Grenoble with the Peugeot 2008 Crossover

In search of Alpine Vistas combined with urban life, we head to Grenoble in the 2008 Crossover to see the city in a different light…

The sun’s shining and the early morning city is quiet as we load up the car – adventure is in the air and it feels like the perfect day for a road trip. Our transport for the day? Peugeot’s 2008 Crossover Feline 1.6-litre, in Pearlescent White. The range features the latest generation Euro 6 engines, including Peugeot’s innovative PureTech and BlueHDi technologies, and emissions from 95g/km of CO2.

We’re in the French city of Grenoble, and my mission is to leave the urban sprawl behind me and take the 2008 Crossover up into the surrounding mountains. Not many cities can boast the spectacular alpine views of Grenoble, and the juxtaposition between urban life and the rocky skyline is impressive. While I’ve chosen 120hp to power my adventure, my partner in crime has chosen to rely instead on climbing equipment and a head for heights, and is going to tackle one of Europe’s few urban Via Ferratas (metal rungs and ladders ascending cliff faces) up out of the city. Let’s see who has more fun…

Originally published on 10/07/2013, all information correct as of that date. Some features may be optional and only available on certain models.

See the city in a different light

Driving through the streets of Grenoble the car’s aerodynamic lines and stream-lined headlights, with daytime LED running lights, give the 2008 Crossover a distinctive edge. But despite looking completely at home in this urban environment, the roof bars and comfortable ground clearance leave no doubt that this is a vehicle aching to be set free on the open road.

As we twist and turn through the narrow, cobbled streets of the old quarter, the car feels responsive and light in my hands, the head up instrument panel means I never need take my eyes off the road.

The beauty of the 2008 Crossover is that it handles like a hatchback – but has all the benefits of an SUV. And as we arrive at the city limits, the rural roads beckon, and it’s time to put it to the test.

Making life easy

I pull over temporarily to let my passenger out to head off on her own climbing adventure, set the GPS Sat Nav on the 7” multifunction colour touchscreen, and select my favourite summer driving tunes. The interactive touchscreen enables you to easily control all your audio and navigational equipment, plus make and receive safe, hands-free phone calls.

As the city disappears behind me, and the view opens up ahead, the car floods with natural light through the panoramic glass roof, increasing the sense of space in the already roomy interior.

The slightly raised driving position means I have a great view as the mountains rise up ahead of me. I relax safe in the knowledge that if I break down or have an accident then help won’t be far away, due to Peugeot Connect SOS, which automatically lets the emergency services know if the airbags inflate, or the seatbelt pre-tensioners activate. It will also tell them exactly where I am, or I can contact them manually if needs be.

Complete confidence

Lycra-clad cyclists fly along the road, heads down getting ready for the thigh-burning hill climb ahead . The rising hills surrounding me are covered in vibrant green foliage with jagged rocky ridges looming overhead. Out of my open window I can hear the sounds of birds singing and crickets chirping, and beneath all of it the deep boom of the tumbling, twisting river as it courses its way down from the melting glaciers above.

Despite the summer weather, a stream has burst its banks, covering sections of the road in water and mud. Time to activate the car’s Grip Control feature, optimising the traction on the front wheels and giving me complete confidence in the car in these difficult conditions.

The thrill of the journey

What felt like a nippy city car at the start of the day now feels like it was meant to be set free out here, responding effortlessly to the varying terrain. As I round a bend, a car comes in the other direction. I stop to let him pass, and my pulse quickens at the prospect of a hill start on these steep hairpins. But that’s where Hill Assist comes into play, keeping the brakes on for about two seconds after you take your foot off the pedal, making it much easier and smoother to move off.

As I get higher the vibrant greenery is gradually replaced by raw cliff faces. Silver waterfalls crash down into the rocks below, and I couldn’t feel further from the city where I started.

From the city to the open road

As the day draws to an end, I near the high point of my journey. In the fading light, blue LEDs on the head up instrument panel and guides on the panoramic glass roof automatically come on, creating an ethereal atmosphere inside the car.

Reunited with the tired and hungry climber, we look out at the lights of Grenoble twinkling in the valley far below, and although she would never admit it, I think we both know that I had the most fun today.

From the city to the open road this Peugeot didn’t disappoint, delivering the perfect combination of comfort, performance and pure driving pleasure. Now all that is left is to plan our next road trip.