inch wheels and higher profile tyres - as well as the GripControl traction management system with mud, sand and snow modes - means it’s actually supposed to feel better in the open country.
Either of these two is going to offer some delight when it comes to the steering, which is both very quick to turn but also entertaining in its action because of the size of the wheel. The nose darts when it comes to direction changes, while parking is a cinch thanks to its tiny (10.4m) turning circle and quick lock-to-lock electro-hydraulic steering rack.
The engine in the Allure offers enough punch to suit the vast majority of buyers, so if you don’t want the glitter that comes in the top grade, you’ll likely find it completely fine for your needs. But if you do want to explore the engine’s potential, the GT Sport’s transmission - with two extra ratios and paddle-shifters for manual control - allows you that. Both, though, have the advantage of not being fidgety at take-off pace, as both are standard torque-converter auto gearboxes, not dual-clutch transmissions like so many of its jerkier competitors.
Neither is what I’d call “fast”, but both are quick enough to get moving despite some noticeable turbo lag in the Allure, which is less of a concern in the GT Sport thanks to its high-flow turbo and improved breathing. It gathers pace well, and because it’s so light (1287kg in GT Sport trim) it feels agile and sprightly.
The driver’s pick is the GT Sport, just. But in all honesty, both could be better at getting their power to the ground.
The Koleos leaves South Korea with six airbags, ABS, stability (ESP) and traction controls, brake force distribution, forward AEB, reverse camera, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. There are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether restraints.
The Zen and Intens also feature blind spot warning and side parking sensors.
Since its 2016 introduction, ANCAP has not got around to crash testing the Renault for a safety rating. EuroNCAP has and awarded a five star rating in September 2017 with a safety spec identical to the Intens.
The Peugeot 2008 achieved a 2019 five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating for the equivalent spec models we’re receiving in Australia. It’s unclear if the score will be mirrored by ANCAP or not, though it likely won’t be re-tested under 2020 criteria.
The Allure model has auto emergency braking (AEB) which is operational from 10km/h to 180km/h, and it incorporates daytime pedestrian detection (from 0-60km/h) and cyclist detection (operational from 0-80km/h).
There's also active lane departure warning that can steer the car back into its lane if it breaches the road line markings (from 65km/h to 180km/h), speed sign recognition, cruise control with speed sign adaptation, driver attention alert (fatigue monitoring), hill descent control, and a 180-degree reversing camera system (semi surround view).
Step up to the GT Sport and you get day and night AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as blind spot monitoring and a system called Lane Positioning Assist that can steer the car when the GT Sport model's standard adaptive cruise control system (with stop-and-go capability in traffic) is active. There’s also auto high-beam lighting and semi-autonomous parking.
Missing from all 2008 models is rear cross-traffic alert and rear AEB, not to mention a proper 360-degree surround view camera. The camera system used here is not great.
To cover off any problems or issues, Renault offers a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and up to four years' roadside assist. Service costs are capped for the first three years and on both petrol and diesel, service intervals are an impressive 12 months/30,000km.
Pricing for the first three services is capped at $349 for the petrol and $369 for the diesel. That's a genuine bargain, with extra costs like filters laid out on the website.
As with its X Trail sister car, reliability appears to be excellent with few common faults. A run around the usual internet forums didn't uncover any common engine problems.
Resale value is slightly below that of its Japanese donor car, but depreciation doesn't seem as steep as some other Renaults.
Peugeot Australia offers a now industry-standard five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which is pretty decent backing for what is a rather small operation.
The maintenance intervals are set every 12 months/15,000km, and the costs for the first five years are not yet confirmed. They should be later in 2020, but Peugeot Australia says the pricing will be “comparable” to the existing version, which ran the following service pricing: 12 months/15,000km - $374; 24 months/30,000km - $469; 36 months/45,000km - $628; 48 months/60,000km - $473; 60 months/75,000km - $379. That averages out at $464.60 per service.
Concerned about Peugeot reliability? Quality? Ownership? Recalls? Be sure to check our Peugeot problems page for more information.