Volkswagen Golf VS Peugeot 2008
- Ride comfort
- Conservative styling
- Diesel engines' noise levels
- Premium unleaded only
- New engine and trans combo
- Interior still cool
- CarPlay across the range
- Tight rear seats
- Grumbly engine at low revs
- Some cheap plastics
The Volkswagen Golf. More than 33 million produced over 40 years and seven generations. It's not quite more popular than blue jeans, or the iPhone, but it's close.
Actually, make that seven and a half generations, because this is Golf 7.5; as the name implies, a substantial mid-life upgrade of the current model.
So, to raise the stakes and, it's hoping, sales, VW has injected new life into its hugely respected marquee player with a range of design tweaks and tech upgrades.
|Engine Type||1.4L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium 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 Golf 7.5 is a great package from top to bottom. Volkswagen has hit all the right marks to bring its already excellent offering up to the pointy end of the intensely competitive small-car segment. And we think the entry-point 110TSI offers the best value of all. With high-end safety tech, amazing dynamics, a snappy drivetrain and sharp (introductory) drive-away pricing it will give the market leaders something to think about. And buyers as well.
Has Volkswagen done enough with this upgrade to put the Golf on your small car shopping list? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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.
Unveiled late last year at the Paris Motor Show, the new Golf is available in three flavours – the familiar hatch, and a compact wagon, with the latter forming the basis of an all-wheel-drive, Alltrack variant.
From a design point of view you'll be hard-pressed to pick the Golf 7.5, with exterior changes focused on new headlights, revised front guards, and a restyled bumper. Think of it as an almost unnoticeable haircut.
At the back, the bumper has also been refreshed, and LED tail-lights are now standard across the range.
The wagon is a handsome alternative to the ubiquitous compact SUV, with the lines of the roof and glasshouse (identical to the hatch from nose to C-pillar) flowing seamlessly into a gently tapering and neatly composed rear end.
Inside, there's a new 8.0-inch multimedia screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support standard on all models (as well as a 'Mirror Link' function for full Wi-Fi connection of tablet or mobile devices).
It's surprising how much of a difference the sleek new screen makes to the interior. Suddenly, the Golf's already premium character has been lifted to a different level.
The cool and classy cabin layout is otherwise largely unchanged, highlighted with dark accents on the volume models, and 'piano black' inserts on the Highline. The quality and attention to design detail are obvious.
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.
At just under 4.3 metres long the Golf hatch is small, but by no means cramped. There's tonnes of room and storage space up front with two cupholders, door pockets with bottle holders, and plenty of oddments space including a decent glovebox and a lidded bin between the seats.
All but the entry model pick-up another pair of cupholders in the rear, with adjustable air conditioning vents and flow control in the back of the front centre console, too.
Speaking of the back, there's heaps of room in there. I'm 183cm tall, and sitting behind my own driving position, I enjoyed surprisingly generous head and legroom.
Volkswagen claims 380 litres of cargo volume with the 60/40 split folding rear seats up, and a generous 1270 litres with them tipped forward.
Pushing towards 4.6 metres in length, the Golf wagon only nudges up 15mm in the wheelbase, so passenger accommodation is virtually identical to the hatch. And not surprisingly, it's in the luggage department where things start to diverge.
Even with the 60/40 split folding rear seats up the wagon boasts a hefty 605 litres of load space, growing to a cavernous 1620 litres with the second-row seats folded.
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
Headline news is an aggressive introductory drive-away pricing strategy, designed to challenge the traditionally cheaper segment leaders, with the standard features list growing appreciably at the same time.
The previous entry-level 92TSI hatch has departed the building, with pricing now set across an $18.5k band from $23,990 drive-away (MSRP $23,990) for the 110TSI, to the all-wheel-drive Alltrack 135TDI Premium at $42,490 drive-away (MSRP $40,990).
The hatch offers a choice of four grades - base, Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline - with the current 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine powering all of them. A 2.0-litre turbo-diesel 110TDI version is available in the top-shelf Highline spec.
For that shrinking pool of people familiar with three pedals across the driver's footwell, a six-speed manual gearbox is available in the base and Trendline models, with Volkswagen's excellent 'DSG' dual-clutch auto offered across the line-up.
The wagon range comprises the top three grades, with diesel again an option on the primo Highline. The DSG dual-clutch is the only transmission available.
The Alltrack is a two-grade affair – base and Premium - with the choice of a 1.8-litre turbo-petrol, or higher output 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, with any gearbox you like, as long as it's a DSG (six-speed for the petrol, and seven for the diesel).
The entry-level 110TSI hatch is anything but a 'bait and switch' price-leader. It's loaded with everything from cruise control (with speed limit function) to seven airbags and driver-fatigue detection.
In fact, on top of the new multimedia screen and its connected functionality, all Golfs are now also fitted with auto emergency braking (AEB), alloy wheels (of various sizes), air-con, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, LED daytime running lights, and a rear-view camera as standard.
Step into to the Trendline from $25,490 drive-away (MSRP $24,990), and things like rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, parking sensors, different 16-inch alloys, and a rear centre armrest (with cupholders) come your way.
Then the Comfortline from $29,990 drive-away (MSRP $28,990) adds 17-inch rims, dual-zone climate control air, 'Comfort' front seats, chrome interior and exterior highlights (including the wagon's roof rails), and a storage drawer under the front passenger seat.
Stump up for the Highline from $35,990 (MSRP $34,490) and the fruit starts to tumble in, with the highlights including 'leather-appointed' trim, 'Comfort Sport' front seats with electric adjustment and memory function for the driver, keyless entry and start, interior ambient lighting, LED headlights and a panoramic electric glass sunroof.
Three option packs are offered – 'Infotainment' ($2300), available on Comfortline and Highline, brings the excellent 'Active Info' configurable instrument display. It also adds 'Discover Pro' multimedia, delivered through a larger 9.2-inch screen, managing sat nav and other functions via gesture, touch, and voice control, as well as a top-shelf Dynaudio sound system.
'Park Assist', taking over the wheel for perpendicular or parallel parking manoeuvrers, is the star of the 'Driver Assistance' package ($1500), and the R-Line pack ($2500) brings the look, and some of the feel, of the GTI and Golf R, with a bodykit, bigger rims, and tuned suspension.
The entry-level Alltrack 132TSI at $35,990 drive-away (MSRP $34,490) is close to the hatch and wagon's Highline spec, although you'll need to opt for the flagship Premium version from $39,990 (MSRP $38,490) to pick up the partial leather trim, heated front seats and LED headlights.
Alltrack option packs are 'Driver Assistance' ($1800), 'Infotainment' ($2300), and 'Sport Luxury' ($2900), which includes 18-inch alloys, the electric seat adjustment, panoramic roof, and more.
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
The Golf hatch and wagon range is in large part powered by the EA211 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, a stalwart of the Australian Golf range since the seventh-generation version arrived here in 2013.
Featuring 16 valves, direct-injection, and a single turbocharger, in Golf 7.5 guise it produces 110kW from 5000-6000rpm, and 250Nm across a broad plateau from just 1500-3500rpm.
Base and Trendline models are available with a six-speed manual, while VW's excellent (and ever-improving) 'DSG' dual-clutch auto spans the line-up.
If diesel's more your thing, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit is available on the Highline model, producing an identical 110kW at 3500-4000rpm, with torque stepping up to 340Nm from 1750-3000rpm.
The diesel's a manual-free zone, with the seven-speed DSG the only option, but no matter what type of transmission you choose, drive goes exclusively to the front wheels.
Climbing (modest) mountains and fording (gentle) streams is the Alltrack's department, with power coming courtesy of a 1.8-litre turbo-petrol four, delivering 132kW from 4500-6200rpm and 280Nm from 1350-4500rpm.
Alternately, a higher output version of the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four is an option on the high-spec Alltrack Premium, delivering 135kW from 3500-4000rpm, and an even gruntier 380Nm, the peak arriving at 1750rpm and hanging around until 3000rpm.
Petrol Alltracks are fitted with a six-speed dual clutch auto, while the diesel features an extra ratio, both sending drive to all four wheels via the '4Motion' permanent all-wheel drive system.
Built around an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch pack, 4Motion uses an ECU integrated with the car's ESC set-up to continuously vary the torque split between front and rear axles.
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.
Gone are the days where a manual gearbox would outperform an auto transmission in the battle of the bowser.
Volkswagen claims the base (petrol, manual) Golf will consume 5.7L/100km on the combined (urban/extra urban) cycle, emitting 133g/km of CO2 in the process.
But swap out the manual for a dual-clutch, and that figure drops to 5.4L/100km for the hatch (128g/km) and 5.6 for the wagon (131g/km).
Tick the diesel option for the top-shelf Highline and your wallet will be even happier; the hatch consuming just 4.9L/100km (129g/km), and the wagon a round 5.0 (132g/km).
Step up to the Alltrack petrol and you're looking at 6.8L/100km (160g/km), with the high-output diesel sipping only 5.4 (142g/km).
The fuel tank in the hatch and wagon holds 50 litres, while the Alltrack's grows to 55 litres. And it's worth noting the petrol units are tuned for minimum 95RON premium unleaded.
The overriding, almost overwhelming first impression in driving any recent Golf is the outstanding ride quality. You'd swear the wheelbase was half as long again, because it rides like a larger, luxury car.
Even the entry-level vehicle is quiet, comfortable, and refined. Steering feel is great, and the petrol 1.4 is smooth and eager; there's simply no way you'd pick it as a turbo.
Volkswagen claims 8.2 seconds for the sprint from 0-100km/h for the base car, whether you're shifting the gears yourself or the tricky dual-clutch is doing it for you.
That's pretty much the Goldilocks performance zone for a car that's likely to do most of its work in the urban jungle, yet needs to retain the ability to confidently stride out onto the open road when required.
The diesel version is only fractionally slower to licence-loss velocity (8.6sec), and while it doesn't feel as revvy and urgent, it packs a satisfying punch of mid-range torque. It is definitely and noticeably noisier, though.
As usual, the Golf is a model of ergonomic efficiency, with the new multimedia screen enhancing ease of use and connectivity, the seats front and rear are comfortable yet supportive, and you're spoiled for choice between the sweet six-speed manual and rapid-fire DSG (with wheel-mounted paddles on upper variants).
The wagon employs the same strut front, four-link rear suspension arrangement as the hatch, and despite its extra length and interior volume it gives nothing away in terms of noise suppression or general refinement.
Moving up the spec pecking order from 16-, through 17-, to optional 18-inch alloy wheels does nothing to compromise overall composure;, body control is exceptional, and the brakes are agreeably progressive.
Response from the Alltrack's more powerful engines is partially offset by an increase in kerb weight (petrol +165kg / diesel +101kg), with the 1.8-litre petrol and high-output 2.0-litre diesel both recording 7.8sec 0-100km/h. But despite its more macho appearance and SUV-focused rubber, the Alltrack is an equally refined drive.
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.
Golfs of all descriptions incorporate an impressive array of standard safety tech, including active features like cruise control (with programmable speed limiter), distance warning display, driver fatigue detection, AEB, ABS, EBD, BA, EDL, multi-collision brake, ASR, tyre-pressure indicator, and a rear-view camera.
And when all that isn't enough to avoid a collision, no less than seven airbags are on board (driver and front passenger head and side, driver's knee and front and rear curtain).
There are three child-restraint top tether points across the back seat, with ISOFIX anchors on the two outer positions.
As well as the previously mentioned auto-parking feature, the optional driver assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, lane assist, blind spot monitor, and rear traffic alert.
Although the 7.5 upgrade hasn't been specifically tested by ANCAP, the current Golf scored a maximum five-star rating when it was assessed at launch in early 2013.
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.
Volkswagen Australia's new-vehicle warranty covers three years/unlimited km, with paint covered for the same period, and the main steel body structure is under warranty for no less than 12 years (unlimited km).
Recommended service interval is 12 months/15,000km, with indicative costs for the first five years/75,000km ranging from a low of $318, to a high of $751, for a total of $2276, and an average of $455 per service.
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.